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Mary Fauvre Holmes - BEYOND THE VILLAGE

By Blog Master
Posted: 08/03/2021
Tags: bios



Mary Fauvre Holmes likes to say that she started school at age 2 ½ and never stopped. A native of Pasadena, she went to pre-school at the Neighborhood Church and graduated from Blair High School. After graduating from Stanford she received her Master’s degree in Education from Harvard, and later earned a PhD in educational psychology at UCLA.


Mary’s long career in education included teaching at CSULA and at Polytechnic School. Later she taught at Westridge School for Girls for 11 years, before leaving to become Head of School at the Oaks, a private, progressive elementary school in Hollywood. Making use of her years of experience in private schools, she ended her career as the Director of Accreditation for the California Association of Independent Schools. 


Mary recalls the day in 1997 when she visited the Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court in Monterey Park. At that time she was teaching in the graduate Social Work program at CSULA. Some of her students would do their field work at the Children’s Court and Mary wanted to know more about it. “My eyes were like saucers – it was so amazing” recalls Mary. The Edelman Children’s Court was opened in July 1992 as a “child dependency” courthouse designed specifically as a “child-sensitive” facility, the first in the nation. The Children’s Court focuses entirely on children in abuse and neglect cases and is designed to reduce, as much as possible, the stress and trauma associated with a child’s experience in the legal system.


A key element in supporting these young children is CASA of Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization that matches a child in the dependency system with a trained volunteer advocate. When Mary learned about the CASA program at Edelman Children’s Court she told her family, “When I retire that’s what I’m going to do.” And, when she did retire in 2016, that is what she did.


After completing the 40 hour training program, Mary was assigned to a child in the foster care system. “I assumed that, with my background in girl’s schools, I would be paired up with a young girl.” Instead, Mary was introduced to a 14 year old, Black boy who was living in a group home in Pomona.  In spite of some nervousness on the part of both Mary and her mentee, the two became acquainted and Mary soon realized that this young boy was not receiving the education that he was entitled to. Putting her experience in educational systems to use, Mary advocated for programs and support to improve the access and quality of his education, culminating with his earning his high school diploma.  


One of the features of the CASA program is that it is a long term commitment. Advocates understand they will stay with their “case” until the child is adopted or for two years. CASA provides on-going training and support while allowing for a lot of freedom and flexibility. Mary’s young man was interested in archery, which led Mary to find an archery course and arrange for him to get some instruction so that he could pursue this interest. They have gone bowling and to art museums, enjoyed ice cream together, and shopped for furnishings for his new, independent, studio apartment. Even though he is now 18 and no longer under the jurisdiction of the foster care system, the relationship between him and Mary continues to flourish.  


As Mary explains it, “I can’t help everyone. But I can say that I helped this young man. I feel lucky to have connected with him and was able to be a part of his life as he became more independent.” CASA understands the power of one person helping another as it makes the crucial connection – one caring adult to one child in need – that can be the turning point in a life that has been disrupted.


In addition to her work with CASA Mary has served on the Boards of Mothers’ Club Family Learning Center, Young & Healthy, Walden School and Frostig School where she is now serving on an Advisory Committee. And she is actively involved with Neighborhood Church where she has served in many leadership capacities. “I am not the oldest member of Neighborhood Church, but I have been a member longer than anyone else, since 1951.”


Mary and her husband, Bob Holmes, met in 1978 and have been married for 42 years. Together they have one son, Ryan, who is a Medical Ethicist at Kaiser, and now lives in Pasadena with his wife and two children, which makes everyone happy. Bob has four older children, spread across the globe from Woodland Hills to Colorado to Austria. Family reunions are great fun, often at Newport Beach, but this year the Austrian family could not attend due to lack of access to timely Covid vaccinations.


Mary and Bob are “newish” members of the Pasadena Village, although Bob volunteered in the early days of its formation. Since they have joined, Bob participates in the Men’s Time and Mary attends the Caregiver’s Support group. When asked why they joined Mary said, “We were not looking to add to our social calendar, which is very full. But we appreciate the support groups and recognize that, as we age, we need all the help we can get.” 




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