Sarah Hopp didn’t fully understand compassion until she joined CASA of Tarrant County seven years ago. 

As an advocate for children going through the state’s foster care system, the 35-year-old brand manager for a marketing agency volunteers to be the eye and ears of a case, an unbiased party whose goal is to advocate for the child’s best interest. 

“To me, kids are our future and if we’re not nurturing them and making sure that they are getting the proper help, what does that look like as they get older?” she said. “If these things aren’t treated then, it’s gonna impact them in the future.”

Hopp knows firsthand the impact and long-term effects abuse can have on a person. Her mother was abused by her stepfather growing up. It took her years to open up about that experience and seek help. 

“The abuse wasn’t found out until years later,” Hopp said. “When I was 5 or 6, she kind of hit a wall and had to really get some help. It was the unlayering of everything that happened.”  

While Hopp is not a mother herself — unless you count her dog Moose — she loves kids and hopes to be a mom one day. And as a CASA of Tarrant County volunteer, she wants to help set up kids for success and break the generational cycle of abuse that often is found in these households. 

“(My mom) has just a love for kids and that’s really where I get it from,” Hopp said. 

Melissa Moreno, community outreach coordinator for the Moncrief Cancer Institute at UT Southwestern in Fort Worth, met Hopp almost a decade ago when both were members of SteerFW

Moreno described Hopp’s passion for CASA of Tarrant County’s mission, saying she has “a heart of gold.”

“When we talk about children and CASA and what it does, it’s kind of a sensitive subject, it’s a hurtful subject,” Moreno said. “A lot of people maybe don’t know what CASA is. And I think that Sarah has done a wonderful job of really advocating for that group and letting people know that this is an issue in Fort Worth and in Tarrant County, and there’s a way to get involved.”

A child can be removed from the home for many reasons, from neglect to physical and sexual abuse. While the child is placed in foster care, either with another family member or a foster family, the biological parent or guardian has about a year to address the issues at hand and “get their acts together,” Hopp explained.

Tarrant County has the third-highest number of confirmed cases of child abuse and/or neglect in Texas, according to CASA of Tarrant County. There were over 6,500 child abuse victims in the county in 2021. 

The work can sometimes be emotional. And Hopp knows she won’t be able to help every child.

One of the harder cases she worked on involved a teen sex-trafficking case. Hopp took on the 17-year-old’s case, who had been ingrained in this lifestyle since the ninth grade. But when she turned 18 and aged out of the state’s child welfare system, the teen decided not to stay in the system when given the choice. 

When kids choose the incorrect path, it can feel like a failure, Hopp said.

“The mindset has to be ‘You did your best in the moments that you could in hopes that it planted a seed,’” she said. “Especially when you have older kids, you don’t know whether they look back and see an impact.”

Ted Bauer, a freelance writer, met Hopp when both were on the SteerFW Board of Directors. 

He described her as a leader who continuously advocates for the children going through CASA’s system and truly believes in the mission. 

“It’s more a true, cognizant part of her. She makes life decisions around than just something she gives money to or volunteers with,” Bauer said. “It’s something that is actually a living, breathing part of her character and her personality.”

Today, Hopp continues to be an advocate for child abuse victims and for the work of CASA of Tarrant County. While she doesn’t work on cases as much anymore, she serves on their Young Professional Council where she raises awareness and helps fundraise for CASA’s services. 

Using her platform whenever possible, she encourages others to become advocates for these children, in whatever way they can. 

“It will forever change your life. It has forever changed me,” Hopp said. “You never know what somebody is going through.”

Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at or on Twitter at @ssadek19.

At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.  

Sarah Hopp’s Bio:

Birthplace: Keller, Texas 

Moved to Fort Worth: 2016 

Family: Me and my fur baby, Moose. If we are talking immediate family, my parents live in the area, I have an older brother who lives in California now with his family and my 2 nieces. My eldest brother passed away in 2020 but his son (my nephew) and his mom live in the area as well.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in dance from Texas Woman’s University. Currently enrolled at Texas Woman’s in the MBA with Marketing emphasis graduate program; scheduled to graduate in August.

Work experience: Senior Brand Manager at AvreaFoster 

Volunteer experience: CASA of Tarrant County 2016-2021: Advocate, currently on the Young Professional Council; Alliance For Children 2016-2017: Education Chair on Pinwheel Society – the YP group of Alliance; SteerFW, member and then served as Civic engagement chair

First job: Working at Macy’s in cosmetics.

Advice for someone learning to be a leader: To me, a great leader is an engaged leader. Be a listener to hear, not to respond. Interact thoughtfully with others, get your hands dirty, show compassion. 

Best advice ever received: Be the change you want to see – don’t talk about it, be about it. 

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Sandra SadekBusiness Reporter

Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. Originally from Houston, she graduated from Texas State University where she studied journalism and international...