Diana Haines VANDY'

Diana Haines is a program director with Wilson County Court Appointed Special Advocates. The Vanderbilt graduate has worked with CASA for a decade.

CASA trains volunteers to advocate for abused or neglected children in court.

She explained that her job spotlights the more difficult parts of society, but she works with “people who are the best people that Wilson County has to offer.”

“Every day, I watch the women around me, and men, rise to their better selves so that the children and parents can rise to their better selves,” Haines said. “When people say, ‘Your job must be hard,’ my response is always the same. I tell them that I am lucky. I get to watch miracles happen every day. Who else can say that?”

Haines was born in Florida and lived there until age 12 when her family relocated to Nashville for her father’s job.

“We moved to Mt. Juliet from Hialeah, Fla.,” Haines said. It was in Mt. Juliet that she met her future husband, Patrick.

“My husband moved to Mt. Juliet from Miami with his family. We were friends in high school and both graduated from MJHS. He went to college, then the military and I went to college,” she said. “In our late 20s, fate brought us back together again and this time it stuck. It’s been stuck for 27 years.”

They have three children: Ross, 26; Claire, 24; and Carson, 21.

In her spare time, she loves to work outside.

“I love to dig in the dirt, plant a seed and watch it grow into something beautiful. My fingernails are never clean, but my flowers are beautiful,” Haines said. “My husband can do every type of construction imaginable and he keeps proving that to me time and again. We spend a lot of our spare time building things, either from scratch or from the rubble of a room that didn’t work before.”

She compared this to what she does at work.

“I walk into messy situations that aren’t working, get my hands dirty and try to create the situation that is more functional and beautiful. The difference is that in my job, the beauty is in healthy families,” she said.

Haines named her mother as a woman she admires because of her “strong, resolute in her convictions.” She also named her daughter as the “bravest woman” she knows.

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