Today’s CASA of CGS’s Community Superhero is Peggy Gentile-Van Meter!
Peggy Gentile-Van Meter earned her Associate’s Degree from Cumberland County College, her Bachelor’s Degree as a Social Studies Teacher from Glassboro State College and her Master’s Degree in Holocaust and Genocide Education from Stockton State College. She was a High School Social Studies Teacher at Cumberland Regional High School for 32 years and retired June 2012. During her tenure at CRHS she served as advisor for the Key Club, Leo Club, Education Careers Club (20 years) and was class advisor for the Class of 2004.She has continued to do what she loves to do by continuing as an Adjunct Professor at Cumberland County College where she has taught Western Civilization for six years. She has been very active in the community as Past President Soroptimist International Cumberland County, and currently is 2nd Vice President, served as District II Secretary for Soroptimist International North Atlantic Region, and recently was elected as District II Director for the North Atlantic Region, is on the selection committee for Habitat for Humanity, a member of Cumberland County Broad Street Cemetery Association, is currently a “Coach” for Cultural Diversity group for Cumberland County Leadership, she graduated from the Leadership program in 2002, and received the leadership award in 2006. She has served as a board member for the Cumberland County Holocaust Coalition many years. Peggy was selected as CRHS Teacher of the Year for 2006/2007 and was inducted into the Cumberland County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011. Peggy loves history and enjoys reading about and traveling to historic places. She has traveled to Europe several times but really enjoys seeing areas in the United States. She has traveled west to Alaska and California and vacations often in Florida. She has been a resident of Stow Creek Township for 36 years with her husband Fred. Peggy has two children, Tim and Jessica, and her first grandchild, Brielle was born this past November. She believes in giving back to the community and enjoys staying involved with community events.
Gentile-Van Meter was on the original CASA board when it was started locally.She completed the training and was sworn in at a special court session.
She helps prevent child abuse through her community involvement and by staying current on issues. She says, “One area that I am involved in is Human Trafficking which involves the abuse of children.We work hard to educate the community about how we all can get involved to help stop the spread of child trafficking.”
When asked who her favorite superhero is, Peggy gave a different answer than most, “I do not believe in superheroes. I believe that people are put in situations each day that they have to make choices.I don’t think anyone seeks to be a hero. It is the place and the event that makes someone a hero of a particular situation. For every one hero, there are probably ten unsung heroes! Small acts of kindness and reaching out have probably “saved” more people then we will ever know.”
She believes that each person has the capabilities to help another person.
Gentile-Van Meter’s stance on bullying comes with years of experience, “Bullying begins at home. Education however is the key in helping children (and adults) in learning how to deal with bullies and knowing who they can reach out to for help. As an educator, I came across too many instances of ‘bullying.’ I taught more than ‘history.’ I tried to teach life skills on how to be a good citizen and how to become active in social issues. I do not know how anyone who is in education cannot be involved in this issue.”
Peggy says the way to improve the community is by having, “more respect for human life and values. More influence on young people on civic/social responsibility. I used to have a school bulletin board entitled: Respect + Responsibility = Rewards. I believe in this. Rewards are not always seen by others, but the reward can be what the person feels inside when they know they have done the right thing.”
Educating our community is key to moving forward and making progress. Peggy Gentile-Van Meter has what it takes to be a community superhero because of her dedication and love for the children of our future.
Do you know of a Community Superhero? Help CASA of CGS recognize the effort put forth by them to improve our community!
Email Jennifer Kaysen at Jennkaysen@gmail.com.
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CASA of CGS is holding informational meetings! Please join us!
If you’re interested in learning more about CASA of CGS an informational meeting will be held in Pittsgrove Township on Monday, May 13, from 8 to 9 p.m., and another in Gloucester County at the county library on Thursday, May 16 from 7 to 8 p.m. Bring a friend and join us!
For more information and directions to the meetings, email email@example.com.
There are no commitments needed. The meetings are strictly for informational purposes. It’s always good to know what kind of help your community has to offer. Cumberland County ranked last place in Child Welfare in New Jersey. Lets stand up for our children and do something about it! Can’t make it out on May 13 or 16 and interested in information? Contact Susanna at firstname.lastname@example.org.