Preschool Teacher, Beach Lover, and CASA of CGS Volunteer Advocate
Between corralling a classroom of preschoolers and juggling three children of her own, Patty Sansalone knows a thing or two about guiding youth toward their futures. Teaching in Vineland over the years has offered her the unparalleled experience of being one of the first people present in her students’ educational lives. But Patty’s commitment to the children in her local community inspired her to take a step further, investing in the happiness, success, and best interests of youth in foster care as a CASA of CGS volunteer.
Longtime friend of CASA of CGS Program Director Jennifer Henderson, and sister of a CASA volunteer, Patty joined our team in late 2020 and began advocating on her first case–a family of three siblings–shortly after being sworn in. Despite this being her first serious volunteer commitment, Patty’s wealth of knowledge working with children contributes deeply to her stellar advocacy for her CASA youth.
“I am so extremely grateful to have the opportunity to work with Patty,” said Salem County Advocate Coordinator Cara Zoppina. “When her CASA children moved multiple placements and even out of county, Patty did not hesitate and continued to be their anchor. She has truly been the most consistent person in these children’s lives this past year. Her CASA children have benefited from her support tremendously as she strives to ensure that they get the appropriate placement and services that they deserve.”
Patty’s hard work and commitment to CASA and her CASA youth is fueled by her experiences as both an early childhood educator and a mother. Teaching and parenting inspired her to help others who may not have the home environment that she was able to provide for her own children. And with such a need in our communities, Patty’s drive and contributions are making an invaluable impact on the lives of the children she serves.
“You don’t realize how many people need help–whether it’s material or just an ear to listen,” said Patty. “And to be able to advocate for kids who may not have a voice was something that seemed to fit for me. Knowing that I’m helping children get what’s best for them is the most rewarding part about being a CASA volunteer.”
As a CASA volunteer, Patty connects with key stakeholders in the lives of the children she serves–from doctors to teachers to relatives–to understand what resources would best support the children and families towards the goal of ultimately providing a safe, permanent home for the youth. Yet in the midst of detailed court reports and thorough case investigations, Patty never forgets the importance of building a strong connection with her CASA youth. Seeing her CASA children happy despite their circumstances and feeling their joy whenever she visits them–these are the moments that warm her heart and keep her focussed, inspired, and hopeful.
"Patty is a tremendous asset to any endeavor she undertakes,” said her husband Paul. “She is an empathic listener with a solution-based paradigm. She's "all about the kids," as she has proven as a Pre-K teacher and mother. Her professionalism and attention to detail is second to none. Moreover, her enthusiasm concerning CASA has inspired me to volunteer as a couples advocate. I appreciate the opportunity to give my wife the kudos she's too humble to accept.”
In the two short years that Patty has been on our team, she has gone above and beyond for the children she serves and the children in our community as a whole. Not only has her advocacy changed the lives of her CASA youth, but it has likewise inspired others to join our team and change the lives of even more children throughout our three counties.
“Patty is such an honest, kind, compassionate, and strong advocate,” said Jennifer. “She is someone you’d want to have by your side because she truly cares about how you are and genuinely wants to help. CASA is blessed to have her on our team!”
Thank you, Patty, for everything you do for our children and our community. You are a CASA superhero and you are building a brighter future for our youth each and every day. We are so lucky to have you on our team–your hard work never goes unnoticed!