Melissa is a native to South Jersey and has recently come back to the area after living in Los Angeles, Calif. She has extensive experience with nonprofit development and has started or been a founding member of several nonprofit organizations, including the Youth Investment Project and Champions of Hope. Melissa received her undergraduate degree at American University and graduated from the University of Denver College of Law in 2001. There she studied at the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center serving as an attorney for abused and neglected children in court. Melissa is passionate about empowering young people and is excited to bring her experience and vision to CASA of Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties.
Jennifer was raised in Pittsgrove Township, N.J., and still resides in South Jersey with her three sons, two stepsons and husband. She is a graduate of Cumberland County College with an Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies and a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She is currently in the process of a Dual-Degree BA/MA in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University. Jennifer is an advocate for breaking the cycle of domestic violence and promoting positive child welfare. Working for CASA has allowed her to work hands-on with community members to build a brighter future for children and their families. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her family, bake, write, read, go fishing and antiquing.
Jonathan grew up in South Jersey in the Elmer area. From there he went to Geneva College to study Accounting and Finance. Four months after graduating, he left to work in Uganda, East Africa, to help build a medical clinic. On that trip, he met his wife, who is also from South Jersey, and they began dreaming about how to help children. From 2004-2011, Jon and his family served in Guadalajara, Mexico, running a non-profit organization there. As part of their efforts, a foster home was started that now serves many children who come from situations of abuse and neglect. Jon is excited about being part of the CASA team and the opportunity that provides to give a voice to children in South Jersey. He and his wife have five children and two foster girls, who will always be part of their family, who still live in Mexico.
Hillary attends Cumberland County College, where she studies Business Management and Fine Arts. She began her career focusing on music photography, and has since done celebrity portraits (Jon Bon Jovi, Whoopi Goldberg) and event photography. The pictures she shot of a tent city for homeless veterans appeared on billboards throughout South Jersey as a part of a campaign to raise awareness of the plight of our veterans. After finishing her CASA training, she jumped on board with CASA of CGS to advocate for their abused and neglected children, promote family strengthening and community empowerment through her social media management and community outreach. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her 7 year old son, traveling and oil painting.
Assistant Program Director of First Star Rowan Academy
Jesse Beitler serves as the Assistant Program Director for our First Star Rowan Academy and as an advocate coordinator. He grew up in Montclair, NJ and attended Syracuse University to study film. In 2010 Jesse began a career in the film/tv industry in New York City and later moved to Los Angeles working on several TV shows including Top Chef. He got involved in the UCLA First Star program as a peer mentor, serving incoming 12th graders in foster care. This was a life changing experience. Jesse knew that he wanted to work with children in foster care and chose to relocate back to the east coast to serve the children in our First Star Rowan program, Jesse now lives in Philadelphia.
Patricia Holland is a mother of two and a grandmother of six. She reside in Minotola, NJ with her husband Charles and their pom Coco. She has lived in this area since 1999. Prior to my moving to South Jersey, she resided in Richmond Va., August Ga. and West Germany. She is a 2015 graduate of Cumberland County College and North Carolina College of Theology. She is continuing her education as she is presently pursuing a Bachelors degree from Montclair State University. Her free time is spent with my grandchildren and catching up on homework. She tells us, “What I love most about my life is that I have been afforded the opportunity to give back.I can think of no other profession i would rather be in than advocacy…and this is only the beginning.”