By: Annalisa Ciro, Follow South Jersey Writer
BRIDGETON, N.J. — Making a positive impact in the world looks different for everyone. For some, it means activism and taking a stand to fight for justice. For others, it means looking within and growing into a better version of yourself. And for CASA of CGS Gloucester County Volunteer Advocate Alana Sacerdote, changing the world means starting with our youth.
A lifelong volunteer with a passion for showing up and being there for people in her community, Alana has always carved time out for service, whether at her local animal shelter or soup kitchen. And a little over a year ago, with some encouragement from her sister who volunteers for CASA in Las Vegas, Alana added “CASA Advocate” to that list.
Alana came into CASA of CGS with a passion for expanding her knowledge and a goal of advocating for a teenage girl, hoping to help navigate the barriers that often burden young women. When she began advocating, she was matched with a youth who was, unfortunately, jumping from several placements that were not meeting the youth’s needs or providing an environment to help the youth flourish. But with Alana’s support and steadfast advocacy, her CASA youth has now finally found a place where they are comfortable and free to be themselves.
The success and well-being of the youth we serve is paramount to CASA’s mission, and with dedicated volunteers like Alana, we are lucky to be able to change a child’s story every day. Alana’s hard work and consistency on her case led her youth to a brighter future, where they are now thriving both in school and socially.
“Alana is a pleasure to work with,” said Gloucester County Advocate Coordinator Michele Musick. “I am in awe knowing that she chooses to be a voice for her foster youth all the while being one busy lady: a wife, a mother of two young children, a daughter, a full-time employee, among other things. Alana’s kind and gentle nature coupled with a big heart has been perfect for her CASA youth. I am proud to walk beside her supporting her as she’s making this world a better place.”
More than anything, Alana believes in the power of being present and showing up for people–which is exactly what she has proven throughout her time as a CASA of CGS volunteer. She has remained committed in the face of obstacles, always placing the child’s best interests first to seek solutions that promote the child’s ultimate happiness, safety, and success.
Part of a national network, CASA of CGS is a local nonprofit organization that trains community volunteers to speak up on behalf of the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. Once trained and sworn in by a Family Court Judge, CASA volunteers begin advocating for youth in foster care by investigating their cases and recommending resources for the children and their families. CASA volunteers serve as critical support systems for their CASA youth, ensuring that they are placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.
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