Happi Grillon serves as Executive Director of CASA Philadelphia. Over her 20-year tenure serving the greater Philadelphia community, Happi has worked in a variety of settings with programs serving youth from early childhood to adolescence. Happi began her postgraduate career at Youth Service, Inc. (YSI) working with young women in group home placements. She moved on to be a supervisor and then program director at YSI, overseeing the foster care and mother baby group home programs. She later oversaw the crisis nursery, Teen Success, and truancy prevention programs. Most recently Happi worked at Northeast Treatment Centers as Intervention Director with the Community Umbrella Agency (CUA). Happi graduated from The University of Vermont and earned a Masters of Social Work degree from Temple University and is a graduate of the Bryn Mawr College Non-Profit Executive Leadership Institute.
Trish Kinkle serves as Program Director at Casa Philadelphia. Trish has served at risk youth in Philadelphia for nearly two decades. Beginning in Kensington where she created and implemented a program for young girls designed to promote self-esteem and healthy relationships and then serving as an afterschool program director. In addition to her work at CASA, Trish and her husband are vocal advocates for people struggling with substance use and are adoptive and biological parents to three beautiful children. A graduate of Virginia Tech, Trish received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Temple University.
Ashley serves as CASA Training Specialist, in charge of quarterly volunteer trainings, as well as Manager of CASA’s unique Educational Decision Makers Program. Before moving to Philadelphia and getting involved with CASA, Ashley was a teacher. She has taught students in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Bronx, New York and Exton, Pennsylvania. She is passionate about education, volunteering and advocacy. Ashley also volunteered with Mighty Writers and worked with the “Change Course,” a literacy engagement program for youth and the “Stories Alive” program that facilitates video reading sessions for incarcerated parents and their children, at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Ashley earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from King’s College London and her Master of Science in Education from Herbert Lehman College of The City College of New York.
Annie is a CASA Supervisor. She brings her prior experience as a case manager at NET, a behavioral health technician/ substance abuse counselor at Kirkbride and as a foster care permanency planning social worker at JJC to her work at CASA. Annie has a passion for advocacy for the children involved in the child welfare system and believes that “laughter is the best medicine” and can be observed making someone laugh at any time of the day. Annie earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Millersville University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Social Work at West Chester University.
Melina Papanikolaou – CASA Supervisor
Melina joined the staff at CASA in August 2020. Melina is a graduate of Temple University, earning a bachelors degree in psychology. She has over eight years of nonprofit experience working as a court advocate, managing sexual violence crisis services, supervising interns & volunteers, coordinating a prevention program, leading recruitment activities and has experience with building community partnerships. Melina is currently pursuing her MSW degree at West Chester University and would like to earn a LCSW to become a therapist in the future. She also hopes to bring her social entreperneurship business ideas to frutition in the future.
Mae serves as an EDM Supervisor at CASA Philadelphia. Having previously served as a CASA volunteer in Morris County NJ, she comes to CASA of Philadelphia with relevant experience and a strong passion for the importance of ensuring educational equality for children. She worked at the Goldring Re-Entry Initiative as a case worker for previously incarcerated individuals living in the community. She was also a LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) Fellow at CHOP and interned with Philadelphia Works helping foster youth transition from school to employment. Mae earned her BS degree from University of South Florida and received her MSW from The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice.
Yael serves as Program Coordinator with responsibilities that include managing the onboarding of new volunteers as well as data management. Yael has an educational and professional background in data analytics and business operations, but desired to work for an organization supporting the City’s children in need of foster and adoptive families. Yael began with CASA as a volunteer, then joined the staff as a part-time assistant before moving to full time staff as Program Coordinator. She is involved with the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, and always looking for opportunities to positively affect the lives of children through mentorship and volunteer work. Yael has a BS in Biomedical Sciences from Texas A&M and an MS in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Penn State University.
Claudia Baker serves as Advocate Recruiter charged with increasing the number of CASA’s in Philadelphia. Claudia began with CASA as a volunteer hoping to improve the outcome for at risk youth in Philadelphia. Previous to joining CASA Claudia was a full-time mother and volunteer with Lower Merion School district actively recruiting and organizing parent volunteers in the district. She has a professional background in writing, fundraising and nonprofit management. Claudia has a degree in Behavior Science from Drew University and studied at New York University’s School of Non-Profit Management.
Maelena Arthur, MSW – CASA Supervisor
Maelena joined the staff at CASA in July 2020. She brings her experience as a foster care case worker with Chester County Children, Youth, and Families Services, and as an In-home case worker with Chester CYF. In addition, Maelena has experience as a clinical social work intern with Merakey Children’s Services and as an intern with Episcopal Community Services. Maelena is a graduate of the Temple University MSW program and earned her BSW at West Chester University.
Rachel McLaughlin, MSW – CASA Supervisor
Rachel joined the staff at CASA in July 2020. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. She brings her internship experience at the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice and Research with Project PENN and the Foster to College programs with her to CASA. She was also a social work intern at KIPP West Philadelphia Elementary School and with Herico County Public Schools in Virginia and a foster child group facilitator with Greater Richmond SCAN. In addition to her Penn MSW, Rachel has a BSW from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Elizabeth (Liz) Cleary, MSW – EDM Supervisor
Liz joined the CASA of Philadelphia staff in November 2020. She brings with her many years of child welfare experience working with refugees and unaccompanied refugee children in the foster care system as a case manager, community resource development specialist and as a resource parent educator with Lutheran Children and Family Serices and Bethany. She also has experience as a volunteer manager with the Mitzvah Circle Foundation. Liz was an agricultural volunteer and regional representative for the Peace Corps in Niger. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Kutztown University and a Maters in Social Work from Temple University.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
CAROLINE ROSCH | PRESIDENT Managing Director, Portfolio Management & Operations, Reinvestment Fund
JOSHUA MANN | VICE PRESIDENT Director, Marketing Technology, Comcast Corporation
SHAMYUNE JONES, ESQ. | SECRETARY Vice President and General Counsel, Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority
JOSHUA KISVER | TREASURER Chief Financial Officer, ECFMG
CHRISTINA BALES, MD | Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
THOMAS BONNER | Manager, State Government Affairs, PECO
JONATHAN DAVID, MBA | Director, Customer Programs, PGW
FRANCES EGLER | Senior Director of Programming and Communications, Kimmel Center
JAMILIYAH FOSTER | Director of Development, Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative
GREG IPPOLITO | President, Ippolito Media Arts, Inc.
NOREENA S. LEWIS, JD | Program Coordinator, Community Pediatrics and Advocacy, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
BRENDA L. MYRICK, RN, MSN, CMCN, CPHQ | Vice President, Quality Programs and Accreditation, AmeriHealth Caritas
MIA ROSATI, ESQ. | Associate, Pepper Hamilton LLP
ROOPA SESHADRI, PhD | Research Scientist
AMY SMITH | Principal, Kittleman & Associates
MICHELLE WHALEN | Associate Director, Sterling Capital Management LLC
DONIELLE V. WHYTE, MBA | Organizational Effectiveness Consultant, Slalom LLC
2020 Philadelphia Bar Foundation Board Observers:
ELIZABETH FERRARO, ESQ. | Associate, Duane Morris, LLP
ASHLEY TURNER, ESQ. | Associate, McCarter & English, LLP