ELIZABETH, NJ — Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Union County announced that Julienne Cherry of Plainfield will become the new Executive Director. The organization recruits, trains, supervises and supports community volunteers to advocate for abused, neglected and abandoned Union County youth removed from home and living in foster care.

"Julienne’s history in the nonprofit arena, as well as her experience, knowledge and connections within the state, make her ideal to lead CASA of Union County. The board is excited to welcome her to the organization just as it celebrates 15 years of advocacy for our community’s foster youth,” said Dr. Ron Silver, president of the organization’s Board of Trustees.

Cherry joins the Elizabeth-based nonprofit from the Community Food Bank of New Jersey in Hillside, where she was Director of Agency Relations, overseeing more than 1,000 feeding programs in eight New Jersey counties. Among Cherry’s community service efforts in Union County are serving on the board of Moms Helping Moms, a diaper and baby supply bank in Plainfield, and remaining active with the local chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Eta Omicron Zeta, including serving as its Health Fair Chair. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Kean University.

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"I’m very thankful for the wonderful opportunity to join the CASA family,” said Cherry. “As a resident of Union County, this new position aligns perfectly with the last 20-plus years I’ve devoted to advocating for our community’s underserved and voiceless. I’m looking forward to meeting with key stakeholders and community members to help move our mission forward. Ensuring the best interests of every Union County youth in foster care through no fault of their own will remain my top priority. As the organization reaches its 15th year of advocacy, the goal continues to be providing an advocate for every fragile youth that needs one. To do this, we need the support of our village. From monthly gives, employer matches and event sponsorships to corporate and business partnerships, every dollar of support for our small-but-mighty nonprofit directly impacts how many waiting foster youth we can reach. Simply, writing a check means writing another chapter. Help us Change a Child’s Story.”

Through court-ordered access to foster parents, doctors, caseworkers, therapists and teachers, CASA volunteers ensure the best interests of foster youth remain a priority while parties work toward establishing a safe, stable and permanent home. There are nearly 500 Union County youth in foster care and the organization currently serves just over half those. Its goal is to provide an advocate for every youth that needs one. To make a tax-deductible donation, log on to www.casaofunioncounty.org/donate; to learn about how to become an advocate for a foster child, contact Courtney at cgreen@casaofunioncounty.org or 908.293.8136.