Manhasset CASA Seeks New Director

CASA’s Student Athlete Leadership Team spent time reconnecting with the sixth graders they mentored this year during Lunch on the Lawn.

Manhasset Coalition Against Substance Abuse (CASA) has been working on behalf of the youth in the Manhasset community for 17 years. It is looking for a new project director.

CASA operates under the Drug-free Communities Support Program (DFC) by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). With federal funding ending, the Manhasset School District has picked up more of its funding, increasing CASA’s budget from $35,000 to $45,000, but it slashes the full-time position to a part-time position, making the current project director look for other opportunities with full-time benefits.

Lesley Mazzotta was hired to fill the position after long-time Project Director Cathy Samuels took a position in Massapequa. Mazzotta was hired with the knowledge the position would become part-time.

CASA President Jen DeSena has been looking for monies to subsidize the loss of funding. Manhasset CASA has received critical funding from Senator Elaine Phillips who represents the seventh district.

”New funding from Senator Elaine Phillips, the Board of Education, the SCA, the Greentree Good Neighbor fund and the Manhasset Community Fund are helping us educate and empower parents and youth to make healthier choices,” said DeSena.

She has also reached out to State Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso.

“I am glad we have an organization such as this which works to improve the lives of many of our residents and helps young people before they get into severe trouble,” said D’Urso.

Unfortunately, the funding given from New York State has declined but he is happy to be working on it. “We need a part time (20 hours per week) Project Director with communication and administrative skills to support our programming in the secondary school building,” said DeSena. “Experience in prevention education would be beneficial but not required. If you are interested in working with community leaders, primarily during school hours, it will make a difference.” Any interested candidate should contact DeSena at for more information.

Manhasset CASA was established in 2001 as a as a resource to reduce the illegal, underage use of alcohol, tobacco, prescription and other drugs among its youth. CASA strives to reach youth before they are in trouble by connecting parents, school, community and youth as partners in this common goal. Their goals are to reduce substance abuse among youth and, over time, among adults; and to establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, private nonprofit agencies, and federal, state and local governments to support the efforts of the Manhasset community coalition to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth.

To learn more, visit or like them on Facebook.

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Elizabeth Johnson is former editor of Manhasset Press and Manhasset Press Magazine. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community Newspaper" several years in a row.


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