Star of Brooklyn: Rosa Casella


Community Board 11 member


COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: A member of Community Board 11 and Executive Director of the Neighborhood Improvement Association Community Services Network, Inc. (NIA), Rosa Casella strives to bring change to the community.

The NIA strengthens and improves the quality of life of neighborhood families by providing services and programs to the Brooklyn communities.

“A combination of personal experiences, such as domestic and substance abuse within my family members, provided me with the knowledge and sensitivity necessary to work successfully with youth and families,” said Casella.

Casella says her community involvement began when her children attended the Regina Pacis School.

“I became active in the school’s Parent Association and held office for numerous years, organizing fundraisers and school trips,” noted Casella.

Since then, she has been involved in many events including National Night Out Against Crime, the Alzheimer’s walk, and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

MOTIVATION: “I am motivated by the lack of services offered to families,” noted Casella, who volunteered in crafts programs and activities, and decided to invest her time in making the community better for all its residents.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “My greatest achievements in my life, of course, are my children and grand-children, but also knowing that through my own experiences I have made a difference in someone’s life,” noted Casella.

OBSTACLES: “The thing that we encounter every year is the fear of not receiving enough funds from city and state officials along with city and state agencies,” commented Casella.  “We rely on these awards every year so we can continue to provide services to our youth, families and seniors.”

PROFESSIONAL LIFE: Casella has consistently given more than asked for in her professional life. In 1972, Merrill Lynch hired her as a Dictaphone operator. “Determined to get ahead, I volunteered my time at night working in sales in the company’s Bond Clearing Department,” said Casella. Four months later, she was awarded a full-time position in the department. Only two years after that, she was promoted to assistant supervisor.

In 1978, she left her position at Merrill Lynch and took up the more challenging role of mother. However, she refused to slow down during tax season when she would work for local attorney Harry English, typing income taxes.

PERSONAL LIFE: Casella was born in a small town in Italy and moved to the U.S. at the age of nine. Her family settled in Soho and she graduated from St. Anthony’s Commercial School.

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