Advocate Spotlight: Dianne Hopersberger

  Dianne Hopersberger

Dianne Hopersberger

Dianne Hopersberger is truly a pioneer woman. In 1988, she became Mountaintop Area's first female police officer. She then became the first female Chief of Police in Pennsylvania in 1992. At the time, women becoming police officers was extremely uncommon.  In fact, when Dianne became pregnant with her youngest daughter while employed as an officer, she had to fight her way back into her position after coming back from a short maternity leave. Job protection for women on maternity leave was not legally supported, but she never backed down, and it paid off. The area has truly benefited because of her devotion to protecting families and upholding the law.

As significant as those achievements are, there is more to Dianne's compelling story. She is a mother of 4, a stepmother to 1, and a grandmother of 2 . Dianne faced personal adversity when her oldest daughter, DeAnne passed away. She bravely turned her pain of loss and grief into inspiration to serve others: a value DeAnne promoted. Her story and the hurdles she overcame will resonate throughout generations. In fact, her oldest son Michael followed in her footsteps by graduating from the police academy. While on the job, Dianne always felt a strong pull on her heart when she was called upon for domestic issues. Those incidents left her wanting to be a part of the solution and help repair disrupted homes. It was no surprise that after retiring from the force, Dianne responded to a new call: she she became a CASA in 2014.

In her first case, she advocated for six children. She remembers sensing the love the family had for one another. They were struggling and things certainly needed to change, but she quickly became the piece of the puzzle that the family needed by offering support and positively reinforcing the parents efforts to provide for their children. She talked about how she drew upon some of her own experiences in order to empathize with the family, identify their strengths, and build upon them. Dianne recently accepted her third case and exemplifies the selfless dedicated role of a CASA volunteer.

Dianne explained that when you're passionate about the cause, you don't really think about the time or effort that you're putting in. It's when the Judge recognizes you in court, or you receive a compliment regarding the positive affects you're having on the children; it's those moments that remind you of how powerful empathy, love, and kindness can be. "All situations are unique and CASA's are the connectors, " Hopersberger explains. At the close of our interview Dianne expressed gratitude for being recognized but it is her own strength and selfless nature that is being celebrated. When discussing future Advocates, and any advice that could be passed on, Hopersberger emphasized the importance of remaining honest and maintaining one's integrity. Dianne hopes to leave a legacy, and it is safe to say, her unique and profound story will be shared.