Hundreds of supporters, current and former youth served, and past and present staff members came out to celebrate Collier Youth Services at the Church of St. Gabriel in Marlboro, NJ, on Saturday, January 28th. Sr. Joanne Dress, Director of Catholic Social Services for the Diocese of Trenton, opened the mass by sharing the words of Bishop David M. O’Connell, who applauded Collier’s 90-year commitment in the community.
Celebrant Fr. Eugene Roberts, pastor of St. Gabriel’s church who graciously hosted the event, was joined by concelebrants Fr. Ronald Cioffi, Fr. Joy Chacko, Fr. Tony Carotenuto, Fr. Jim Conover, Fr. John Hamrogue, and Fr. Garry Koch. The mass and celebration commemorated Sister of the Good Shepherd foundress St. Mary Euphrasia and Ms. Sarah Van Allen Collier—the two credited for the formation of Collier Youth Services. The gift of land from Mrs. Collier paved the way for the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to begin a program for youth in need in Wickatunk, NJ. The thriving agency now serves over 500 at-risk children per year in their school, residential, and summer camp programs.
After the mass, while attendees socialized over light refreshments in the parish hall, John Curley, Deputy Director of the Board of Chosen Freeholders in Monmouth County, commended Collier Youth Services for the 90 years of striving to meet the needs of the local youth. Sister Debbie Drago, Executive Director at Collier adds, “We are so grateful to all who have supported and continue to support the mission of Collier. We are surrounded by a tremendous community of people willing to invest their time, talent and treasure to open the path for a brighter future for our young people.”
Collier will continue its celebration year with a gala on June 8 and a Golf and Tennis outing on October 2. For 90 years, Collier Youth Services has focused on improving the lives of underserved youth.