NJBIA's Public Policy Forum: The Road to Recovery REGISTER

Nestled quietly about a half-mile off a back road in Monmouth County, through the winding narrow entrance road lined with heavy tree foliage, students are getting ready for class at Collier Youth Services.

“Collier Youth Services is a nonprofit … with a 90-year history of providing programs and services for youth and their families,” explains Human Resources Director Diane Culligan. “Our alternative high school and middle school for students in grades 5-12 provide diverse academic and vocational courses, as well as a strong counseling program and a variety of activities to engage our students to help them succeed and thrive in school.”

Founded in 1927 by Mrs. Robert Collier and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Collier Youth Services was originally a residential school for neglected and dependent girls. In the 1970s, it transitioned into an alternative day school for boys and girls and a community-based home for teenage girls while expanding its programs to include a summer camp — “Kateri Day Camp provides safe summer fun for more than 200 children daily throughout Monmouth County,” Culligan adds.

The original mission of Collier, which focused on the safety and welfare of young women, continues today in its two residential programs. “[Our] group home and transitional living program provide adolescent girls the skills, structure and support needed to mature into healthy, productive young women,” Culligan says.

Collier Group Home is a residence for 10 teenage girls who are unable to live in their own homes due to significant and longstanding personal or family issues. The home is staffed 24 hours a day by professional counselors, and provides the girls with a stable environment while they prepare to return to their homes or begin to live independently. Collier House, established in 2007 in response to a need identified state-wide, is a program for five young women, ages 18-21, who are homeless or transitioning from the foster care system. This program helps young women develop the skills they need to live healthy, self-sufficient and productive lives.

Helping today’s at-risk youth and families in New Jersey isn’t easy. And that’s where being an NJBIA member has helped Collier Youth Services agency-wide.

Collier is one of the many nonprofit member organizations that have joined NJBIA, which it did back in 2008. Culligan was familiar with NJBIA through a prior employer who was also a member. “I knew the value …. offered to employers and employees, and I felt it was an excellent choice to have Collier become a member organization,” Culligan says.

“[We] joined NJBIA based on the services, discount programs, statewide resources and daily newsletter, which offers up-to-the-minute information about the business climate around the state. These services fit our needs as a nonprofit very well.”

“What I like most about NJBIA,” Culligan continues, “is the high quality of information provided on a daily basis through the newsletter, access to the Member Action Center (MAC), seminars and webinars on HR/employment related topics, as well as the many discount programs offered to member businesses and employees.”

NJBIA launched the MAC in 2016. Now in its second year of service, the MAC has assisted more than 4,000 member companies this year alone.

“A great resource NJBIA provides for our small business members is the Member Action Center,” explains Kim Cowperthwait, Member Programs Coordinator for the Association. “NJBIA members can call 800-499-4419 or e-mail member411@njbia.org to get their questions answered and receive guidance from our experts on topics from HR business issues, such as employee handbook writing, to local zoning and permitting issues.”

“As a small HR department,” Culligan goes on to say, “the need for employment related guidance presented itself shortly after the NJBIA MAC was up and running. The MAC partnership with the law firm Jackson Lewis … provided a timely and cost-effective solution to receive employment-policy related guidance.”

Today, in each of its programs Collier Youth Services continues to deepen its mission to provide children with a chance to grow toward their potential in an environment that promotes belonging, dignity and hope.

Contact Collier Youth Services at 732-946-4771 or visit www.collieryouthservices.org for more information.