WICKATUNK, NJ—At it’s 85th Anniversary Celebration Gala, Collier Youth Services will honor noted restaurateur and philanthropist, Tim McCloone and Holiday Express, the nonprofit organization he founded; the AT&T Pioneers of the Jersey Shore Club, part of the world’s largest corporate volunteer organization; and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd who founded Collier Youth Services.  The Gala will be held on June 8, 2012 at Eagle Oaks Golf & Country Club in Farmingdale, NJ.  The Honorees are being recognized for their contributions to Collier’s programs for at-risk youth and the community at large.  

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Tim McLoone, founder of Holiday Express

Tim McLoone could best be described as a modern day Renaissance man.  Schooled at Harvard and accomplished in music, athletics and business, Tim nonetheless felt there was something missing in his life back in 1993 and yearned to make a positive difference in the lives of those in need.   That year, with the help of his musician friends, he founded Holiday Express, a volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing music, food, gifts and genuine friendship to the physically and mentally disabled, the homeless, those living with multiple illnesses and others in need during the holiday season.  1,400 volunteers give more than 15,000 hours of their time annually as extensions of Tim's efforts to make a positive difference.  Among its good works, Holiday Express sponsors an annual scholarship for a graduate of Collier High School.

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Sr. Debbie Drago, Executive Director of Collier Youth Services and David Macauley, President of the Jersey Shore Club of AT&T Pioneers

The AT&T Pioneers are a network of current and retired AT&T employees who volunteer their time to effect immediate, tangible change in local communities, in partnership with their sponsors.   Beginning with the construction of an outdoor stage and seating, aptly named “The Pioneer Theater,” more than 30 years ago, Pioneers have participated in many service projects to enhance the grounds and facilities at Collier Youth Services.  The latest projects include the construction and repair of bridges and stairs throughout three miles of nature trails used by thousands of children and families who participate in environmental education activities and events at Collier’s Kateri Center. 

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Founding Sisters of the Good Shepherd

Sisters of the Good Shepherd founded Collier Youth Services in 1927 when Mrs. Robert Collier, the widow of the heir to the Collier publishing empire, gave the property to the Sisters; thereby establishing the groundwork for the following 85 years of providing a safe haven where fragile and uncertain youth feel a sense of belonging, dignity and hope.   Today, Collier Youth Services provides a wide range of non-denominational, educational, residential and recreational programming for at-risk youth, ages five through 21.

According to Sr. Debbie Drago, Executive Director, “Collier Youth Services is in the business of helping young people and their families tap into their own deep and rich inner resources of creativity, resilience and hope. We are grateful to our founding Sisters who worked so diligently to create a haven for young people at Collier and to our other Honorees whose contributions support our work with at-risk youth.”

Collier Youth Services operates Collier School, alternative education for students in grades 6-12; Collier Group Home, residential services for teenage girls, Collier House, transitional living for young women; Kateri Day Camp, summer recreation for disadvantaged children; Project ECO, summer special education for children with autism or other complex needs, JET, summer job experience and training for teenagers, and Kateri Center, environmental education programs that are open to the public.