Local Legislators and the City of Asbury Park to proclaim July 14th as "Mercy Center Day"

Mercy Center is pleased to welcome the Members of the 11th Legislative District and Councilpersons of the City of Asbury Park at a ceremony declaring July 14th as "Mercy Center Day".
By: Mercy Center
Sister Mary Lou with students in 2019.
Sister Mary Lou with students in 2019.
ASBURY PARK, N.J. - July 8, 2021 - PRLog -- Mercy Center is pleased to welcome the Members of the 11th Legislative District and Councilpersons of the City of Asbury Park at a ceremony declaring July 14th as "Mercy Center Day" and to recognize the extraordinary work of Sister Carol Ann Henry and Sister Mary Louise Miller.

Mercy Center staff will be joined by State Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey, as well as the City of Asbury Park Councilpersons Eileen Chapman and Yvonne Clayton. Mercy Center invites the community to show their support by tuning in at 10am on Mercy Center's Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MercyCenterAP/) page to witness the proclamation, share and post stories or memories on social media using #mercycenterday, or celebrate its work with an act of kindness, a reflection or prayer.

Sisters Academy of New Jersey, an all-girls middle school, opened in 1997. Sister Mary Lou took the helm as Principal in 1999. After 22 years of dedication to educating the girls in the greater Asbury Park community, Sister Mary Lou retired as Principal of Sisters Academy on June 30, 2021. She has touched the lives of so many students and their families. Under her tenure, 100 percent of girls who have attended Sisters Academy have also graduated high school, totaling more than 300 students breaking the cycle of poverty. Sisters Academy welcomed Mrs. Elena Malinconico as their new Principal on July 1, 2021.

The Sisters have worked closely to build Mercy Center into what it is today. Driven by the Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns, Sister Carol and Sister Mary Lou have always believed that education is the best tool to break generational poverty.

During the early 1980s, Sister Carol traveled to Asbury Park and discovered that many were without food. She began passing out groceries from the trunk of her car and founded Mercy Center in 1986 as a food pantry. After 39 years as Executive Director, she has grown the non-profit into a full, comprehensive social service agency.

Mercy Center now operates an Emergency Services Program, the Family Resource Center and Sisters Academy of New Jersey. Each of these programs raises people out of poverty by empowering, enriching and educating them. Sister Carol's exceptional leadership has changed the lives of many in our community, with an emphasis on women and children. She has served the City by the Sea loyally and is set to retire in the near future. The Mercy Center Board of Trustees will announce her successor upon the completion of their search.

As she plans for the leadership transition, Sister Carol says, "It has been an honor to serve and gain the trust of our families over these last 39 years. Because of our faithful staff, volunteers and supporters, I know Mercy Center will remain as our miracle on Main Street for many more years to come."

Mary Beth Radke, Chair of Mercy Center Board of Trustees, is confident that Mercy Center will build upon her vision of empowering, enriching and educating the people the agency serves. "Sister Carol has had an extraordinary journey," said Radke. "We have all been blessed and are grateful for the all-encompassing ministry she started. We thank Sister Carol for answering God's call and we will continue to do God's work that we have witnessed throughout her 39 years of service."

Mercy Center Day will launch Mercy Center's formal celebration series of Sister Carol. This includes the announcement of the Sister Carol Ann Henry Founder's Campaign, an opportunity for the community to join the organization in carrying on her mission and vision to making meaningful change in Asbury Park. Funds will support Mercy Center's programs, including Emergency Services, the Family Resource Center and Sisters Academy of NJ.  To learn more about Sister Carol's story, hear testimonials of her impact and obtain details on the Founder's Campaign, please visit https://www.mercycenternj.org/sistercarol.

About Mercy Center

Mercy Center, founded by the Sisters of Mercy, provides programs and services that empower, enrich and educate people facing socio-economic challenges to realize their full potential, with a special emphasis on women and children. To learn more, visit www.mercycenternj.org.

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