A new wellness center is opening on the campus of Brookdale Community College. Celebrating at a recent Reveal Ceremony were over 150 friends and wellness center partners from across the community who viewed the artist renderings for the center and met the newly appointed Director Dinneen Jackson.
Propelling the wellness center forward was a generous bequest from Caroline Huber. In addition, $150,000 established a Caroline Huber Memorial Scholarship Fund for students of financial need in the Humanities program.
“We have been dreaming of the day we can have a wellness center on campus and are grateful for the generous donation bequeathed by Caroline Huber to make our vision a reality and scholarships for our students possible,” said David M. Stout, Ph.D., president of Brookdale Community College. “With mental health concerns escalating, this donation gives us the ability to face the needs of our community and ensure that we are putting the health and safety of our students at the top of our priority list.”
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, President Stout announced that the wellness center would be named the Caroline Huber Holistic Wellness Center. “Dedicating the center to her legacy and everything that she hoped for we hope to bring to this wellness center,” Stout said.
“Many of our partners are in the room with us today,” Stout continued. “We would not be able to do this if not for your commitment to joining us in partnership with the wellness center.”
Sam Huber, Caroline’s son, said his mother was always incredibly involved in the community and wanted to contribute something significant to the community.
“My mother knew she wanted to support Brookdale because she always loved Brookdale, she taught at Brookdale, had taken classes at Brookdale, and has watched it grow over the years,” Huber said. “She understood there were many parts to wellness and community. She always said, ‘so you are doing great work, tell me who your partners are.’”
Many of Caroline’s friends and partners in the community were in attendance. “Thank you all for being here and making this a reality, it is an honor to my mother, and our family appreciates it,” Huber said.
Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners Director Thomas A. Arnone, Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley, and Commissioner Ross F. Licitra gave remarks about the new Center. They commended Brookdale Community College for its continuing innovation, development, and dedication to the student body of our community.
“You need to get closer and closer to the people who need help,” said Kiley. “That is exactly what will happen at Brookdale because you have so many trusted advisors here on campus and a diversity of people who may have needs. This is tremendous for the school and says a lot about Brookdale Community College.”
“Public-Private Partnerships are the way to go,” said Arnone. “Post pandemic, programs like this one are a true sign of Monmouth County moving forward.” I am looking forward to the space and everything you are going to accomplish with all your partners.”
Brookdale student Belinda Asamoah, a nursing and creative writing major and vice president of Wellness for Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society, was a student member of the strategic planning and selection committee for the wellness center director.
“I know that the wellness center will embody every characteristic that the committee had,” said Asamoah. “It will be diverse and welcoming to all people. I know it will be very patient with students. As a student, I know that the Center will be a place to recharge, destress, and grow.”
President Stout introduced Director Dinneen Jackson of the Wellness Center. “One of the important things we had to do was identify a director that was going to be the future of our wellness center, and we were so fortunate that we had a star step forward.”
Jackson received her AA in Business and Education from Brookdale Community College, her BA in Urban Studies from Rutgers University, and her MA in Integrative Holistic Health Studies from Georgian Court University. In addition, she is a National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC), a Certified Mental Health First Aider, and Reiki Master.
Jackson’s expectations for the Wellness Center mirror the mission of the Center: To connect students, employees, and community members to campus resources and local partners that will support basic needs, enhance individual and community wellness, and promote social justice.
“This has been a lifetime dream to be living my life’s purpose,” Jackson said. “I thank all of you who have been committed to the development of a wellness center for so many years and never gave up. And to Caroline, I thank her for her blessing because she is the one that helped us to move forward.”
Jackson read a letter from Senator Cory Booker, who extended his congratulations on behalf of the state. Acknowledging that the Caroline Huber Holistic Wellness Center will enhance the quality and accessibility of essential services. He said, “I commend Brookdale Community College for its commitment to prioritizing and improving the overall wellbeing of its entire population.”
Jackson and the committee turned over large boards at the front of the room as they began to reveal aspects of the wellness center.
Designed by the College Relations Department, everyone admired the logo as it was being revealed. Jackson explained that the logo colors represent the seven chakras of the body’s energy system and the seven dimensions of wellness, which will be the focus when designing the center’s programming planned to roll out starting in September.
Lastly revealed were the magnificent renderings of the reception area, the multi-functional space (for physical activity, presentations, or just quiet time for people), and the nutrition center.
Following the Reveal and dedication was the presentation by Sam Huber to the first recipients of the Caroline Huber Memorial Scholarship Victoria Bahary, Ocean; Giulia Campora, Monroe Twp; Dorothy Conley, Sayreville; Zafira Demiri, Freehold; Laura Desouza, Little Silver; Eleeza Faraday, Neptune; Kelly Hendricks, Wall; Eden Pela, Cherry Hill; Shawna Rodgers, Keansburg; Emily Reid, Freehold; Alexandra Rossi, Oceanport; Summer Smagacz, Tinton Falls; and Darlyn Emelia Stedman, Long Branch.