Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ, announced today that the state allocated $550,000 to the Caroline Huber Holistic Wellness Center opening on their campus this year. This allocation was one of the Christmas-tree items in the state budget that, in Statehouse parlance, are there to protect our most vulnerable citizens.

State Senator Vin Gopal championed this effort on behalf of the College, acknowledging that the Wellness Center will enhance the quality and accessibility of essential services to its community.

“New Jersey is wrestling with a growing demand for mental health care, and Brookdale’s Wellness Center is poised to offer a comprehensive array of services and programs that will help address that urgent need,” Gopal said. “This funding will expand access to a vital community resource.”

“I want to thank Senator Gopal for his work in putting forth a line item for our wellness center within the Department of Treasury budget,” Brookdale President David M. Stout, Ph.D., said at the Board of Trustees meeting. “This will be in addition to the initial donation bequeathed by Caroline Huber to make our vision for a wellness center on campus a reality.”

In line with Caroline Huber’s wishes for the Wellness Center, the focus will be on mental health, wellness, and social justice. In addition, it serves as a staple on the campus, connecting students, employees, and community members to critical resources and local partners to support basic needs and enhance individual and community wellness.

“Public-Private Partnerships are the way to go,” said Monmouth County Board of County Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone. “I am looking forward to the space and everything that will be accomplished with all the partners.”

Holistic Health programming is planned to address various dimensions of wellness. Furthermore, there will be opportunities for those who need clinical-based mental health services to obtain assistance.

“This is tremendous for the school and says a lot about Brookdale Community College,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley. “You need to get closer and closer to the people who need help. That is exactly what will happen at Brookdale because they have many trusted advisors on campus and a diversity of people who may have needs.”

Construction is underway for the two-story space that will include a reflection room for meditation, a food pantry, a dedicated office space for a Monmouth County Social Worker, and offices for community partners. Additionally, a courtyard will provide a relaxing, peaceful Zen area.

The state’s added support enhances the Wellness Center’s ability to empower a community-based network of accessible, affordable, and quality services and supports that will collectively enable a transformation towards better health for all.