In this file photo, a student works on a 3D computer graphics project in Collier High School, Wickatunk. Collier Youth Services is holding a virtual fundraising gala June 11. Dorothy K. LaMantia photo
In this file photo, a student works on a 3D computer graphics project in Collier High School, Wickatunk. Collier Youth Services is holding a virtual fundraising gala June 11. Dorothy K. LaMantia photo
Though the coronavirus pandemic has led to a storm of uncertainty, Sister of the Good Shepherd Deborah Drago wants to ensure at-risk children and youth have something solid to rely on.

“The Good Shepherd does not want even one of God’s children to be lost in the chaos of the times,” said Sister Debbie, executive director of Collier Youth Services in Monmouth County.

To that end, Collier Youth Services is hosting its annual fundraising gala virtually this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. The event will be held at 7 p.m. June 11. It will feature testimonies of how Collier’s programs adapted during the pandemic and include virtual performances by youth and staff.

Collier Youth Services is a nonprofit that provides multiple services for homeless and disadvantaged children.

This is Collier Youth Services 93rd year of providing vulnerable youth and families, full of promise and potential, a place to grow in an environment that promote belonging, dignity and hope,” Sister Debbie said. “Although virtual technology has permitted us to connect with one another during this time of COVID-19, nothing replaces the real thing of being together.”

With more than 200 acres, the campus provides for at-risk children with different types of needs. Some of its services include Collier High School, Middle School and the Kateri Day Camp summer program. Additional resource centers include the Collier House, Keyport – which helps young homeless women or those transitioning from foster care – and the Group Collier House, Red Bank, which aids teen girls unable to live in their own homes.

During the academic year, the middle and high schools allow student to learn in a small classroom setting and choose a career-based curriculum. In addition, counseling and therapeutic activities are provided. 

Sister Debbie said, “We are able to provide the therapeutic and supportive services in a manner deserving our youth only with the help of generous supporters. This year, we celebrate our young people and their resiliency in our half-hour virtual Gala that will be featured.”

She continued “If you can’t join us on Thursday, please log on at a time convenient for you after the virtual event. We are so grateful to our friends, supporters and the wider community for partnering with us in our beautiful mission.”

To register for the gala, visit, www.collieryouthservices.org.