Guadalupe Family Services Strengthens the City of Camden with Support from WSFS
educating-myself | Read Time: 3 minutes
By Kyle Babcock | Published: September 2022
Since its founding in 1995, Guadalupe Family Services (GFS) has operated with the belief that the complex needs of urban family life in North Camden, N.J., must be better served.
With this goal in mind, the organization set out on its path to make an impact on the community by offering clinical counseling and direct social services focusing on families in distress, with a particular sensitivity to the cultural needs of the community.
“GFS offers several programs for youth, a baby supply program for young families, and more,” said Sister Helen Cole SSJ, MSW, LCSW, Director at Guadalupe Family Services. “We network with leading social services agencies, community and cultural organizations, as well as partner with the Camden County Metro Police Department in our direct effort to promote peace in the city of Camden.”
It is through these community partnerships that GFS began working with WSFS more than a decade ago. In 2007, GFS initiated its inaugural fundraiser, “Crossing the River for a Cause,” which is now hosted annually to help further support the organization’s mission.
“While preparing for the inaugural event back in 2007, one of our board members wrote to what was then Beneficial Bank to inquire about their programs to support our agency, and we were fortunate to be put in contact with Bob Juliano,” said Sister Helen. “Since that time, and following WSFS’ acquisition of Beneficial, the Bank has been a faithful benefactor and financial supporter of our programs in Camden.”
The relationship between GFS and WSFS has continued to blossom over the course of 15 years, with WSFS becoming an active supporter for initiatives such as financial literacy courses and the GFS Diaper Program.
“We have a teen program, Camden Adolescents Striving for Achievement (CASA), which offers teenagers a safe place after school as well as activities during the summer,” said Sister Helen. “Our students attended a “Financial Jeopardy” Program with WSFS previously, and this year our young adults spent an entire day at WSFS Bank Place in Philadelphia for financial education.”
Students taking part in the program attended a full day of financial literacy lessons, learning about credit cards, paying bills and credit history, followed by a team building activity that the teens really enjoyed.
“These lessons are invaluable for our students, and we are hopeful that our teens will make wise decisions when it comes to finances and savings as a result,” said Sister Helen.
“Financial literacy can play a key role in achieving your long-term life goals,” said Juliano, VP, Director of Corporate Giving & Financial Literacy at WSFS. “These lessons are often unable to fit into already tight curriculums at school, so it is great to be able to partner with organizations like GFS to provide these vital lessons to the next generation.”
In addition to financial education, WSFS has been a strong supporter of GFS’ Diaper Program, which for more than 20 years has been providing families with free diapers during the last week of the month.
“There is a direct correlation between diaper shortages and child abuse,” said Sister Helen. “As part of our violence prevention efforts, we have been distributing diapers and wipes twice a month during the past two years of the pandemic. WSFS has assisted us with this need through their Team WSFS volunteers and ‘We Love our Community Day’ events. We are so very grateful that WSFS’ outreach has helped our families in need!”
“At WSFS, we envision a day when everyone will thrive, and it is through thoughtful partnerships with organizations like GFS that we are able to make this impact,” said Juliano. “We’re proud to support GFS in their mission to enrich and transform their neighborhood through the collaboration of clinical and community resources.”
About the Author – Kyle Babcock
Kyle Babcock is Integrated Communications Strategist at WSFS Bank. He has more than nine years of experience in product and professional services marketing, communications and advertising.
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