Connelly Foundation Gift

The Connelly Counseling and Resource Center established with $1 million gift.
St. Joseph’s Preparatory School is pleased to announce it has received a $1 million gift from the Connelly Foundation to the For Others Forever capital campaign. This gift will establish the Connelly Counseling and Resource Center that will transform counseling services available to Prep Students. 

“We are incredibly proud to have received this gift from the Connelly Foundation, one of the best friends we have had at the Prep over the past half-century,” says John Marinacci, President of St. Joseph’s Prep. “The Connelly family has deep roots at the Prep, and the Connelly Foundation has been actively involved in every major fundraising initiative that we have undertaken. We are grateful for our friendship and this gift that will have a profound impact on the minds, hearts, souls, and characters of our students.”

Tom Riley, President of the Connelly Foundation, spoke about the long relationship between the Connelly family and the Prep. “The Connelly Foundation’s partnership with St. Joseph’s Prep goes back a long way,” he says. “In fact, John and Josephine Connelly got engaged in the Church of the Gesu in 1937. The Prep is a flagship institution of Catholic education here in Philadelphia, with a rich past and a bright future.”

The comprehensive Connelly Counseling and Resource Center is a key component of the physical transformation that the Prep will undergo this year. Strategically located in the main area of the new Learning Commons and directly accessible from the Lobby, the Connelly Counseling and Resource Center will serve as the centralized resource for all of our students’ academic and emotional support needs.  

“Cura personalis, or care for the whole person, is a primary tenet of Jesuit education and permeates everything we do at St. Joseph’s Prep,” says Principal Andy Cavacos. “It is also at the root of the Counseling Department’s approach. We need to create a centralized Counseling Center where all students have easy access to the support they need when they need it.”
The goal of the Prep's Counseling Department is to help every student make the most of their Prep experience, whether they are a top academic student or a young man who can benefit from academic support. Members of the Counseling Department work closely with every student on all aspects of their Prep life including social, academic, and co-curricular areas. 

“With mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and stress increasing among adolescents, it is important that we create an environment where multiple counselors are located together allowing students access to the support they need,” says Dr. L. Stewart Barbera ’86, who has served as a counselor at his alma mater for more than 20 years. 

By creating the Connelly Counseling and Resource Center where guidance and college counselors are positioned together in an easily accessible location, students will become more aware of the services available, resulting in students becoming more comfortable in utilizing them. Because all students will be entering the Center, for multiple reasons, the hesitancy that some young men might feel will be removed. It will become the center of activity and collaboration, not simply a lineup of students outside one counselor’s office. It will also allow for group programming hosted by the Prep’s College and Guidance Counselors.
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