Son's Memory Lives on Through Family's Donation
CLAYTON- Karen and Joe Petsch are changing the lives of youth throughout southern New Jersey with their recent donation of $50,000 to the Center For Family Services’ Youth Empowerment System (YES) program. At the same time, they are helping the memory of their late son, Michael, live on.
On October 2nd, CFS officially unveiled their YES program’s new campus to eager community members, donors, and staff. The site includes a yet-to-be named home for girls and Michael’s House, named in honor of Michael Petsch.
Michael, who lost his life nearly 17 years ago in a car accident, would always do what he could to help out family or friends in need. It only makes sense that his family would chose to keep his memory alive by supporting a program devoted to positively changing the lives of children in New Jersey.
The funds will be used in helping “abused, neglected kids to have a better chance,” according to Richard Stagliano, CFS president and CEO. “These teens deserve a place of high quality…a peaceful environment for children to heal.”
The two homes sit on a 7-acre campus on Delsea Drive in Clayton and can accommodate up to 13 youth at a time. The YES program offers community-based, long-term residential treatment for young men and women age 13-17. Highly qualified counselors and therapists work closely with the youth and families to provide diagnostic assessment, therapy, educational services, and social skills training.
The YES program started 20 years ago and operated in Camden County until last August when the county notified CFS they would have to relocate their residential program for teens. With the help of the Petsch donation, community block grants, and other funds CFS was able to secure the new YES site after a year of scouting locations and fundraising.
“It really does take a village, we really do believe that,” Stagliano said.