Huber Wellness Center at Brookdale CC gets significant boost from N.J. budget

Allocation of $550K will help center better provide wellness and behavioral health services

Brookdale Community College in Lincroft — in a continuing effort to provide wellness and behavioral health assistance to its campus population — was thrilled when the state allocated $550,000 to the Caroline Huber Holistic Wellness Center, which will open on its campus later this year.

In line with Caroline Huber’s wishes for the wellness center, Brookdale President David Stout said the focus will be on mental health, wellness and social justice.

In addition, the center will serve 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.

Stout thanked state Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Ocean Twp.) for championing the effort on behalf of the college.

“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,” Stout said.

Gopal said center such as this serves to 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,” he said. “This funding will expand access to a vital community resource.”

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.

Stout said 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.

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.

Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners Director Thomas Arnone said the center will be a reflection of what can happen when entities work together.

“Public-private partnerships are the way to go,” he said. “I am looking forward to the space and everything that will be accomplished with all the partners.”

Commissioner Deputy Director Susan Kiley said the center illustrates the depth of higher education institutions.

“This is tremendous for the school and says a lot about Brookdale Community College,” she said. “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 advisers on campus and a diversity of people who may have needs.”