LITTLE SILVER – Red Bank Regional’s (RBR) Suzanne Keller was recently honored by the Community Affairs and Resource Center (CARC) with its Partner in Youth Development Award for her work as the school’s SOURCE coordinator.
The SOURCE is RBR’s school-based youth services program that provides students with a range of services from quality mental health counseling to learning support initiatives. CARC, formerly the Hispanic Affairs & Resource Center, is a nonprofit social services organization operating in Asbury Park, Freehold and Red Bank.
Keller, a Manalapan resident, joined the SOURCE in 2006 as a clinician after obtaining her master’s in social work following a successful career in marketing. In 2010 she was promoted to the SOURCE coordinator where she utilizes her unique skill set. She is responsible for maintaining the SOURCE’s state grants and overseeing all special programs. She also maintains relationships within the community, including government agencies and area churches where she helps coordinate other programs such as SAT prep and student college visitations. She has expanded RBR’s reach in the community by organizing a community advisory board that includes more than 40 different agencies and community businesses. Her continued community outreach has introduced new programs to the school such as TOP (Teen Outreach Program), a character-building program in affiliation with Central Jersey Family Heath Consortium.
A major component of her job has been perennial fundraising for several foundations. Under The SOURCE Foundation, she organizes and runs several signature events. She enables RBR’s Latino students to achieve their dream of college by administering and fundraising for the Latino Scholarship Foundation. She also sits on a community mentor board to help RBR scholarship students succeed in college.
Keller’s fundraising and management expertise was invaluable this year as RBR experienced unprecedented tragedies with the unrelated sudden deaths of two senior students and the displacement of 70 RBR families and faculty during Super Storm Sandy. She set up foundations and raised funds to cover the funeral costs for the students’ families and established ongoing scholarships in the students’ memories. She also continues to raise funds and maintains a list of matching community donations and family needs for those still trying to piece their lives together from the horrific storm damage.
With all her business responsibilities, Keller continues her close connection to the students. She maintains her own counseling task load, accompanies students on field trips and sometimes even drives them to school to ensure their attendance. She is guided by the sign above her desk stating, “To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.”