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Businesses & Charities Working Hand-in-Hand

Bruer Kershner of Kershner Office Furniture with Sandy Lovascio, Director of Development for the Society of the Holy Child Jesus - American Province at the Executive Leaders Radio and Entrepreneurs Forum of Greater Philadelphia at the CEO Philanthropy Awards Breakfast in Philadelphia.

Bruer Kershner of Kershner Office Furniture with Sandy Lovascio, Director of Development for the Society of the Holy Child Jesus – American Province, at the CEO Philanthropy Awards Breakfast in Philadelphia.

“The more I learn about the Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ), the better it gets,” says Bruer C. Kershner, President of Kershner Office Furniture in King of Prussia, PA. In June, Mr. Kershner was honored by the Executive Leaders Radio and Entrepreneurs Forum of Greater Philadelphia at the CEO Philanthropy Awards Breakfast in Philadelphia.

Mr. Kershner was recognized for his personal accomplishments, but perhaps more importantly, he was recognized for his commitment to supporting charitable causes, one of which is the Society of the Holy Child Jesus.

Mr. Kershner was asked to select a charitable organization to which he is committed to present him with the award. “The Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) were the first to come to mind,” he says. Sandy Lovascio, Director of Development for the SHCJ, presented Mr. Kershner with his award, stating, “Bruer enthusiastically extends his time and expertise, generously supports the Society’s efforts, and graciously serves as a wonderful advocate. As an organization that has witnessed his leadership, devotion, and commitment, it is a privilege to present this award.”

Mr. Kershner came to know the Society of the Holy Child Jesus in 2009, when the organization’s offices were being relocated from Drexel Hill, PA to Bryn Mawr, PA. The expense of moving the office was quite costly and there were not a ton of funds left over to buy furniture. The furniture the organization was using was school furniture such as teachers’ desks and chairs from several decades ago. It was falling apart and not functional for an office.

Mrs. Lovascio contacted several furniture companies to see if they could help. She knew there was something different the minute Mr. Kershner answered the phone. “He could not have been more helpful. He was excited to learn about our work and those we serve. He worked with us on cost and did all he could to provide us with economical solutions—such as by providing refurbished furniture—that would help to make our office presentable, functional, and affordable. And then he made a personal donation to help us cover some of the costs. He went above and beyond.”

Since then, Mr. Kershner has continued his commitment to the Society, such as by helping to find event sponsors for the Society’s Annual Awards Dinner event. “We are so grateful to Bruer,” said Mrs. Lovascio. “His support makes it possible for the Sisters to advance their mission and continue to bring faith and hope to some of God’s most vulnerable.”

Providence Center: A Family Affair

Rosita Perez (center) takes a break from volunteering at Providence Center’s Christmas Celebration at the Julio deBurgos Elementary School to bond with her children: (l to r) Angel, 11; Luis, 6; and Ashley, 9.

Submitted by Maurine Dooley

“It was the best thing I ever did,” said Rosita Perez of her decision to enroll her three children in Providence Center’s After School Program (ASP) in Philadelphia, Pa. Her children had asked many times to go to the program because they saw friends and classmates at the Julio deBurgos Elementary School, where the program is held enjoying the attention and assistance provided by mentors and volunteers at ASP.

Rosita, who is a busy wife and mother works at the Marriot Hotel as a Breakfast Ambassador and she helps in caring for her mother who has had several serious surgeries recently. She visited ASP and talked with the Program Director, Gloria Rodriguez-Soto, and was impressed. Her three children, eleven-year-old Angel Mendez, nine-year-old Ashley Mendez, and 6-year-old Luis Bones were registered soon after that meeting. It was not long before this Philadelphia native and graduate of Lincoln High School became a volunteer in Providence Center’s After School Program. 

Rosita’s daily schedule is overwhelming. She is up at 4 a.m. to travel to the Willow Grove Marriott, where she provides guest breakfast service. At 10 a.m., she leaves work and heads to her mother’s home to help her with errands and to take her to doctors’ appointments. Around 3 p.m., she is on her way to Providence Center’s After School Program to volunteer. The family arrives home about 6 p.m. when Rosita makes dinner followed by baths and preparation for the next school day. At 8 p.m., she takes her three children to her mother’s home where they spend the night so she can leave early the next morning for work. Home again, she washes dishes, cleans up, watches the 11 p.m. news and finally gets a few hours of sleep before her day starts again! Weekends are quiet, and include family game nights and Mass on Sunday.

What makes Rosita so remarkable is that when that her children are at ASP, she could be resting—after being up since 4:00 a.m.—but instead she chooses to take that time to volunteer. While Providence Center and the Sisters of the Holy Child have always made it a point to help the community, Rosita shows us that the true help is in giving those people in the community the opportunity to help themselves. Rosita was looking for a program that could assist her in cultivating her children’s education—not just a babysitter.

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