Audubon, PA – After 122 years of service to youth and families most in need throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding area, St. Gabriel’s System (SGS) closes its doors December 1, 2020.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Catholic Social Services made the decision to shutter St. Gabriels’ Hall, the Mitchell Program, Reintegrations Services, and De La Salle Vocational in September of this year, as residential and delinquent youth placements have dwindled over the past few years. With the onset of the COVID-19 health emergency, declining child welfare trends and financial constraints were exacerbated, leaving the Archdiocese with the hard choice to close these vital programs.
For the more than 180 Lasallians employed in these Youth and Family Services programs, the transition to other programs for the young men entrusted to their care has been their top priority, in partnership with the Archdiocese.
“The decision to close Saint Gabriel’s System is one that causes great sadness and anxiety for many, myself included,” Dr. James J. Black, Director of the Youth Services Division of Catholic Social Services, and longtime Lasallian recently said. “This wonderful Lasallian ministry has been serving court adjudicated youth, ‘the least, the last and the lost,’ for over 122 years, and its closing represents a tremendous loss, not only for the youth who are present there today and who will be leaving shortly, but also for the community at large and the countless youth of future generations who will never receive its benefits.
Photo by Gina Christian – CatholicPhilly.com
“The closure of these storied institutions is a tremendous loss for our Lasallian youth and family outreach and educational mission in the Philadelphia area, and for young people at the margins who would have continued to benefit from these programs,” said Brother Dennis Lee, FSC, Visitor of the Brothers of the Christian Schools District of Eastern North America. “It is our Lasallian charism and pedagogy that has been at the heart of St. Gabriel’s System when the Hall was established in 1898 as the Philadelphia Protectory for Boys. Tens of thousands of young lives have been changed for the better thanks to the Christian Brothers and Lasallian Partners who have dedicated themselves to providing a ‘human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor.'”
“Those who understand trauma and trauma-informed care realize that, for many young people, St. Gabes represented a much-needed place of healing, nurturance and growth—a sanctuary from the violence, pain and loss that they experienced, often chronically and daily,” added Dr. Black. “It is not an exaggeration to say that tens of thousands of young men have experienced the curative, educative and restorative nature of SGS programs.”