About

The work of NJIC3 responds to the complexity of cancer in our families and communities through individual, congregational, and systemic engagement, support, and advocacy. NJIC3 seeks to address the spiritual, emotional, social, and practical needs of those dealing with cancer, using tools drawn from the areas of contemplation, collaboration, and care. 

For more information on specific offerings, see the “Our services” pages. 

History

The New Jersey Interfaith Center for Cancer Care is a program created to honor the legacy of beloved community member, Franco Juricic. Franco was a long time Merck employee who died suddenly of pancreatic cancer in 2019. Franco attended New Brunswick Theological seminary during his final 10 years at Merck, studying at night. He learned so much after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis 10 years prior about caring for those with the disease.  He retired from Merck in June 2018, excited to pursue full-time his passion for ministry. He was to be ordained the very day that, instead, we performed his funeral.

Franco dreamed of starting a ministry for cancer care. Utilizing the strength of faith communities collaborating through a non-profit community development corporation, we are poised to make good on Franco’s dream. 

Staff

Liezl Bosch,

Program Co-Director

Liezl Bosch moved to New Jersey in 2018 as an international student and has since gained experience in a variety of pastoral and social justice work through connection with the Reformed Church of Highland Park. She recently completed her Master of Arts in Theological Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary and holds a Bachelors in International Management and French from the University of Bath (UK). In her role as director of the Cave after-school program and Resident Advisor for the Affordable Housing Corporation, Liezl has been committed to fostering environments that are safe and allow for connections and growth among individuals who have encountered difficulty and loss, which she hopes to continue in her work at NJIC3. During introverted moments, Liezl enjoys being in the gym, making cakes and clothes (she is more skilled at the former), and reading on park benches.

Bilal Hussain,

Program Co-Director

Bilal Hussain is a member of Muslim clergy serving local communities since 2016. Focusing on youth mentorship, character development, and counseling, his audience keeps him young. With a background in corporate finance and analytics, his approach to serving communities often comes with a variety of resources for community growth and development. Bilal is the director of an international non-profit providing humanitarian relief efforts in underdeveloped areas around the world. The care for humanity, unity and energy of NJIC3 is what brings Bilal to join the team in hopes of sharing his experiences and providing compassionate care for others. When not working Bilal enjoys spending time with his family and traveling.

Austin Morreale,

Community Engagement Coordinator

In addition to his role with NJIC3, Austin is the Service Director for NeighborCorps Re-Entry Services, a small, community-based non-profit program located in Highland Park, NJ that supports individuals who have a history of involvement with the carceral system in Middlesex County. He also works on a per diem capacity in the guest services department of a sub-acute rehabilitation facility. He has a BA in English from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, and is a graduate of Portfolio Center in Atlanta, GA, where he participated in their advertising copywriting program. He has worn many hats over the years, including (but not limited to) that of a writer in the advertising industry, a general manager of a dog daycare and boarding facility, an assistant front office manager of a hotel, and a hotel business travel sales manager.
 
Austin serves as the vice-chair for the Highland Park Human Relations Commission, runs a discussion and activity group for local LGBTQ+ youth, and is on the Reformed Church of Highland Park’s consistory. His interests include history, reading, writing, dogs, soccer, music, and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community. Austin lives in Highland Park with his wife, their two daughters, and their deaf pitbull, Poe.

Surabhi Panda,

2021-22 Intern

Surabhi is a computer engineering student at Rutgers University and an intern with NJIC3. She has been helping with designing and coordinating our social media channels (make sure to follow us on instagram and facebook), facilitating our book club (Wednesdays at 6 PM – please join us!), and is currently working to create an interfaith cancer-care youth group. Surabhi was matched with NJIC3 through a fellowship at Rutgers and has since fallen in love with the purpose and purpose-driven people of NJIC3 who are working wholeheartedly to support those dealing with cancer. She is also currently fascinated by mindfulness and learning how to meditate.

Rita Asante,

2021-22 Intern

Rita is passionate about advocating for healthy living and a healthy lifestyle. Born and bred in Ghana-West Africa, she had her formal education and graduated from a teacher training college. As a trained teacher, she taught in the classroom for three years before relocating to the United States in 2001. Since that time, she pursued a certification career as a home health aid, worked for years assisting the sick, elderly, children, and the needy with primary home healthcare, while also continuing to grow her interest in education and graduating with a degree in Earth Science at Kean University in 2017. Rita is a wife and a mother of an adorable six-year-old and she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public health with Chamberlain University, while completing her internship with NJIC3 focused on cancer screening promotion. She believes firmly that, together, we can bring about positive change in our communities.