Adopted through Catholic Charities, Monmouth man pays it forward

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Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton is pleased to honor Damian Sylvia of Ocean Grove as our Light of Hope of Monmouth County.

Damian Sylvia’s connection to Catholic Charities is lifelong. He and his two siblings were adopted through Catholic Charities in Boston and Worcester, Mass. Early on, he learned the importance of giving back.

Damian Sylvia“My dad used to remind me that Catholics spread the Gospel through their works, versus evangelizing,” Damian said. “He believed that charity was most pure when done with anonymity. It wasn’t until after he passed away that I learned the extent of the charitable works he did.”

And his mother, now 87, is an equally good role model, and even spent time knocking on doors to raise money for the Diocese’s recent Faith to Move Mountains fundraising campaign.

About 10 years ago, Damian joined Catholic Charities’ Monmouth County Board, where he now serves on the sponsorship committee and participates in drives to collect food, holiday gifts, back-to-school supplies and other items for Catholic Charities programs that support Monmouth County’s most vulnerable residents. He also has been a devout supporter of Catholic Charities.

“I think it’s important that we lift the people at the bottom of the ladder up so they can be self-sufficient, so they can walk with their heads held high,” he said.

That compassion and dedication to helping others is something he passed down to his children: Christopher, an Asbury Park police officer who was honored twice last year for his heroism and compassion; Jack, a recent Johns Hopkins University graduate who owns a marijuana farm in Maine; and Emma, a college student and novelist. All three have their father’s altruistic nature and believe in service of others above self.

“My children are everything we hoped they would be. They are kind and hold their hands out to help others always,” said Damian, who also volunteered as a Little League coach and Boy Scout leader when his kids were younger.

Damian likes supporting Catholic Charities because he knows the scope of all that it does.

“Catholic Charities is very active in working with the poor. It’s not the adoption agency anymore than I passed through,” he said. “Most of us, in our daily travels, either don’t encounter people in need, or may be unaware of their circumstance. Catholic Charities is able to find the people who need help – and get them that help.”

Referring to his adoption, he added: “Catholic Charities helped me and my family. So I want to help Catholic Charities help others.”

Damian works in retirement planning at an Oakhurst-based company he founded called Retirement Income Solutions. In his spare time, he enjoys golf and reading. He’s a parishioner at St. Mary of the Assumption in Deal.

Celebrate with us!

Damian Sylvia will be honored during Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton’s Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope on Thursday, September 9th. It’s free to tune in! Register today here.

For more information about or to support the Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope, contact Jennifer Leip at jleip@cctrenton.org.

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