Grand Marshal

For the 13th anniversary of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2017 we are honored to have Judyann McCarthy as our Grand Marshal.

 

Judyann McCarthy was raised to be is a very proud Irish American by her parents, James and Dolores Gillespie. She was brought up in a household that was very conscientious of the Irish struggle for freedom and equal rights. Her maternal grandfather, Martin Noone of Ballina, Co. Mayo, was a solider in the Irish Republican Army and was involved in the 1916 Easter Rising before immigrating to Philadelphia. Judyann was also educated and inspired by her aunt Patricia Noone Bonner who is a well-known advocate for Irish civil rights both here in this area and in Ireland.

 

Having had parents who were very kind, generous and thoughtful of others, Judyann was inspired to pursue a field in social work, in order to empower and improve the lives of children and their families and society in general. Judyann graduated with a BSW and MSW from Rutgers University-Camden with honors, after serving in the U.S. Army where she was trained as a combat medic. Judyann obtained her LCSW in 2005 after working extensively and in several different capacities with homeless, abused and neglected youth.

 

Judyann has worked for the last 14 years at the Center for Family Services (CFS) in Camden, which is one of South Jersey’s largest nonprofits with over 30,000 clients served last year, as an intern, social worker, therapist, program director and, for the past three years, as Associate Vice President. Prior to working at CFS, Judyann worked as a program coordinator at Covenant House of Philadelphia, a Catholic organization that also happens to be Pennsylvania’s largest youth homeless shelter.

 

She was elected to the board of the National Association of Social Workers-New Jersey Chapter as the Southern Regional Representative, which covered seven counties that included Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Atlantic and Cape May in 2012 and served in this capacity until 2015. Prior to this position, she was the Unit Chair for Camden, Gloucester, and Salem counties, which she chaired for 3 years. Judyann was also the NASW-NJ South Jersey Coordinator of the International Interest Group from 2006-2008.

Judyann has an extensive volunteer service record, which includes local and international experience. She has volunteered with Third World orphans in Calcutta, India and Nairobi, Kenya with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, was an emergency rape crisis counselor for 7 years, a summer camp counselor at a local children’s HIV overnight camp, provided pro-bono therapy and case management to relocated Hurricane Katrina victims and has been an organizer for numerous charity events which includes an annual benefit in her father’s name that has raised over $150,000 for local Catholic grade schools in Camden. Also, a lifelong runner, Judyann has run marathons to raise funding for breast cancer, premature babies and cystic fibrosis research and for orphanages in India and Kenya in which she volunteered.

Currently, Judyann serves on the board of the Catholic Partnership Schools of Camden, which is a collaborative that has kept 5 Catholic grade schools open in Camden. She was a founding member of the Camden City Mentoring Institute, which is also another collaborative effort to recruit and train mentors for children of incarcerated parents. She personally has been an active mentor for over 15 years for at-risk teens and also founded local basketball, cross country and baseball teams in the city, which she still helps direct.

She also coaches soccer and baseball in her town of Merchantville where her own children play.

 

In 2008, Judyann was honored by being chosen as the NASW-NJ State Social Worker of the Year. She is also a past recipient of the South Jersey Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellowship Award and Camden County’s Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Medal for her volunteer work, both locally and internationally.

 

Judyann credits much of her success to having a husband who supports her various interests and projects. Donal McCarthy, was raised in Limerick, Ireland by parents from Killarney, County Kerry. He is the lead singer and guitarist in the local Irish rock band, The Hit the Bottle Boys, and works as a Senior Network Manager at Crown Cork and Seal. Donal has been instrumental in doing much of the behind the scenes work for many of the projects Judyann is involved in. They have three children, Roridan, Tierna and Sullivan and Judyann is also a proud stepmother to Donal’s daughter, Caoimhe, an occupational therapist who resides in Liverpool.

 

Recently, both Judyann and Donal participated as committee members in the planning and execution of the Irish Easter Rising Centennial Commemoration and its lead up events in Philadelphia.  The 1916 Irish Easter Rising means so much to both of them given their families’ histories which include family members on both sides participating in the fight for Irish freedom and equality. It was a true honor to be part of recognizing the brave men and women who were willing to risk life and liberty for freedom.