With your support, GCLEA has been serving the Southern New Jersey/Philadelphia region since 2010.
Through an array of educational programs, worship services, and social outreach initiatives, we have been helping people of all ages and ethnicities connect to their faith and community in a meaningful way.
Check out a number of our congregants GCLEA stories below.
Sister Najmulsahar in the front row (second to the left) ice-skating with the girls' youth group.
(Shasha and Shanaz enjoying some mother-daughter time in the sun.)
I was attending a family night at a local mosque when an announcement was made for the need of volunteer counselors for a new summer camp starting at a center by the name of GCLEA.
My first reaction was excitement at the fact that a religious center would invest time and money in such a program for youth. My second reaction was to turn to my sister sitting beside me and ask if she would want to volunteer with me.
You know when you hear those stories about being exactly in the right place at precisely the right time and how that drastically changed the course of someone's life? There is no other way for me to describe that moment.
My name is Najmulsahar Binnat, I am a first generation Pakistani American and this is my experience at GCLEA.
That first Summer Camp took place in the summer of 2012 and for the next 7 years GCLEA would continue to nurture me spiritually, morally, socially and academically.
I grew an attachment to a place I had once attributed only to the religious aspect of my life. It was at GCLEA I learned that my beliefs were not one aspect of my life but integral to all aspects including work, school, family and friendships.
Looking back I now see that everything I invested in GCLEA was given back to me ten fold in terms of my growth. I am now the coordinator for the 2019 GCLEA Summer Camp and Girls Youth Group and I hope to attend Medical School in the fall of 2020. My sister has also experienced similar success through her growth at GCLEA and is currently attending Law School in Washington DC.
I practice my religion with knowledge and confidence despite going through a grueling and hostile public school system education. I owe my spiritual growth and development of leadership skills to GCLEA. My success is a result of the experiences I gained from the opportunities and resources GCLEA provided me.
If you have children and want them to develop into successful and outstanding citizens of society who hold steadfast to the rope of Islam then invest in the institution that will nurture this growth. Invest in your Dunya and Akhira. Invest in GCLEA and it will be returned to you tenfold.
As-Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,
We moved to Voorhees, NJ, when Sasha was 12 years old. Immediately afterward, we started looking for an Islamic After School Program or Mosque that would teach Sasha the Arabic language.
We were so happy when we met Imam John Starling and his wife at GCLEA.
What a beautiful family, Masha’Allah. May Allah (SWT) protect and preserve them both. Ameen.
We would later learn how much they both do and how each plays so many instrumental roles in bringing the community together.
Sasha started learning with Imam John at GCLEA's initial location on Lincoln Drive. She was excited to go to classes two days a week. She studied and looked forward to it. Learning Islam and Arabic became easy for her. Alhamdulillah. Imam John played such a huge part in that; he made it fun and interesting. We will forever be grateful to him and the center.
She gained her love for Islam, first by the grace of Allah (Whom we thank for guiding us to GCLEA) and then for Imam John who served as a mentor.
At GCLEA, we met and made some wonderful friends too. Wonderful people, whom we are still in touch with today. Masha'Allah!
At GCLEA, we became more involved in community life. We took lots of initiative while working closely with Imam John and his wife, Sister Evana. We were very active in the Youth Group and managed many other programs at GCLEA. We even attended the adult Islamic Studies program in the evenings.
It became our second home. And when we say that, we really mean it!
When Sahsa graduated from HS we had to move closer to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, so that she could attend Pharmacy School. It was a bitter-sweet move.
GCLEA truly became a place where we felt at home and still do.
It was truly a blessing and we were so happy to be a part of it. It was one of the best times of our lives. We felt (and still do), loved and welcomed by this amazing community.
Needless to say, and it should come as no surprise, that we miss our home away from home.
We still do our best to stay connected and visit when we can. We follow GCLEA online and have access to the Imam.
It is Imam John's teachings that still ring in our ears when we come across something we question or seems questionable. Even now, we can still call, email or FB message him for advice and guidance and we get a response almost immediately or within the same day.
We are both so grateful for that!
We thank Allah, for guiding us to GCLEA and for meeting so many wonderful people. Allah opened our hearts to Islam there and so not only did we fall in love with Islam but also with the entire GCLEA community.
May Allah protect and preserve GCLEA and this community and continue to put Barakat in it. Ameen.
❤ #GCLEAFOREVER. ❤
Shanaz & Sasha.
By making a contribution today you are supporting someone's home away from home; a place they can find the love of faith and the support of their community.
(Here's Rehaan working the selfie stick at Mt. Uhud, Madinah during our 2019 Umrah trip.)
My name is Rehaan Nabi and I have been coming regularly to this center now for nearly 7 years.
I’m married and have 4 young children, ages 3 to 10. I was born here in the US and my parents are
originally from Pakistan.
Growing up in America in an immigrant family, I think about some of the challenges we face.
Prior to first coming to this center, I probably went to a masjid once or twice a year.
I vividly remember the very first khutbah I heard at this center from Imam John, entitled Your Childs Identity.
The khutbah was life-changing and literally transformed my thinking overnight; it felt as if he was talking directly about me and my experiences growing up.
By the grace of Allah, it helped me realize and appreciate the importance of a center like GCLEA, and the importance of a strong and ACTIVE Muslim community, and the powerful positive impact it can have on our youth.
You see, as parents, we can only do so much for our children in helping them to establish a strong sense of faith. We NEED strong and significant community support systems and financial resources to aid and assist us in this task.
Our children need to and should feel proud to be Muslim.
Especially in this day and age where misconceptions and misrepresentations of Islam have become commonplace in our society and in the media.
So today, I respectfully urge you to make a commitment to the future of your family, your children, and our community.
Give what you can today!
If we want our children to grow up and be strong believers, we MUST invest in their future and help maintain our Islamic center. We are truly blessed, mashallah to have such a wonderful center with so many great programs.
We need each and every one of you to offer your financial support today.
May Allah strengthen our faith and protect our children. Jazkaallah khair for your time.
Help make our community STRONG by supporting GCLEA!
Without negatively impacting our mission, we have been working hard to streamline our programs and cut excess overhead to be more efficient and effective going into the new year.
We have managed to reduce our annual budget by 28%, totaling $159K!
We have lowered our overhead from 18% to 15% which means your contributions will have a greater direct impact on delivering mission.
Board Contributions $53,000
Total Income $423,500
Wages & Taxes $210,600
Total Expenses $400,800
Income Surplus/(Deficit) $22,750
Here's some of what you can look forward to in the coming year.
To help people embrace their faith in an authentic and meaningful way.
To highlight Islam and the Muslim community in South Jersey through positive leadership, open dialogue, effective outreach, and community service.
Impact the lives of 5 disadvantaged people/families in our region by years end.
To employ best management practices to set a new standard by which Islamic centers are run in the US.
Upgrade children’s room with stationary toys
Implement an online Learning Management System (LMS) for Sunday School
Apply for additional relevant grants
Increase membership base by approximately 10-15%
Increase Business Affiliates
Grow fee-based programs
Explore grant opportunities
Encourage greater charitable giving as an act of devotional worship
Explore investment opportunities
Introduce a planned giving program (Last Will and Testament)
Provide greater transparency to GCLEA congregation by publishing an annual and quarterly reports
Recruit additional board members
Recruit additional volunteers
Introduce an internship program
Increase chaplaincy services to Cooper Hospital, Camden
Host an annual open house
Host open Jummah service