Bonnie Brae Welcomes Christian Whooley as Chief Operating Officer
Bonnie Brae is pleased to welcome Christian Whooley to the position of Chief Operating Officer. A life-long advocate for at-risk youth, Chris brings more than 18 years of experience working with at-risk children, adolescents and families in inpatient, outpatient, juvenile justice, residential, community and alternative settings.
A graduate of The College of Staten Island, Chris began his career working in the adolescent unit at Carrier Clinic. While moving up the ladder at Carrier, he attended Rider University and obtained his Masters in Counseling. After 15 years with Carrier, Chris moved on to a senior management position at Silver Springs – Martin Luther School, where he oversaw the administrative and clinical operations of their 72 bed residential facility. Prior to joining Bonnie Brae’s team, he served as Director of Treatment Services at St. Gabriel’s Hall, a 150 bed residential program in the Philadelphia area.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Chris became inspired to advocate for people in need while attending the College of Staten Island. Prior to becoming a college, the campus was The Willowbrook State School, a state-supported institution for youth with intellectual disabilities. Horrible abuses took place in the school, and as a young man walking throughout campus, Chris saw relics of this former institution and was haunted by the atrocities that took place there. More than 20 years later, he continues to be inspired to advocate for the needs of young people and to ensure they are treated with dignity, respect and in the least restrictive manner possible.
Chris envisions his role as helping the agency and staff continue to achieve new levels of safety, quality, growth, financial strength and positive outcomes. He also feels it’s important to empower his staff, so that they can grow, advance their careers, and make a difference for youth and families. Chris shared, “What makes me the most proud is when kids with the most intense needs—kids that everyone else has given up on—are able to turn their lives around. Seeing them achieve milestones such as graduating high school, finding jobs, going to college, raising families, sharing what they’ve learned, etc. reminds us that we are helping young people who are heading down very sad, dangerous and painful paths find hope, happiness and success.”
Bonnie Brae’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Rieger, looks forward to Chris’ help in advancing Bonnie Brae’s mission, “Chris brings a wealth of experience to Bonnie Brae. The landscape of residential care is challenging and ever-evolving. As we look to do even more for youth and families, Chris’ knowledge and business acumen will be invaluable in helping us to build and strengthen our continuum of care for the youth and families we serve.”
Chris, his wife and two sons live in eastern Pennsylvania and in his free time he enjoys hiking, cycling, music, working on cars (or anything with an engine), home improvement and spending time with his family.