Charities USA Magazine: Spring 2013

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Charities USA Magazine: Spring 2013















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Charities USA is the quarterly magazine of Catholic Charities USA. In each issue, you’ll find:
• Feature articles on the work of Catholic Charities • Poverty reduction success stories • Updates on CCUSA’s legislative and policy work • News from CCUSA and member agencies • And so much more!

Last Issue: WINTER 2013

Dignity & Justice for Immigrants
Over my lifetime, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about my last name of Liljenquist. “Where does it come from?” Or sometimes, “What nationality is it?” And always, “How do you pronounce it?” While I’ve never tried to verify this, I would guess that this line of questioning is a rather common American experience. I know that I’ve done my fair share of the asking, always intrigued at the names I’ve run across and trying to guess their origins. The sheer number and variety of names we Americans go by reflects who we are as a nation. We are an immigrant nation. Today, about 75 million Americans are foreign born. And except for people native to this continent, the rest of us can trace our ancestry back to other countries. Scattered throughout our family lines are the stories of our ancestors who first set foot on American soil. Those who came of their own free will did so because they hoped to find something in America that they didn’t have in their homeland: personal and religious freedoms, opportunity, prosperity, and, in some cases, safety. If we look back into these stories, we will find that our ancestors’ motivations are the same motivations for immigrants today, whether they are authorized to be here or not. They are looking for something better for their families and children, and in many cases that is simply the opportunity to earn a living. That’s a motivation I understand, that I empathize with. It’s a motivation that Catholic Charities understands and empathizes with. And truly, people deserve that from us—understanding and empathy, whatever their circumstances. It’s part of honoring their human dignity. And in the case of immigrants, it’s also a part of seeking justice for them. As the immigration debate rages, I hope we remember our own origins, our own ancestors, and their struggles, and give thanks for the blessings we enjoy because of them. And I hope we can see our ancestors in the immigrants of today. n


Charities USA (ISSN 0364-0760) is published by Catholic Charities USA. Address all correspondence to the Managing Editor. © 2013 Catholic Charities USA, Alexandria, Virginia. Editorial and Business Office 2050 Ballenger Avenue, Suite 400 Alexandria, VA 22314 tel: 703-549-1390 • fax: 703-549-4183 [email protected] Publisher Rev. Larry Snyder Managing Editor Ruth Liljenquist Sr. Creative Director Sheena Lefaye Crews Contributing Writers Ruth Liljenquist Patricia Cole Editorial Committee Jean Beil Candy Hill Rachel Lustig Kristan Schlichte Jane Stenson

7 8 12 Dignity and Justice for Immigrants “We Badly Need Immigration Reform” Insights into the Immigration Debate from Expert Donald Kerwin Movement on Immigration Reform 14  Welcoming the Stranger Venice’s Casa San Juan Bosco Boston’s Haitian Multi Service Center Portland’s Parish Health Promoters Program Camden’s Small Business Development Program Trenton’s El Centro 20 Creating Community Across Borders  The Ibero Transnational Service Project 22  Catholic Charities USA’s Volunteer of the Year Finalists 24  Rev. George Kloster Catholic Charities USA’s 2013 Volunteer of the Year 26  Advocating for Innovation and Reform Catholic Charities Leaders Visit Capitol Hill 30  Universal Solidarity in Christ’s Ministry A Reflection on the O’Grady Institute Experience in Israel and Palestine



5 35 36 President’s Column Disaster Response CCUSA Update Working to Reduce Poverty in America

Catholic Charities USA is the national office for one of the nation’s largest social service networks. Member agencies and institutions nationwide provide vital social services to over 10 million people in need, regardless of their religious, social, or economic backgrounds. Catholic Charities USA supports and enhances the work of its members by providing networking opportunities, national advocacy, program development, training and consulting, and financial benefits. Donate Now: 1-800-919-9338

38 NewsNotes

Ruth Liljenquist, Managing Editor
PS: It’s Swedish, and it’s pronounced “LIL-yen-kwist.”
To comment on this issue, please write to Ruth Liljenquist at [email protected]





n 1866, the Catholic Bishops of the United States made the following statement: “It is a very melancholy fact, and a very humiliating avowal for us to make, that a very large portion of the vicious and idle youth of our principal cities are the children of Catholic parents.”

In these words we glimpse the fact that Catholic immigrants to this country faced a reality that was hardly the American Dream as we have come to define it. It may surprise some to learn that for the majority of its history, the Catholic Church in the United States has been primarily an immigrant church. For most Catholic immigrants, the reality that awaited them here was poverty, the struggles of assimilation, and religious and ethnic prejudice. The bishops who made the above statement were not grumpy old men condemning Catholic immigrant youth. They were concerned men, and their concern was a call to action that was answered over the next several decades through the development of our bedrock Catholic institutions—schools, hospitals, and charities. We responded by building systems of support to help people build their lives in America and escape poverty. In time, huge groups of immigrants moved into the middle and upper classes, leaving poverty behind. The systems we built worked. Today, we are experiencing a huge wave of immigrants coming to the United States, many of whom are Catholic, but nearly all of whom need support in building a life here. Catholic Charities has developed the expertise and capacity

to help people get settled, find employment, learn English, enroll in school, and become contributing members of the community. In addition, we’ve developed a network of immigration legal services providers, who have helped thousands of immigrants become citizens, bring their family members to this country, and find safety in this country. And yet, while we have helped many immigrants find a home and build a life in this country, not all of the immigrants we have served are able to enjoy the benefits of living here because of their unauthorized status. We have particular concern for these people, many of them children, who live their lives in fear, experience heart-breaking separations from family members, and suffer exploitation and inhumane treatment. Catholic social teaching calls on us to seek justice for these newcomers. At this time, as our Congress considers changes to our nation’s immigration laws, we stand with the Holy Father and the U.S. bishops in supporting policies that will allow these people to walk out of the shadows and join fully in the life of their communities, to become truly integrated in our society, and to experience the blessings of this great nation. That is our hope and prayer. n



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“The…migrant comes before us like that ‘stranger’ in whom Jesus asks to be recognized. To welcome him and to show him solidarity is a duty of hospitality and fidelity to Christian identity itself.” —John Paul II, World Day of Migration, 1996 or undocumented—present us with an opportunity to exercise our Christian faith by serving them with dignity and seeking justice on their behalf. As a network, Catholic Charities works in solidarity with immigrants, providing supportive and empowering services and advocating for reform of our nation’s immigration policies. n Pope John Paul II’s message is a reminder that migrants—legal or illegal, authorized or unauthorized, documented




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With comprehensive immigration reform grabbing national headlines, Charities USA asked Donald Kerwin, executive director of the Center for Migration Studies of New York and former executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), to share his perspective on the issues surrounding immigration and immigrants in our country.

Charities USA: Immigration reform is a huge political issue right now, with Congress seriously considering comprehensive reform. Set the context for us. Why is this so significant? Donald Kerwin: We are in the midst of a historic wave of immigration. There are 75 million foreign born people and their children in the United States. That’s a record high level. And the success of our country in large part will depend on how successfully these newcomers integrate into our communities and into the life of our nation. It’s an enormous challenge for immigrants, receiving communities and the country overall to make it work. We’ve done it before, but right now, we are not entirely rising to the challenge. Part of the difficulty in addressing immigrant integration is our broken immigration system. The United States is open, welcoming, generous, but we badly need immigration reform. Charities USA: What reforms should new immigration legislation make? Donald Kerwin: Reform has to deal with the legal immigration system—the family and labor-based system. In the family-based immigration system, there is a backlog of more than 4 million people. These people have a family relationship that would qualify them for a visa, but because of annual caps on the number of people who can enter by country and on the number of visas available in the different family-based visa categories, millions are waiting in line for visas. A large percentage of these people—more than 2 million—are part of the unauthorized population already in the country. Reform also needs to address the situation of unauthorized immigrants. Nobody is well served by a large unauthorized population, including, of course, the unauthorized themselves and their families. An “earned” legalization program, based on strict require-

ments, needs to be part of the equation. Legal status is not sufficient, but it’s an important pre-condition for integration. Reform also needs to address humane enforcement of the law, our very punitive immigrant detention system, and due process issues. Reform does not mean we sacrifice national security. To the contrary, we need to control our borders and ports of entry. The ports of entry in particular are increasingly vulnerable to illegal drug smuggling and human trafficking, as well as to the flow of guns and drug revenues south. We need to screen people coming in to the country, and we need to be able to remove people who have committed serious crimes. Charities USA: Why wasn’t all this solved with the immigration legislation in 1986? Donald Kerwin: First, there were many unauthorized immigrants who were not legalized under the 1986 legislation. They made up the core of people that led to the subsequent growth of the unauthorized population. Second, the law didn’t change the legal immigration system. Our laws don’t and didn’t have any give when labor and family needs changed. Our laws have been particularly wanting when it comes to lower-wage workers. Third, the 1986 law did not provide legal status derivatively to the family members of those who were legalized, which paved the way for the massive backlogs in family-based immigration cases that we see today. Fourth, the law made it illegal to hire undocumented workers. The idea was that employers who knowingly hired the unauthorized would be hit with sanctions, which would remove the magnet drawing workers to the United States. However, these laws were not well-enforced and were easily skirted. As a result of these factors, in the 1990s and the early to mid2000s, we had hundreds of thousands of people entering illegally



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We now have a foreign-born population that, including their children, represents nearly 25 percent of our total population. They bring significant talents. They are hard working and religious, they have strong family values, and they want to belong and contribute. I see these folks as emblematic of the United States and capable of renewing our most basic American ideals.

each year and overwhelmingly finding jobs. They had to risk their lives to come to do necessary work. So, overall, there has been a large disconnect between immigration policy on one hand and the nation’s economic and labor needs on the other. Charities USA: Unauthorized immigrants are the focus of a lot of attention in this debate. Who are they? Donald Kerwin: We have roughly 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, and there is a perception that they are an undifferentiated mass of lawbreakers. That’s simply not the case. First of all, two million of them were brought here as children. There is no culpability there. You can’t blame them. Second, a similar number are waiting for their visas to become available. Third, over a million have been here for more than 20 years and about six million for more than 10 years. They have raised families: 4.5 million U.S. citizen children have an unauthorized parent. As you can see, they have established roots and built strong ties here, and it’s not reasonable to believe that they will or can return to their nations of origin. Furthermore, they are the strangest class of lawbreakers you’d ever meet—overwhelmingly productive, hardworking, religious, and family-oriented people. Unauthorized immigrants are living under difficult circumstances. There is the omnipresent risk of deportation, and they live with this fear when they take their kids to school or go to public places. The 1996 immigration law expanded the role of local police in enforcing immigration laws, which has done little but drive more people underground and away from the police, undermining public safety. Further, unauthorized immigrants are victimized in the workplace. Their employers insist that they work for less and threaten to report them to immigration officials if they assert their rights. They are treated poorly and lose wages, especially day laborers, but they have little recourse and cannot vote.

In recent years, immigrant communities have experienced record deportations, which are extraordinarily destructive to children, families, and communities. U.S. citizen children with unauthorized immigrant parents are seeing their families torn apart, when one or both parents are deported, and it is bringing personal hardship and impoverishment on the children. The trauma these children experience is wrenching to say the least, and it affects them socially and emotionally. In thousands of cases, the legal ties parents have to their children have been severed. This is not a good way to proceed. Obviously, there is a need to enforce the law, but after a while you have to recognize that enforcement unacceptably impinges on other values. Charities USA: Last year, President Obama introduced a new policy, “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” What’s the significance of this policy? Donald Kerwin: This was an important development. This status removes the threat of deportation for young people who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents. Many of those who entered as children are young adults now and have grown up in the United States. Deferred action also allows them to continue their studies, work, and otherwise contribute to our nation. Charities USA: Why is there so much resistance to reform? Donald Kerwin: Some people have genuine rule of law concerns. What links us as a country more than anything is a commitment to a set of civic ideas—a common creed. And for some people, the fact that a person breaks the law as his or her first foray into our nation means that they are not committed to our ideals. My response is that the rule of law does matter, but it doesn’t require a deportation-only approach or preclude common-sense reform. Adherence to the law is a value, but in these circumstances, there are other values in play as well. Further, the law simply is not working.

I also believe some people are afraid of change, and they don’t see how they might fit into a demographically changing nation. For example, two-thirds of the unauthorized population lives in seven states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Georgia. But the growth in the unauthorized population over the last 20 years has taken place largely in the southeastern states: Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Arkansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Georgia. These states have seen a combined 14-fold increase in the unauthorized population over two decades. Perhaps not coincidentally, the greatest hostility toward unauthorized immigrants is in the Southeast, where there has been this rapid rate of growth. Not in New York, not in Los Angeles, not in Northern Virginia where I live, areas which all have far larger numbers and percentages of unauthorized residents. There is also a well-organized, anti-reform movement. They talk in sinister terms about impoverished pregnant women crossing the border and having their babies in the United States. This does happen, but most of these mothers are doing what mothers are supposed to do, trying to provide their children with better lives. The anti-reform movement also claims that unauthorized immigrants are receiving all kinds of public benefits. In fact, unauthorized immigrants get very few benefits. They get emergency care in hospitals and public schooling for their children through high school. And thank goodness—for the sake of all of us—that they do. Underlying a lot of these arguments, I would say, is a lack of empathy. Charities USA: How is the Church doing in integrating immigrants? Donald Kerwin: Integration is an enormous task, and right now, the church is doing remarkable amounts of work with immigrants, but mostly not in a unified or well-coordinated way. Catholic Charities

USA, Catholic Health Association, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, CLINIC, our parishes, schools, colleges and universities are all involved in this work of integration, but we could significantly strengthen collaboration and increase our collective impact. There are always resource issues, but there are tremendous gifts and resources in immigrant communities, waiting to be drawn upon. We as a church need to make integration a sustained priority so that we can move beyond the divisive policy debate on immigration and into a mode of working together to further the common good. As a church, we’ve done it before. In 1920, 75 percent of Catholics were foreign-born. We were a church of immigrants, and all of our core Catholic institutions were created to serve and integrate immigrants. People forget this history. They also forget their Biblical tradition. They forget the Exodus and Exile, the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, Christ’s itinerant ministry, or how the faith has been spread from the church’s earliest days. We need to ask ourselves: Are we living up to our heritage and core beliefs? Are we doing for immigrants what the Gospel calls us to do? Are we open to their gifts, leadership, and needs in our schools, universities, hospitals, parishes? We now have a foreign-born population that, including their children, represents nearly 25 percent of our total population. They bring significant talents. They are hard working and religious, they have strong family values, and they want to belong and contribute. I see these folks as emblematic of the United States and capable of renewing our most basic American ideals. I also see them as a source of significant strength and evangelization in our church. They can remind us of who we are as a community of faith. And, of course, I need to be careful with my language because “they” are “us.” We’re all the children of God, none of us are illegal, and we’ve all benefitted from the greatest of amnesties. n



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• R  eforms the legal immigration system, reducing backlogs and the number of people waiting for visas. • P  rovides a greater number of visas for non-skilled laborers. • S  trengthens security at our borders and ports of entry. Jeanne Atkinson, the new executive director of CLINIC and former director of immigration services for Catholic Charities in Washington, DC, is pleased that the bill acknowledges the importance of families. “There is no reason why a husband should wait five years for his wife to join him, no reason why parents need to explain to their 5-year-old child why Mom or Dad might disappear. We have so many families that are separated, so many mixed families with both legal and undocumented members. We need to keep families together, and this bill—while not perfect—would do this,” said Atkinson.

Become an Advocate
“We are pleased to see a bill that addresses the principles we support,” said Lucreda Cobbs, CCUSA’s senior director for policy and legislative affairs. “We know the bill will be amended, that there will be compromise, but we are cautiously hopeful that these principles will be preserved in any final legislation.” Cobbs added, “This debate will really be won through grassroots support. There is well-organized opposition to this bill, so people need to let their member of Congress know of their support.”
To get involved in supporting immigration reform, sign up for CCUSA’s Washington Weekly newsletter and Action Alerts at Also visit www.

ly believe that any proposal considered must—at its core—build up our communities and support our families by including a path to citizenship, allowing families to remain intact, providing worker protections, and addressing the plight of undocumented children. We look forward to analyzing this proposal in detail and working closely with Members on both sides of the aisle to bring to fruition a bipartisan path forward for the millions in our country waiting for action. The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) has prepared a detailed summary of the legislation, available at

In April, a bi-partisan group of eight Senators introduced a comprehensive bill that would overhaul our nation’s immigration system and provide a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. In addition to increasing the number of new permanent residents, the proposal would allow spouses and children of green card-holders to more quickly unite with family members in the United States, enhance high-skilled temporary-worker programs, create new visas for lower-skilled temporary workers and agricultural workers, and authorize $4.5 billion for border security. Known as the “Gang of 8,” the group responsible for the bill includes Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Flake (RAZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Charles Schumer (D-NY). Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA made the following statement in response to the bill: Our history as a faith community in the United States has been as an immigrant Church to an immigrant nation. As such, we strong-

Preparing for Immigration Reform
As the head of a network of over 200 nonprofit Catholic legal immigration services providers, Atkinson has the following advice for Catholic Charities immigration programs. • G  et started immediately to prevent misinformation and fraud. Immigrants will want to know what is happening and there will be people posing as lawyers or experts who will take their money and promise legal status or some other benefit. Let your community know that nothing can be done right now and give them information on legitimate immigration services and information sources in your community. • E  ducate the immigrant community as much as possible about likely requirements in any new legislation—i.e., documentation showing how long they have lived in the country, birth and mar-

riage certificates, etc. Make immigrants aware of things that may make them ineligible for legal status, such as a criminal activity. • T  hink about your agency’s capacity to handle a high volume of cases. Once new legislation is implemented, agencies will be inundated with people seeking assistance. Recruit volunteers now so that they can complete accreditation by the time legislation is implemented. • B  uild relationships in your community to plan how to handle large numbers of people seeking immigration services. Look for funding sources in the community to help cover staff costs and immigration fees. For more information on preparing for immigration reform, access CLINIC’s “Preparing for Immigration Reform” manual at n

Major Provisions of the Bill
The bill introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee contains the following major provisions: •  Offers provisional legal status to the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population, which will allow them to be here and work legally. •  Makes available a later path to citizenship for those provisional status immigrants meeting certain requirements.



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Casa San Juan Bosco
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc.

Welcoming the Stranger
Immigrants face numerous challenges when they arrive in the United States, whether they are authorized or unauthorized: learning to communicate, adapting to the culture, finding work and affordable housing, navigating the school, health, and legal systems, and others. Catholic Charities agencies welcome these newcomers, offering support in a number of ways. In addition to legal immigration services, agencies provide housing, English language classes, health services, business and job development, community building activities, and a number of other services that help immigrants feel welcome and thrive in their new country. The following articles highlight just a few.

In January of this year, after eight years in the works, Casa San Juan Bosco farm worker community opened in Arcadia, FL, welcoming a host of eager families to their new homes. Named after St. John Bosco, who is known for his legacy of service to the underprivileged, this family friendly neighborhood is now creating a sense of stability and community for its tenants, who are primarily immigrants. Casa San Juan Bosco, a project of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., is an answer to the lack of affordable housing in DeSoto County, FL. Eight years ago, Hurricane Charley destroyed a large portion of low-income housing in the area, which particularly impacted farm workers. Catholic Charities in Venice set forth then to develop decent housing for farm workers and their families. “There was a need for quality, affordable housing prior to Hurricane Charley, but out of its devastation, this project was born,” said Peter Routsis-Arroyo, CEO of Catholic Charities in Venice. “This is not just a housing complex, but a community where people can live with dignity.”

Built on 29 green acres, Casa San Juan Bosco features 53 three- and four-bedroom homes, along with a community center, playground, computer lab, bus shelter, and soccer fields. The modest but well-built homes feature porches and surrounding open spaces designed to foster interaction between neighbors. The new homes are a far cry from the dwellings that many of the families were living in—dilapidated and overcrowded trailers, shacks or camp structures, sometimes with dirt floors, and crumbling buildings with bug infestations, hazardous chemicals, and unclean water. Even living in these conditions, families had little stability because this kind of housing is never longterm, which is difficult on children who have to switch schools often. Casa San Juan Bosco provides the longterm housing solutions that farm worker families need and desire. Many farm jobs in DeSoto County are now year-round jobs, and families want to lay down roots. Even if a job is migratory, many families choose Florida as their permanent home, while the father in the family goes north to work during the summer.

“Agribusiness is the largest industry in our state, other than tourism, and this housing project will allow hard-working farm worker families to remain together and live in safe, clean, and affordable housing,” RoutsisArroyo said. The new community center is the hub of Casa San Juan Bosco, with a place to gather as well as services to help families thrive and become self-sufficient, including after school tutoring, English classes, health screenings, immigration services, financial management classes, employment assistance, and a computer lab/library, which will be beneficial to both children and adults. The residents are planning to start a community garden as well as a soccer league for the children. “All of these efforts were done to foster a sense of community for the residents, something many new immigrants crave and have difficulty finding when they come to the United States,” said Routsis-Arroyo. “At Casa San Juan Bosco, they will become a support system for each other.” n



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Haitian Multi Service Center
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston
By Suzanne Ouellette

The Parish Health Promoters Program
Catholic Charities of Oregon
citizenship, and native language literacy classes. The Center continues to serve as an essential resource for Boston’s Haitian community affected by the earthquake that devastated the island in 2010. Apollon is fond of all of the programs. He loves to visit the elders and see how they are progressing. Most come to America for freedom and opportunity. Yet, many miss their social network, their identity, and the warm weather that they had in Haiti. They feel marginalized as most immigrants do in a new land. On a more hopeful note, Apollon recalls, “You should have seen it when 13 of the elders became citizens. They were on top of the world.” n
Suzanne Ouellette is creative services manager for Catholic Charities in Boston.
Photo by Suzanne Ouellette

When 70-year-old Philomena moved to Boston from Haiti six months ago, she was scared. While fearful of an unfamiliar land, Philomena was frightened most of all because she was unable to sign her name. But that didn’t last long. At the Haitian Multi Service Center, a division of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston, she met fellow elders who welcomed her with open arms. Center director Guy Apollon took an immediate liking to Philomena, who reminded him of his own mother. “She couldn’t sign her name so we taught her to make an ‘x’ where her signature would be,” recalled Apollon. But that wasn’t good enough for the elder woman. After decades of being illiterate, Philomena wanted to write her name. A peer educator at the Center began teaching her, and less than three months later, when Apollon visited the center, she was proud to show her progress.

“Look,” she said, and began to write. “This is how you spell my name!” Elders like Philomena often come to America to be reunited with their children and grandchildren. They face numerous obstacles, including pronounced poverty and linguistic, cultural, economic, or physical barriers that directly affect their access to resources and their ability to adjust to a vastly different culture. The first place many Haitians visit when they arrive in Boston is the Haitian Multi Service Center. For many, the center is their second family, their second home. The Haitian Multi Service Center’s goal is to provide Haitian immigrants a place to find social service resources and referrals. In addition to Elder Services, the center provides early child education and care for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years; basics needs assistance, including food, rent, heat and utility assistance; prenatal, perinatal and neonatal outreach program; and ESOL,

One of the challenges facing immigrants in the United States is accessing affordable health care. Many cannot afford health insurance, and others cannot find providers who will help because of language barriers or lack of information about general health and the medical system. In Portland, however, Catholic Charities of Oregon’s Parish Health Promoters program is helping Latinos get the care and information they need. The Parish Health Promoters program is a partnership between Catholic Charities and Providence Health & Services, a Catholic health care network in Oregon. It strives to bring health education and information to those who need it in a way that is empowering and culturally appropriate. The promotores (the Spanish title of volunteer health promoters), volunteer health promoters, disseminate information and liaise between the parish, the community, and the health care delivery system. They build upon the strengths of the parish community to establish trust and confidence which allows often disenfranchised individuals to receive health care.

Promotores are recruited from predominantly Hispanic Catholic parishes in the Portland area and complete an intensive 15-week training on illness, health, and local health care services. After graduation, they are integrated into parish teams, where they become the main contacts on health care issues for the parish staff and the community they serve. They organize classes, arrange health screenings, sponsor health fairs, and bring about other opportunities for members of the community to improve their health and wellbeing. Ongoing activities include chronic disease management classes, nutrition classes, mobile dental and health screenings, blood drives, and visits to local farms to serve farm workers. Gladys, a participant in the Tomando Control de tu Salud (Spanish for Taking Control of your Health) class, has learned a lot about weight management. “In three weeks, I have lost nine pounds, three pounds per week. I am very happy,” she said. “My goal is to lose more weight and to pursue this goal, practicing everything I have learned.”

The promotores also provide referrals to people seeking health care, drawing on a network of providers who are willing to reduce costs and offer payment plans. A man named Alberto was able to get a heart procedure done at a reduced cost, which enabled him to return to work to support his family. Ana, a young woman suffering a terrible toothache and swollen face, found a dentist to treat the problem and accept payments over time. And Luz, who worried that she wouldn’t have the prenatal care she needed, found care and support in a prenatal support and care program at one of Providence Health’s clinics. The alliances built between promotores and local healthcare providers have helped to improve access to health care for those served and to increase the cultural competency of healthcare workers, a blessing to Portland’s Latinos. n



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Small Business Development Program
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden
“We serve a lot of immigrants,” said Andy Zmuda, head of Catholic Charities of Camden’s Small Business Development Program. “Word spreads quickly in ethnic communities about what we do.” For seven years, this innovative program has been helping small businesses get off the ground, many of them immigrant-owned. Immigrants have skills, talents, and energy to contribute to a business, but lack the know-how and resources to start one. That’s where the program comes in. “We work with clients one on one. The curriculum is their business plan,” said Zmuda. “First, we work on validating their business idea. Will it work? What is the reality of the job market? Is the market saturated with this kind of business? We answer those questions and then let the client decide whether to move forward.” Moving forward can be a daunting process, which is why the program gives such personalized attention to each client. “We go deep with them. We become coach, therapist, and mentor. We ask them to do hard things,” said Zmuda. “You have to have a relationship of trust to do that, and that relationship doesn’t come in a classroom.” Once a viable business plan is developed, the program helps the client access a microloan fund so they can cover start-up costs. If necessary, the program works with the client to repair their credit. Over the years, the program has helped many immigrants start a variety of successful businesses—lawn care, security, drain cleaning, auto repair, dog grooming, janitorial work, and other businesses. Yamin, an immigrant from Burma, lived in the United States and worked in food service for several years. He learned a lot through his work, and with a head for business, he consulted with Zmuda about his plan to open a sushi franchise. Through the agency’s IDA program, Yamin was able to save the money he needed to buy a franchise and attend the company’s franchise training, and after that, with the program’s help, he was able to secure a $15,000 loan to get the business going. It took hard work, but Yamin succeeded and today he owns two sushi franchises and is supporting his family well. Zmuda has seen how owning a business can help immigrants get a foothold in life and build financial stability for their families. “Success is measured in many ways. It really depends on what people want to get out of it,” he said. “But one of our main goals is to help families get off public assistance. Selfsufficiency is exponentially liberating. It’s a better way of living life.” n

El Centro
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton

In 1999, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton established El Centro, a community center for the city’s large Latino population. The idea was to create a “one-stop shop,” a place that could provide multiple resources to help highly vulnerable Latino families. Over the years, El Centro has grown into that vision, enabling a holistic model of support that truly helps people. “You always have to deal with families on a holistic level,” said Roberto Hernandez, director of El Centro. “When people are vulnerable, it’s critical to touch on all aspects of what is happening.” One of El Centro’s priorities is strengthening marriage and family relationships. Immigrant families face a host of pressures as they establish themselves in a new country, and family relationships can become strained. The center’s “Within My Reach” course, funded by an HHS Healthy Marriages grant, helps couples strengthen their relationships. They learn about communicating effectively, respecting each other, understanding their

differences, resolving conflicts and problems, and so much more. “We want to strengthen the relationship so that both individuals are on the same path, communicating, honoring, and respecting each other, which is so good for them and their kids,” said Hernandez. “The kids see good relationships. They see what marriage is all about.” The center also provides services that help reduce pressures on families. One of the biggest pressures has to do with finances, so the center offers a financial literacy course as well as job search preparation. In addition to financial pressures, immigrants experience changes in their traditional family dynamics. For example, immigrant children often assimilate more quickly than their parents, learning English through school, interacting easily with those outside their family and ethnic community, and mastering use of technology and social media. Parents, who are primarily focused on providing for their families, lag behind, which puts them

at a disadvantage in helping their children navigate their new world. As a result, their authority is diminished, and their children venture elsewhere—peers, gangs, popular culture—for advice and information. This can lead to trouble for the kids and conflict in the home. “If we can elevate the position of the parents in the home, the kids are more likely to stay at home,” said Hernandez. “We encourage them to educate themselves and become as resourceful as possible. To this end, El Centro offers ESL classes, technology training, parenting education, and counseling. Children are even included in the financial literacy class to understand what life costs and gain appreciation for their parents’ hard work and sacrifice. El Centro is all about giving people the right tools. “We give people the tools to be better spouses, parents, neighbors, and members of the community.” n



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Community Across Borders
The Ibero Transnational Service Project


The students’ contributions include the following: • Nutrition students conduct cooking classes, introducing new and healthy uses for food to low-income Mexican families. They also provide bilingual nutrition education to children and their parents at our WIC food centers, early childhood, and other communitybased sites. • Psychology students have developed youth programs celebrating culture and incorporating self-expression through art, emotional support groups for adults utilizing clowning, and other group activities to help immigrant Mexican families with their adjustment to life in a new country. • Communications students provide translation support and assist with bilingual media activities. They also design promotional material and program forms that are culturally sensitive and accurate for the Mexican immigrant community. • International relations students develop research strategies focused on the needs of the Mexican community and ways to provide culturally-responsive support. • Business students work with Mexican families and community organizations to address migrants’ economic reality and how to navigate the financial system.

• Education students develop curriculums for afterschool programs that include children of Mexican immigrants. Beyond the benefit the program provides to the communities, the ITSP also greatly impacts the lives of those participating. Jessica Adams, a psychology student and ITSP participant from 2011, said that the program helped her understand the real stories of those who have crossed borders in the pursuit of a better life. “The program allowed each of us to grasp a better understanding of the Latin/Mexican/immigrant situation,” Adams said. “It breaks erroneous preconceptions of these subjects. It allows you to expand knowledge of the immigrant population in the United States.” In many ways, the ITSP helps Catholic Charities “welcome the stranger” and fulfill a key aspect of its mission of compassion. n For more information about ITSP, please contact Dalia Rocotello at [email protected]


elping those in need requires partnerships from the most unlikely places—including from across the border in Mexico. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago has engaged with a cross-border service project that relies on the skills energy, and compassion of Mexican college students studying in America to address the needs of Mexican families living in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

The Ibero Transnational Service Project (ITSP) is a partnership between Catholic Charities in Chicago, Loyola University of Chicago, and Iberoamericana University in Mexico City, Mexico. In 2007, the two universities entered into a research partnership to more closely research migration with a special focus on Mexico. Students at each university are able to study at the partner institution to enhance their understanding of the impact of migration by completing service and research in both Mexico and the United States. Catholic Charities has built a partnership with the ITSP, enabling the agency to build capacity and enhance services for its growing Mexican population, and providing service and practicum opportunities to students from Mexico studying abroad in America.

“The students in the ITSP help our clients feel more connected to their homeland. Children, especially in our afterschool programs, have positive role models in the university students [serving] as tutors, and parents are grateful for the Mexican culture that the Ibero students share,” said Dalia Rocotello, director of Latino Affairs for Catholic Charities. “The program is truly transformative for our Ibero students as well. They become sensitized to a different reality and leave wanting to do more in their home country.” Over 90 students have participated in ITSP since 2007, each volunteering 480 hours per semester. Students are assigned to programs within Catholic Charities and are directed to apply their expertise to the services provided by the agency. Some students have returned to the U.S. to work on graduate degrees, or in the case of Estefania Arreguin, to work at Catholic Charities as an employee, managing ITSP. “I believed that I knew it all about migration and poverty, but it wasn’t until I volunteered at Catholic Charities that I faced real migrants, hunger, and isolation,” Arreguin said. “I became conscious of the importance of culturally-sensitive services. Now, as manager of this project, I have the great opportunity to strengthen services not only for my co-nationals but for all those in need.”



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Edith Carreon Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Santa Fe Edith Carreon has been a volunteer tutor for the past nine years, teaching computer literacy, Spanish literacy, and GED subjects to those who want to improve their lives by reaching their educational goals. She has a special connection with her students, which gives them the confidence to thrive in their studies. As an ESL learner and a GED recipient herself, she understands the difficulties adults face when learning a second language or writing an essay. She is especially responsive to those who lack basic skills or have other responsibilities, such as work, family, etc. Currently, she is tutoring Pre-GED in Spanish to adults who have just a few years of formal education. Edith’s desire to empower individuals through education so they can improve their lives has become her motivation.

Donna Springer Catholic Charities of Fort Worth Throughout her 13 years on the board of Catholic Charities of Fort Worth (CCFW), Donna has proven to be an amazing volunteer with contagious dedication and passion. Since her retirement as partner in a local electrical contracting firm, Springer has worked almost full-time as a volunteer for Catholic Charities. She chaired the search for a new CEO for the agency in 2005, served as project manager for the new $16 million CCFW main campus that opened in 2010, and in 2012 managed construction of the agency’s dental clinic. Springer currently volunteers with CCFW’s most recent business venture, Urban Manor, which promotes self-sufficiency among clients by providing affordable housing and onsite services. Springer’s expertise and dedication has saved CCFW hundreds of thousands of dollars in contract fees, money that has been directed into serving the community. CCFW couldn’t ask for a better friend than Donna Springer.

Catholic Charities USA’s 2013
of the Y ear F inalists
Congratulations from Catholic Charities USA to our 2013 Volunteer of the Year Finalists! Volunteers nationwide make an invaluable contribution to the Catholic Charities movement. Collectively, local Catholic Charities agencies rely on more than 300,000 volunteers, whose tireless energy and efforts to assist the least among us represent the very best of the human spirit.

Carol Gastelum Catholic Charities Community Services, Phoenix Described as a “volunteer extraordinaire,” Carol Gastelum has volunteered for several years, working with more than 3,000 volunteers and 500 staff members in more than 30 programs. She volunteers in both the Volunteer Services Department and the Parish and Community Engagement Department as an administrative assistant, doing a wide variety of tasks with special care, such as finding just the right position for a volunteer, preparing and making training presentations, and completing all the little tasks necessary to run these departments. This last year, she volunteered 40 to 60 hours a week to complete a data system transfer. Carol loves her position because she can help every program, every department, and every parish with their volunteer efforts. Her indomitable spirit lifts all who work with her and she truly goes above and beyond to serve.

Bill Tingerthal Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis For over ten years, Bill Tingerthal has volunteered with Catholic Charities’ Office for Social Justice, advocating for increased shelter and affordable housing for people living in poverty. He has cultivated a deep and broad knowledge of affordable housing that he puts to use with lawmakers and within his community. He faithfully attends town hall meetings, makes numerous phone calls, sends letters and emails, and provides frequent feedback with the Social Justice office and others. Most recently, Bill became a legislative ambassador with Homes for All, a coalition representing 50 organizations on the housing continuum, including Catholic Charities. In this role, Bill communicates regularly with state legislators to advocate for funding for affordable housing and supportive services. Bill’s advocacy efforts show his dedication to upholding the dignity of all people by ensuring their access to decent housing.

Lisa Obringer Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Augustine Lisa Obringer has had a joyful and meaningful impact since she became a volunteer over 15 years ago. She started out as a food pantry volunteer, but soon became food pantry coordinator, a role she has continued to fulfill even as she has served on the board and chaired fundraising events. As food pantry coordinator, she takes inventory, coordinates food purchases, schedules volunteers to assist with the pickup and delivery of food items, and readies bags of food for distribution to families in need. On an annual basis, Lisa coordinates an extensive food drive to replenish the pantry in partnership with local Catholic schools. Lisa considers her time with Catholic Charities a priority and always finds time to help. She has been an outstanding example of Christian compassion and love of neighbor.

Donna Uselding Catholic Charities of Fort Worth When Donna Uselding began volunteering with CCFW’s Refugee Services clients, she discovered that once refugees had been in the country for about eight months, Catholic Charities no longer had the funding or staff to help them. So she got to work, and six years later, she is still working. Donna provides a number of services to refugee families: basic English instruction, practice in life skills, transportation, school registration, assistance with applying for Medicaid, setting up doctor appointments, and completing tax returns. She teaches police about the refugees’ background and the unique needs of the refugee community. She also serves as an intermediary between medical staff and refugee clients seeking healthcare. Her work addresses the practical needs of everyday life but also the building of relationships necessary for refugees to truly feel at home. She feels blessed to help and advocate for refugees. n



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Congratulations to Rev. George Kloster, the 2013 Catholic Charities USA Volunteer of the Year!

“Fundraising has always been a major part of it,” said Fr. George, who enjoys the opportunity to introduce people to OEO. “That’s just the nature of nonprofit work.” Fr. George, with his jovial and fun-loving personality, has helped OEO raise over a quarter million dollars over the years by overseeing a number of events, notably the Fall Gala, which he emcees, and his Chef George annual dinner, with a different international flavor each year, and hence a different name for the chef: Chef Giorgio, Chef Georg, Chef Jorge, and so on. Fr. George has also raised a lot of friends for OEO by engaging the community, especially his two parishes, where he has encouraged parishioners to respond to the Gospel call to serve those in need. The parishes have answered, getting involved in every activity, serving as mentors for vulnerable families, holding fundraisers, and helping behind the scenes. For Claudie Burchfield, OEO’s director, Fr. George is an exemplary witness to the transformational changes that occur when parish social ministry is lived out fully and faithfully. She attributes the parishes’ involvement to Fr. George’s leadership. “He doesn’t ask them to do anything he doesn’t do. They know he’s working, and they are inspired by that,” said Claudie. “He goes above and beyond in every way.” As for Fr. George, volunteering and leading others to do so is part of his ministry, what he feels he should be doing. And after fifteen years, he’s happy to see how OEO has succeeded. “The best thing is that there is still a vitality to the program. We’re still going strong.” And that’s largely true because of Fr. George. n
Fr. George Kloster; opposite page, Fr. George with Claudie Burchfield, OEO’s director (center left) and volunteers at OEO’s “Chef Giorgios” Greek dinner fundraiser.

Catholic Charities USA’s 2013

Fr. George, as he is known in his community, serves on the advisory board for the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) of Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Charlotte. He has volunteered with this office since 1998, helping lead the program’s successful outreach to vulnerable families and individuals in the economically-distressed area of far west North Carolina. Fr. George was there when OEO first got off the ground, just after he became pastor of St. William Church in Murphy, NC, and Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Hayesville, NC. Working with the Diocese of Charlotte to do something substantive about poverty in the region, he hosted community meetings, in an area that is less than 1 percent Catholic, to ensure that the new program would authentically respond to both the assets and needs of the community. From then on, he has stayed closely involved with this program, doing whatever he can to support the program’s small staff of two. “My job is to be as supportive as I can, however that works out,” said Fr. George. And it’s worked out in a lot of ways. In addition to serving as an advisor to this program, he has served as a mentor for vulnerable families as a faith team member in OEO’s Far West Families First (FWFF) program. He has built ecumenical relationships throughout the region in support of the program. He helped OEO write a position paper on the special needs of kinship care families that was presented to area politicians. He worked with Catholic Charities USA on disaster response after a 2012 tornado hit Murphy. And from the very start, he has worked as OEO’s “#1 Fundraiser and Friendraiser.”

of the Y ear

Rev. George Kloster
“He doesn’t ask them to do anything he doesn’t do. They know he’s working, and they are inspired by that­ . He goes above and beyond in every way.”



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Catholic Charities Leaders Visit Capitol Hill to Build Support for New Approaches to Poverty Reduction
On April 17, leaders from local Catholic Charities agencies went to Capitol Hill to meet with their legislators and call on them to support innovative and effective reform of the social safety net. With continued focus on the budget debate in Washington, the annual Hill Day visit provided executive leadership of Catholic Charities agencies the opportunity to illustrate the impact of federal budget cuts to those in their local communities who are suffering the most and seek out the services of their agency. In addition, agencies encouraged their elected officials to support new and innovative approaches to reducing poverty in America. “Local communities are not shielded from the across the board federal budget cuts known as the sequester. This is particularly true of those who are struggling to climb a ladder out of poverty and into opportunity,” said Candy Hill, executive vice president, social policy external affairs at Catholic Charities USA. “By coming to our nation’s capital and having in-person meetings with their representatives and senators, our agencies’ leaders are ensuring that the real-life stories of the hungry, homeless, and all those in need are a part of these ongoing discussions.” Numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate there are more than 46 million Americans living under the federal poverty line, highlighting the need for a new approach to the social safety net system that has not been substantively reformed since its introduction in the 1960s. Catholic Charities USA and its members encouraged their elected representatives to support the much-needed reforms that are being pioneered by local communities across America. n



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10 9 8 7 6 SAN FRANCISCO 5 4 3 2 1
10. Union Square: San Francisco’s version of 5th Avenue. High end designer wear, small boutiques, sidewalk cafes, art and only three blocks from the San Francisco Hilton that will host the 2013 Annual Gathering. 9. Cable Cars: On August 2, 1873, Andrew Hallidie tested the first cable car system near the top of Nob Hill at Clay and Jones Streets. For the last 138 years the cable car has been the best way to see this beautiful city! 8. Chinatown: Come and visit the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest Chinatown in America. Enjoy a lunch of Dim Sum and peruse old shops filled with jade dragons, Chinese herbs, and paper lanterns. 7. Alamo Square: Yes, this is what tourists affectionately call the “Full House Houses.” This park boasts sweeping views of the city’s skyline and some of the most unique Victorian architecture in the city. 6. North Beach: Enjoy blocks and blocks of delicious Italian cuisine, sidewalk cafes, lovely parks and the gorgeous Saints Peter and Paul church where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio took their famous wedding photos. 5. Haight-Ashbury: Take a groovy trip back in time to the 1960s. Visit the famous homes of Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead. 4.Golden Gate Park: This park has over 1,000 acres of beautiful flowers and trees, two Dutch style windmills, bison, lakes and miles of hiking, biking and horse trails. It also houses two world renowned museums: The DeYoung Art Musuem and the Academy of Sciences! 3. Pacific Coastline: Come explore Pier 39, take a ferry to Alcatraz, enjoy an ocean front dinner at the famous Cliff House. America’s Cup will also be sailing through San Francisco during our Annual Gathering. 2. Culinary delights: With nearly 3,500 restaurants to choose from you should not find yourself at a loss for places to eat! Enjoy Thai, Burmese, new American, vegetarian, slow food, food trucks, Mexican, Italian, Chinese…. Are you hungry yet? 1. The Golden Gate Bridge: This golden beauty still looks pretty amazing at 75! It serves as a symbol for our 2013 annual gathering that will inspire us to all focus on “Building Bridges to Opportunity!” n





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A Reflection on the O’Grady Institute Experience in Israel and Palestine
By Kathleen Walsh
The O’Grady Institute is an opportunity designed and supported by Catholic Charities USA for diocesan directors to engage in advanced study and reflection on Scripture, history, and theology in order to deepen commitment and strengthen management skills. The inaugural O’Grady Institute in Israel and Palestine in January 2013 provided that and so much more for those who participated, including Kathleen Walsh, who just retired after 25 years as executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh. She wrote the following reflection about her experience.

Universal Solidarity in Christ’s Ministry

Israel and Palestine, January 2013
Our group of fifteen is creative, companionable, reflective; our energy is high and our trust deep, and we are ready to embrace this O’Grady grace, to walk in the land of Bible stories, seek the actual terrain, learn the history and geography in order to understand and reverence the already well-known Scriptures—these foundational stones to our faith. And yet, as we make this walk, we encounter Israeli and Palestinian people in the holy land of today, people who walk these same paths in vastly different his-

torical, cultural, and even geographic circumstances than in biblical days—these living stones who offer us their hospitality and their trust. Every day, we walked in the paths of Jesus in his times—the Temple as the center of life, the path from the Cenacle of the Last Supper to Gethsemane, the synagogue in Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee. As pilgrims, we reverence Christ at the Holy Sepulchre, the execution site, the village of Nazareth, and the Mount of the Beatitudes, with Gospel readings and silent reflection and the profound experience of the Eucharist each day at a holy site. We learn from the depth of knowledge and spirituality of Fr. Don Senior, CP , who

opens to us the revelation of God to God’s people as profoundly personal and profoundly communal, as is our God today and always.

We meet with both Israelis and Palestinians and glimpse the spirit and challenge, the struggle and hope of those for whom the holy land is home today— the Muslims, Jews, and Christians who share this conflicted and chaotic territory with all its distant and recent history.

We hear from Israeli and Palestinian representatives of Bereaved Families for Peace, who share their stories of loss and hope. We are inspired by an Israeli attorney who works with an organization called Terrestrial Jerusalem toward a two-state solution. “I am entitled to a safe home on the land of my home country,” he tells us. “And so are the Palestinians.” We meet with Caritas Jerusalem and learn that the average income in the West Bank is $800 a month and that Caritas responds through the Food for Work program, the payment of “social security” fees and school tuition, and through community development. In Ramallah, we meet the elders at the Caritas


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Day Center, who welcome us with joy and dancing and Arab coffee; later they tell us tearfully of their old villages and homes in Israel, which they can no longer visit. We visit an Israeli settlement and a Palestinian neighborhood near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, very conscious of the dozens of IDF troops present there to guard the site, to secure the settlement, and to keep local Palestinian families in their own neighborhood. We are the only “outsiders” touring that day and are taken up the street to the “secure settlement,” where we notice the defensive buildings, the watch tower, and two young Palestinians being interrogated up against the wall

and later shoved into an IDF car and whisked away. One Muslim family is stopped when they ask to cut through the settlement to get to their home on the next street. It is the business of the children to sell postcards and jewelry, and there has been little business for them that day. On our way to Bethlehem, we fall silent, struck by, as Fr. Don expressed it, the “sober and sad experience” of crossing the checkpoint to enter Bethlehem, the place of “peace on earth, good will to all.” Meeting the students of Bethlehem University heartens us though; these are vibrant, knowledgeable, serviceoriented young people, eager to teach us and learn from us.

We are challenged by the Gospel of Jesus at every turn and by our own lives of great worldly riches. We are visible— Americans, with money. We can come and go, cross in and out of the places we visit, while most others cannot. We are challenged by the clear injustices suffered by the Palestinians, who are often ignored at checkpoints or deliberately detained, whose 15-mile trip to work in Jerusalem can take two hours. One evening, we are startled by explosions. Later we hear of the death of a Palestinian taken into IDF custody and a protest at the Bethlehem checkpoint shortly thereafter. This has been an intentionally spiritual and formation-

al journey, a journey of the soul as well as the head, connecting us in unprecedented ways to Christ’s mission of service. In this, we are universally connected to Caritas and CRS and thus theologically, spiritually, and vocationally connected with the people of Palestine and Israel—the children in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City who walk home with confidence and in safety; the children in Hebron who need our postcard business to support their families, who look to us out of anxious eyes; the children in the West Bank, curious, hoping to be noticed, playful, freely sharing a single lollipop between them. We are so humanly connected with the proud Jerusalem shop owner who proclaims that



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there is too much public money going to housing for the poor who are taking advantage of it; the holy Jewish men saying Shabbat prayers at the Sea of Galilee; the laughing and joyful Muslim women gathering in prayer groups at the Dome of the Rock shrine (built on the ancient Jewish Temple Mount), a place of comfort and worship for them. This experience has been good for the soul—a time of tears, but also laughter, lots of it.

The injustices and the redemptive hospitality and actions for change that we have witnessed happen also in Chicago, in rural North Carolina, in all of our neighborhoods of high poverty and low resources. Yet, what we have seen and heard here impels us to act. Christ’s Gospel, renewed in us in these days, impels us to act anew. Now that we are home, we follow the news from the Holy Land with memories of the faces and the stories. We share with friends a bit more about our trip than they expect because of the uniqueness of our experiences and perspectives. We are eager to hear how CCUSA is developing opportunities for Bethlehem University

We take home a new understanding, motivation, and articulation of this universal solidarity in Christ’s ministry to God’s people everywhere.

students to work as interns at our agencies in the USA. We give immediate attention to legislation and regulation (e.g., the freeze on 2012 USAID to Palestine which has since been reversed), and press our own government to facilitate the peace process between Israel and Palestine. We plan events to meet with our local Jewish and Arab communities and justice for Palestine groups. We host our friends at special dinners in order to really talk about the opportunity—and responsibility—of our unique trip and new relationships. We have taken to heart the words of Fr. Don’s homily at Mt. Carmel: “We are infused into the flow of history and lifted up by the Body of Christ.” n

Six months after Hurricane Sandy brought destruction and havoc to the Northeast, recovery efforts have moved into full swing. Catholic Charities agencies have begun recovery efforts, along with partner agencies from National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD). People and communities are also making recovery efforts, though many face an uncertain future. Over 95,000 homes and businesses were damaged on Long Island, and roughly half of the homes affected were not insured for flooding. Thousands of families are making the hard choice between staying and rebuilding or leaving the communities their families have lived in for generations. Their decisions have a huge impact on these already damaged communities. Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Charities agencies are working to support these individuals and communities. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, CCUSA is able to provide over $4 million in Hurricane Sandy long term recovery grants to nine agencies from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and West Virginia. In the meantime, these agencies have been active, providing and arranging services, as well as making long term plans to help people get their lives in order again. For example: • C  atholic Charities in Rockville Centre is partnering with the deaconate of the Diocese of Rockville Centre to provide pastoral counseling to people suffering emotionally from Sandy’s devastation. • C  atholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens is planning to offer job development and

• C  atholic Charities of the Diocese of Metuchen has entered into an arrangement with Mennonite Disaster Service to rebuild 50 homes in Sayreville, NJ, with materials provided through CCUSA grant funds. (This same partnership was created in Minot, ND, after flooding there in 2011.)


placement services to help employers get their businesses running and to help employees find work again.

Kathleen Walsh recently retired as executive director of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Raleigh.

• S  taff and volunteers of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York are going door to door to assess seniors’ needs, which can range from personal needs like getting mental health care to needs arising from the storm damage, like window repair and mold remediation.


Natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy demonstrate quickly the value of being prepared. Katie Oldaker, CCUSA’s director of disaster response, has seen again and again that well-prepared and well-trained agencies and staff can respond quickly and effectively to disasters, meeting urgent needs and averting further problems that could arise. “You have to be prepared. You have to have a plan. You need to be trained,” said Oldaker. “We saw a difference in response capability between those agencies who have been through disaster training and those who have not. They all want even more training now.” CCUSA invites all Catholic Charities agencies, dioceses, and parishes to participate in CCUSA’s next Applied Institute for Disaster Excellence, Oct. 14-18, in Houston, TX. For more information, visit or contact Fani Cruz at [email protected] n



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CCUSA Honors Gordon Wadge with Lifetime Achievement Award

CCUSA’s Fourth Quarter Survey Forecasts Impact of Cuts
Catholic Charities agencies report that cuts to federal spending will force the already struggling agencies to serve even fewer clients, particularly those needing basic needs assistance and refugee services, according to Catholic Charities USA’s latest quarterly snapshot survey.

Additional findings include: • More than two-thirds of respondents who provide refugee services said that their services in this area would be significantly impacted by a decrease in federal funding. For example, Catholic Charities Maine is the only refugee resettlement provider in their state and reports that they are already facing funding cuts causing reductions in staffing and services. • The majority (56%) of agencies providing food services said that their ability to provide those services would be significantly impacted by sequestration cuts, despite the fact that several major food programs like SNAP are exempt from the cuts. Agencies stressed the impact that cuts to funding for other food programs including the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program would have on their ability to address hunger in their communities. Some agencies, such as Catholic Charities of Southwest Louisiana, are already looking for alternative sources of food donations. • The majority (53%) of agencies providing housing services also indicated that their ability to provide housing services would be significantly impacted by cuts to federal funding. Several agencies specifically mentioned that their homelessness prevention services would be significantly impacted, including Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg, whose response stressed, “Federal funding to provide rapid re-housing and emergency homeless prevention services is critical to addressing poverty in our community.” The online survey was distributed to CCUSA membership during February 2013 to measure programs and services provided between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012. Responses were received from 53 Catholic Charities agencies in 30 different states which served approximately 3,506,824 people in need over the last year.

CCUSA Launches Social Innovation Awards Program CCUSA has launched a new awards program in conjunction with its Partners in Excellence Regional Gatherings. Earlier this year, four Social Innovation Awards were presented to Catholic Charities programs at Partners in Excellence gatherings in Kentucky and Iowa. • The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque Jail and Prison Ministry Mentoring and Circles of Support and Accountability Program strives to prepare and support ex-offenders as they work toward positive re-entry into family and community life. • The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Omaha Micro-Business Training and Development Program promotes viable economic development opportunities for low-income individuals who seek to improve their self-sufficiency through self-employment and entrepreneurship. • Through their work at Samaritan Place, Catholic Charities of East Tennessee has brought attention to the unique needs of homeless senior citizens—an often overlooked subgroup of the homeless population. The program works with all clients from the point of crisis to successful placement and develops individualized plans to fit the unique situation of each client. • Neighbor to Neighbor is a faith-based program of personal change designed and facilitated by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Evansville. This seven-week course gives families the opportunity to move away from financial dependence on social service agencies and toward self-sufficiency. The Social Innovation Awards program will recognize 20 programs that are providing unprecedented services that strengthen self-sufficiency and the community at large. Two awards will be presented at each of the 10 regional gatherings taking place across the country in 2013 and 2014. Recipients of the award will each receive $5,000 to be reinvested in the award-winning program. Award nominations are being judged jointly by members of the Catholic Charities network and the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. n


In early March, CCUSA presented Gordon Wadge, executive director of the YMCA of Greater New Orleans, with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of decades of service to the Catholic Charities movement. “Gordon’s commitment to collaboration and his passion for helping others serves as an example for all of us working on behalf of the least among us,” said Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. “His calm and steady presence throughout his leadership, particularly in disaster response, truly personifies what it means to be a servant leader.” Wadge, the former president of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, led that agency during and after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Gustav. His leadership after the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in Catholic Charities of New Orleans being awarded a $15 million grant to coordinate the delivery of mental health counseling, job training, and other services to Louisianans affected by the spill.

“The proposed cuts won’t just impact the millions of people that come to our local agencies for help, but have the potential to negatively impact every community and neighborhood across the country by making it more difficult for neighbors and friends to make ends meet,” said CCUSA President Rev. Larry Snyder. “CCUSA believes that innovative reform of our nation’s safety net is long overdue, but until our system is fixed, cutting programs that support the most vulnerable among us is not the solution.” CCUSA’s Fourth Quarter 2012 Snapshot Survey focused on the impending acrossthe-board cuts to federal non-defense discretionary spending, known as “sequestration.” These findings will be used to inform policymakers about the essential nature of federally-funded social service programs during this ongoing debate.



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Canned Food Exhibit Benefits Catholic Charities of West Tennessee

to feed the hungry.” Eighth-graders created a crayon box representing, “Hunger knows no color boundaries.” The sculpture display was viewed by more than 800 parents, students, and friends of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School. Catholic Charities Atlanta Welcomes Miguel R. San Juan as New CEO

Exhibit raises awareness and collects 10,000 cans to support anti-hunger programs.


t. Francis of Assisi Catholic School in Cordova, TN, celebrated National Catholic Schools Week by teaming up with Catholic Charities of West Tennessee and CANstruction, a nonprofit organization that promotes building structures made entirely of canned food. The exhibit was unveiled during an open house, raising awareness while making an impact for feeding the hungry of West Tennessee.

Catholic Charities Atlanta (CCA) recently announced that Miguel R. San Juan has been appointed its new chief executive officer. San Juan has been active in public service at the local, state, and federal levels. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush appointed him as the first National Export Council President. San Juan recently moved to Atlanta from Houston, TX, where he served as managing director of Globalinvest Ventures and Consulting, a business consulting firm. Prior to that role, he served as senior vice president for business development, where he had a leadership role in a $32 million fundraising campaign known as Opportunity Houston. He helped build a campaign and program model, which has allowed the Houston region to proactively market itself for jobs and investment.

San Juan has a unique personal connection to Catholic Charities. Born in Havana, Cuba, San Juan’s parents sent him and his sister to the United States in 1962 during a time of political unrest under Operation Pedro Pan, the largest recorded exodus of unaccompanied minors in the Western Hemisphere. The siblings landed in Miami and were placed under the custody of Catholic Charities. Through Catholic Charities, they were sent to a camp in Florida, then to placement with a foster family in Washington State, where they lived for several years. Catholic Charities also played a crucial role in the longawaited reunification with their parents in Houston. “As I think back to my arrival in the United States, I could not possibly have imagined the opportunities that lay ahead,” said San Juan. On his appointment, San Juan stated, “I plan to keep what works, but am always aware that organizations also need to change to grow. I have a personal passion for the organization’s cause, and I plan to continue the strong record of accomplishment and good work the agency has achieved in providing help and creating hope for the nearly 18,000 clients they serve each year.” Chicago Catholic Charities Receives Funding to Help Young Immigrants Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Immigration and Naturalization Services program received a $25,000 grant from the Illinois Funders DACA Relief

Initiative (IDRI) through the Chicago Community Trust. The funds are providing immediate capacity building for the agency’s work with youth and young adults eligible for relief under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA, which began August 15, 2012, allows for some immigrants to apply for a temporary shield from deportation, enabling them to live and work legally in the United States. DACA is targeting immigrants who came to the United States before their 16th birthday, are under the age of 31, are enrolled in or have completed high school, or are honorably discharged U.S. veterans, and have no criminal background. Chicago’s Immigration Program provides consultations and application assistance to youth, their parents, and young adults. The grant is being used to hire an additional full-time staff member to support DACA-related assistance. Catholic Charities in Phoenix Receives $50K from Freeport-McMoRan

Every student brought in canned goods to create five CANstruction sculptures. Principal Beth York said of the project, “With CANstruction, we learn that one can of food is a catalyst for change. Every act of kindness makes a difference. This was a great way to teach the children about giving to those in need.” At the end of the evening, more than 10,000 cans were donated to Catholic Charities. The snake, created by pre-K through fourth graders represents “We can take a bite out of hunger.” Fifth graders created a book with the theme, “Hunger is no game.” The sixth grade’s octopus swimming in a sea of mac and cheese represented, “Many arms can fight hunger.” Seventh graders banded together to make a replica of the Emerald City, including a yellow brick road, depicting, “We’re off

Catholic Charities Community Services in Phoenix received a $50,000 Women’s Development Grant from the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation. The



SPRING 2013 | 39

funds will be used to help women in Catholic Charities’ DIGNITY program for prostitution recovery. “We are so grateful for FreeportMcMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation’s support,” said Erica Reed, DIGNITY program director at Catholic Charities. “There tends to be little sympathy for these women because people assume the women choose to be prostituted. People do not realize that most prostituted individuals come from abusive homes and were lured into ‘the life’ as young as 13. They have had no real home, life-skills, or work history. This grant will help our women to reestablish a life for themselves—a life with dignity.” DIGNITY is an acronym for Developing Individual Growth and New Independence Through Yourself. Catholic Charities reaches out to prostituted individuals, including girls, in the streets and in the jails. They also offer a year-long residential recovery program to help women build their self-esteem and their life-skills so they may transition to an independent life free from abuse and prostitution. The Women’s Development Grant from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation will be used to help the DIGNITY women complete job readiness and life-skill training, including financial literacy. “When women build stable lives, succeed, and increase their income, they are more likely to invest in the physical, emotional, and financial well-being of their children, their families and their communities,”

said Tracy Bame, president of the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation. Catholic Charities in Trenton Celebrates 100 Years

race sponsor and Catholic Charities Board of Trustees member; Marlene Laó-Collins (center), the agency’s executive director; and now retired executive director Francis E. Dolan (right), who led the agency from 1988-2011. “This is an exciting year for our organization and a time to reflect and give thanks for the more than six million individuals who relied on us for assistance and compassion during the last 100 years,” said Laó-Collins. “We hope to inspire others to adopt our mission to alleviate suffering in any way they can throughout this year and to join us at our community events.” Employing a staff of 600 and scores of volunteers all sharing the mission of alleviating human suffering, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton will observe its centennial with events throughout 2013. For a listing of events, visit The Centennial website features a video, timeline of milestones in the organization’s first century, and a calendar of events. Galveston-Houston Agency Expands Food Services through Generous Grants

and the Walmart Foundation, Catholic Charities of Galveston Houston has strengthened its food distribution services. The public now sees a beautifully designed delivery truck rolling through the Houston area with photos of smiling faces receiving groceries and other assistance from Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Catholic Charities’ Mamie George Community Center was awarded a supplemental grant in the amount of $100,000 from the Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation to purchase a box truck and to support the salary of a Warehouse Associate/Driver position that helps with the pick-up and distribution of food and supplies for the center’s self-select food pantry Trini’s Corner Market. Another major grant that increased program capacity was a grant of $81,700 awarded by CCUSA through a Wal-Mart Collaborative Proposal that will support the salary of a lead case manager position and fund the purchase of a forklift, food, and other supplies. Ernest Lewis III, director of the Mamie George Community Center, said, “We are very appreciative of the support from our generous donors in helping us to bring nutritious food and other basic necessities to our seniors and other clients in our Fort Bend County area. We give many thanks to Henderson-Wessendorff and Wal-Mart and CCUSA’s assistance in coordinating the efforts.”

Catholic Charities Atlanta Receives Social Justice Award

and representation. The clinic offers CCA clients assistance with filings for immigration benefits based on family eligibility, violence against women petitions, crime victim petitions and temporary protective status. The clinic also serves detainees at immigration detention facilities. “The new Immigration Clinic in partnership with Catholic Charities demonstrates our commitment to the community and preparing our students to practice law,” said Richardson Lynn, dean and professor of law at AJMLS. “We are honored to work along with Catholic Charities as it serves the rapidly growing immigrant community.” Nashville Business Journal Names Megan Stack to “Forty under 40”

It is 1913….The U.S. Post Office begins parcel post delivery, New York’s Grand Central Terminal opens, Woodrow Wilson is inaugurated as the 28th president, the Internal Revenue Service begins to levy and collect income taxes, the zipper is patented, the first paved coast-to-coast highway in the U.S. is opened, the continuous moving assembly line is introduced by Ford (produces a car every 2+ hours), and Charlie Chaplin begins his film career for $150 a week. It was during this exciting, dynamic year that Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton was established, among the first five Catholic Charities agencies to be founded in the United States. The kick-off event took place on February 1 at a special Centennial Mass held at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in Trenton, followed by a reception for the community, staff, and volunteers. Then on April 6, the agency held its “100 Years & Running” 5K Run/Walk at a local park. Coincidentally, the run had exactly 100 runners. Three of the runners were George Reilly (left), a

Catholic Charities Atlanta (CCA) received the Fred Gray Social Justice Award at the 6th Annual Atlanta John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Fred Gray Social Justice Seminar. CCA received the award for its advocacy on behalf of individuals and families facing adversity and for its work with immigrant women who are the victims of domestic violence. Jennifer Bensman, director of immigration services for Catholic Charities Atlanta, was a featured panelist for the annual seminar, which is hosted by Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in honor of the legacy of veteran civil rights attorney Fred Gray. This seminar tackles pressing and current legal issues that attorneys and practitioners face. This year’s theme was, “Conquering Growing Issues: Women Rising in the Face of Adversities.” Catholic Charities Atlanta and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School formed a partnership in the fall of 2012 to open Georgia’s first Immigration Law Clinic. Second and third year law students assist CCA attorneys and legal staff in providing clients with legal counsel

Megan Stack, family assistance and community employment director for Catholic Charities of Tennessee, was recently named one of Nashville’s “best and brightest rising rock stars in business” by the Nashville Business Journal (NBJ). Stack and other honorees were recognized at a special ceremony on March 13. “Nashville’s business community has tremendous talent working its way up the ladder,” explained Kate Herman, the NBJ’s president and publisher. “We are pleased to be able to identify

Thanks to generous grants from the Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation



SPRING 2013 | 41

these rising stars, like Megan Stack and the other honorees in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. These honorees are tomorrow’s community leaders.” “We are so grateful to have Megan Stack as part of our management team,” said Bill Sinclair, Catholic Charities executive director. “Her dedication to her programs and their clients is amazing to watch. She embodies our motto of ‘Acts of Love, Goodwill and Kindness’ each and every day.” Stack came to Catholic Charities of Tennessee as an intern in 2005, while earning her masters of social work degree from the University of Tennessee. Upon graduating in 2006, she joined the agency full time. She currently oversees several of the agency’s programs, including Loaves and Fishes Community Meals for the Hungry, North Nashville Outreach, Hispanic Family Services, and the Job Training Center. She also manages twice-monthly perishable food distributions in cooperation with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Oakland Agency Selling Concessions to Raise Money for DACA Candidates Drawing upon its success running the main concession stands for the U.S. Open in 2012, Catholic Charities of the East Bay is now taking their game to the Oakland A’s in order to provide fee assistance for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants.

Last year, with over 300 volunteers from the East Bay, consisting of board members, the Knights of Columbus, parishioners, staff, clients and students, CCEB’s concession stands garnered over $20,000 during the U.S. Open. This experience evolved into similar commitments at University of California, Berkley football and volleyball games. One hundred volunteers were added to the operation and of these, more than 15 volunteers saw their service repaid in the form of compensation covering their DACA application fees. CCEB volunteers will now be staffing four of the largest concession stands at Oakland A’s baseball games during the 2013 season. Past DACA candidates will return to learn additional skills managing the stands and to support the other 15-20 DACA candidates volunteering for the games. Frank Malifrando, chief development and public affairs officer at CCEB, explained that CCEB has learned a lot from its work selling concessions: “how to manage and train volunteers in the fast food concession industry, how to coordinate such a huge event, and how to grow the program as a social enterprise to benefit CCEB and its programs.” Catholic Charities of the East Bay and DACA eligible youth have hit on a winner: community, sports, and the gift of hope!

St. Patrick Center Sacks Homelessness with St. Louis Rams St. Patrick Center’s unique partnership with the NFL’s St. Louis Rams helped the agency continue its work to end homelessness—with a real impact. Returning in 2012 as a St. Louis Rams-St. Patrick Center program, Sack Homelessness raised $52,000 from the Rams through their season’s 52 quarterback sacks, a number that tied for most in the league with Denver. Defensive end Chris Long and a number of his linemates, defensive line coach Mike Waufle, and assistant head coach Dave McGinnis made contributions for each sack the defense rang up. “Hopefully the money really helps make a difference,” said Long. “That’s the real deal right there. That’s why we play the game.” A portion of the Rams’ donation will help renovate St. Patrick Center’s Child Center, which provides care and activities for children during the day while their parents are enrolled in agency housing, employment, and health programs. “Once again, our community has demonstrated how committed they are to people who need an opportunity to improve their lives” said St. Patrick Center CEO Tom Etling. “We are grateful for our many supporters who contributed to the success of our year-end campaign and client incentive programs, plus those in the community who dedicated their skills and talents to benefit St. Patrick Center clients.”

Catholic Charities in Twin Cities Remembers Msgr. Jerome Boxleitner Msgr. J. Jerome Boxleitner, former executive director of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis for 35 years and board member for Catholic Charities USA, died March 14 at the age of 82. Msgr. Boxleitner became director of Catholic Welfare Services of Minneapolis in 1963 and from there led the consolidation of four Catholic social service agencies, creating Catholic Charities in 1977. Under his leadership Catholic Charities grew to an organization of more than 600 employees and more than 12,000 volunteers. He led the agency until his retirement on Dec. 31, 1998.

Msgr. Boxleitner was also active on the national level, serving as the chair of the CCUSA Board of Trustees for several years. “We have lost a legend. Msgr. Boxleitner (or “Box” as he was affectionately known) was a tireless advocate for the poor and for children in need,” said Tim Marx, CEO of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “Msgr. Boxleitner was larger than life — a force for good in our community. He not only changed the lives of those most in need, but also of those who were blessed with the immeasurable gift of knowing and working alongside him.” The Mass of Christian burial was held March 19 at Holy Name Church

in Minneapolis. Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA and former executive director of Catholic Charities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, gave the funeral homily. In his homily, he quoted the dedication he wrote to Msgr. Boxleitner in his book Think and Act Anew. “I am grateful to Msgr. J. Jerome Boxleitner, my mentor, who led Catholic Charities in the Twin Cities for almost forty years. He taught us all that walking with our God means walking with the poor. He will never know the lives that have been impacted for the good by his diligence and sometimes stubbornness. I have been blessed to work so closely with a visionary and icon in the Catholic Charities movement.” n



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Working to Reduce Poverty in

Date When he arrived at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, Richard enrolled in the Resident Empowerment Program (REP), a year-long structured residential program designed to help homeless men transition from the streets back to self-sufficiency. “The program has been
challenging at times, but
it gets you ready to tackle
life’s problems. I’ve been able to interact with people more and I’ve had some spot jobs. It gets you back into the general swing of life,” said Richard. REP staff members have also noticed a change in Richard since he arrived. “Richard has been here for four and half months and now works as a dorm monitor for the REP program. His positive attitude, sense of humor, and general appreciation for others has allowed him to turn his life around,” said Antonio Toafili, supervisor of the Resident Empowerment Program. Looking back, Richard said he is grateful for the help he has received and all it has allowed him to accomplish. “The help here has been tremendous. I think the changes I’ve made are fantastic. I’ve gained more confidence,” said Richard. “It feels like my old self is coming back and it feels good.” n
May 11-17 May 17-18 May 24-June 8 June 24-25 July 8-10 July 29-30 September 14-16 October 18-19

2013 Trainings & Events Meeting
Leadership Institute Parish Social Ministry Regional Training The O’Grady Institute Partners in Excellence: Maine New Diocesan Directors Institute Partners in Excellence: Pennsylvannia Annual Gathering Parish Social Ministry Regional Training

By Tony Jarmusz


Marriottsville, MD Boise, ID Freiburg/Rome Campus Portland, ME Alexandria, VA Philadelphia, PA San Francisco, CA Memphis, TN

Troy Zeigler (703) 236-6239 Tina Baldera (703) 236-6233 Kathy Brown (703) 236-6245 Jean Beil (703) 236-6229 Kristan Schlichte (703) 236-6240 Jean Beil (703) 236-6229 Amy Stinger (703) 236-6227 Tina Baldera (703) 236-6233

he economic downturn of the last few years affected many Las Vegans in different ways. For some it meant cutting back on expenses or saving for emergencies. For Richard Schenone, it meant losing his job and, ultimately, becoming homeless.

“I was a security guard for a local company. I worked there more than five years. Then the economy tanked and left a lot of people scrambling. My life took a big snowball,” he said. Richard tried to make his unemployment last, but eventually, the funding ran out. With no money and nowhere to stay, he was out of options. “I was confused and didn’t know where I was headed. I became homeless and ended up sleeping outside a house for a few days, until the owner found out,” he joked. “Then I slept in a defunct trailer park over on Boulder Highway.” Richard stayed at the abandoned trailer park for almost three months. With no means to provide for himself and no sense of security, everyday was a struggle for survival. “One day…a few dozen police officers led by Annie Wilson, homeless liaison for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, came and were going around encouraging us to find help. I decided to go with Annie. She took me to Catholic Charities,” he said.


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