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					                                 CATHOLIC CHARITIES
                               ARCHDIOCESE OF NEWARK
                               STORIES OF THE PEOPLE 2010

                                    Catholic Charities

Feeds the hungry and houses the homeless.

Reaches out to the isolated, the lonely, and those with special needs.

Nurtures the development of the young and strengthens relationships within families.

Assists the marginalized and the unemployed to achieve economic participation.

Helps immigrants realize the benefits of liberty in a new land.

Advocates for social justice for all.

         Page 2                 Stories of the People 2010


Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark helps individuals and
families in need to acquire assistance and a greater sense of self-worth
and dignity. This mission is pursued through a network of caring,
effective, and well-managed social services in the four counties
encompassed by the Archdiocese – Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union.

Catholic Charities is a ministry of the Church, a tangible expression of
the Church’s commitment to ease suffering and bring social justice and
hope to all, without regard to religion, race, or culture.


Provide services that are of the highest quality, efficiently administered,
and are demonstrably needed by the communities we serve.

Maintain our historical commitment to serving those in need throughout
the Archdiocese.

Maximize the benefit we bring to the communities we serve by
partnering with corporations and government offices when such
partnerships further our mission.

Offer targeted support and programs in partnership with parishes
throughout the Archdiocese and provide parishioners with
opportunities to live out Catholic ideals through volunteerism.

Advocate for the needs of the urban poor and others throughout the

Photo credits:
Photo on the cover courtesy of Catholic Charities USA, Alexandria, VA.
Photos on pages 8,10, and 18 courtesy of Laura Sykes / Catholic Charities USA,
Alexandria, VA.

                 Stories of the People 2010

                                       Table of Contents

AC’s Story: Post Kinship Legal Guardianship                4

Ana’s Story: Hudson County PAC
Cassie’s Story: Bergen Senior Day Care Center
Christine’s Story: St. Jude’s Oasis
Elizabeth’s Story: Adoption Services
George and Carol’s Story: Engel Center
HB’s Story: St. Rocco’s Family Shelter
Jane's Story: Canaan House
Janet’s Story: Adult Protective Services
JM’ Story: Intensive Family Support Services
Joe’s Story: Workforce Development Essex
Julia’s Story: Hope House Family Shelter
JW’s Story: Hudson County Jail
Larry’s Story: St. Bridget’s Residence
Matthew’s Story: Mount Carmel Guild Cares
Michael’s Story: St. Lucy’s Shelter
MJ’s Story: Supported Employment
Mr. Z’s Story: Bergen County Care Management
Nela’s Story: Little Schoolhouse
Pat and Kathy’s Story: Family Resource Center
Paul’s Story: Franciska Residence
Sofia’s Story: Bergen County Care Management
Sophia’s Story: Family Resource Center
Teri’s Story: School Social Work
Tiesha’s Story: SAIF
TR’s Story: Child Protective Services
Ways to Help

AC’s Story: Post Kinship Legal Guardianship

A.C. is a 56-year-old grandmother who has Kinship Legal Guardianship of her
2½ year old grandson. She is also raising her 15-year-old autistic son.

A.C. has serious medical problems, including severe arthritis which made it very
difficult for her to climb the stairs to her 3rd floor apartment. Even tasks such as
grocery shopping and laundry became almost impossible as she had to carry her
grandson, his stroller, the laundry, and groceries up 3 flights. Her legs and back
ached by the end of the day. She was often unable to keep doctor’s
appointments and her health deteriorated as a result.

A.C. wanted to move to a first floor apartment but did not have money for the
security deposit and first month’s rent. She was frightened that if she did not
move, she would not be able to continue caring for her son and grandson, both
of whom needed and depended on her.

Catholic Charities provided in-home counseling to A.C. and helped her to find a
new apartment and obtain the funds needed to relocate. She and her family
were able to move into a first floor apartment. A.C.’s life changed dramatically,
as she was now able to keep her doctor’s appointments and take her grandson
outside. Her health has begun to improve and her back and legs are no longer as
painful as they had been in the past from climbing 3 flights of stairs.

A.C. is very grateful to Catholic Charities and believes that God sent the agency
to her when she was feeling desperate, frightened, and hopeless.

Ana’s Story: Hudson County PAC
Ana is a 41-year-old woman from Jersey City with a very good work history.
She never thought she would have to come to Catholic Charities for help with
financial problems. She had been with the same company for seventeen years as
an airport security guard. She always paid her bills on time and had never
missed a rent payment on the apartment she shares with her son.

In July of 2009, Ana was involved in a hit and run car accident. This accident left
Ana with a seriously injured back and in intense pain. She was unable to walk
for some time and needed four surgeries to repair the damage. She lost both
her job and her health insurance. In the time between her disability ending and
her unemployment compensation beginning, she had no income at all. For the
first time in her life, Ana was unable to work or pay her rent and began to fall
behind in her rent payments. Ana has a good work ethic, so being unable to go
back to work and owing money made her depressed. The auto insurance
company claim remained unresolved, outstanding medical bills remained unpaid,
and additional needed surgery was on hold.

When her unemployment compensation started, Ana began giving her landlord a
large portion of her check for the rent arrears and retained a little money for
food for her son and herself. However, these efforts proved insufficient. Soon
her landlord was threatening eviction from a home she had lived in for twenty

It was at this point that Ana came to the Catholic Charities Parish Access
Center (PAC) in Jersey City. Catholic Charities assisted her with the rent,
prevented her eviction, and gave her “breathing room” to catch up on her bills.

Cassie’s Story: Bergen Senior Day Care Center

Cassie is an 84-year-old widowed woman diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s
disease. Cassie was born in Europe and visited many countries throughout her
life. She speaks several languages. She is in relatively good health, but can be
forgetful and has a tendency to mix different languages together when she
speaks. Cassie lives with her niece who is her caretaker and who brought her
to Catholic Charities Bergen Senior Day Care Center in River Edge, NJ.

When she is at home by herself, Cassie feels lonely and depressed. Her niece
works full time, so Cassie is alone most of the day watching TV and saying her
prayers. Her niece recognized that Cassie needed to socialize and interact
more with others and to keep her hands and mind busy.

Cassie has never missed a day since she started coming to the Day Care Center.
After attending for a year, Cassie feels very comfortable and quite at home. She
is able to tell her life stories to other people, make jokes, and laugh. She loves
to participate in all the activities. Being a part of a group is very satisfying. She
gets a level of attention that she misses when she goes home. The Center
provides her with something to look forward to each day. Coming to the
Center gives her an important routine that she lost when she retired many
years ago. She says she enjoys getting up in the morning to prepare for the day
before the Catholic Charities’ bus comes to pick her up and take her to the

Christina’s Story: St. Jude’s Oasis

Christina is a 34-year-old mother of three children. She became
homeless when, seven months pregnant, she separated from her abusive
husband. She was referred by the Homeless Hotline to Catholic
Charities’ Hope House emergency shelter, a program for women and
children in Jersey City.

While at Hope House she gave birth to her third child, a son. She stayed
in the shelter until she was ready to move into more permanent
quarters. She transferred to St. Jude’s Oasis, a Catholic Charities
transitional housing program, also in Jersey City. During her stay in
transitional housing she worked with her case manager to obtain
employment and save money. She was assisted by a job developer and
saved the money she received from child support payments. She
succeeded in finding a restaurant job.

Christina stayed at St. Jude’s for twenty-four months. When she left,
she had been steadily employed and had managed to build up sufficient
savings to afford her own apartment for her and her children.

Elizabeth’s Story: Adoption Services

Elizabeth, age 30, gave birth to a baby girl at a local hospital. She was referred
to Catholic Charities by the hospital’s social services department. She was
considering placing her baby girl, whom she named Brittany, for adoption, as she
did not know how she would be able to care for her. Elizabeth was homeless
and had no place to bring her baby.

The Catholic Charities Social Worker met with her at the hospital and Elizabeth
agreed to place her baby in one of the agency’s temporary foster care homes
until she was able to come to a well-thought-through decision about parenting
or placing for adoption. Elizabeth regularly called the foster mother to see how
her baby was doing, which provided her with peace of mind. She also regularly
visited with Brittany in the Catholic Charities office so that she could continue
bonding with her baby.

In addition to foster care, the Catholic Charities Social Worker
provided counseling to Elizabeth and referred her for community
services to locate stable housing and employment. After three months in foster
care, Brittany was reunited with Elizabeth and they continue to be together to
this day.

Elizabeth is employed and has maintained housing for Brittany and
herself. Brittany is thriving. Elizabeth reflects on the fact that at one time she
thought there was nowhere to go and no one to help her to get back on her
feet. She is thankful that Catholic Charities was there to help her to eventually
be a mother to her child.

George and Carol’s Story: Engel Center

George and Carol have been married for 37 years- and are very much in love.
After surviving a heart attack and a quadruple bypass, 65-year-old George was
diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Carol drops him off at Catholic Charities’
Engel Senior Day Care Center in Cranford every day. She always has a big smile
on her face and takes the time to greet staff with a cheerful “good morning.”

But one particular Tuesday morning Carol was unusually quiet. She walked with
her head low and appeared sad. She kissed her husband good-bye and hurried
towards the door to leave. A staff member asked, “Are you okay?” Carol
lifted her head slightly. There were tears in her eyes, as she replied, “I received
a letter from the State saying effective July 1 George is no longer eligible for day
care center assistance. I can’t afford to pay for him to come here. Two days
notice is all they’re giving us! George loves it so much here and the thought of
telling him he can no longer come just breaks my heart.”

Carol explained the details of the letter she received and said, “It took us a long
time to find Engel Center. It is close to home, my job, and my daughter’s job.
George enjoys the activities and being with everyone there. He feels safe and
comfortable and that’s important to me because I know I can’t be with him all
day. How do you explain to someone who has been through so much that you
have to leave the place you love and start all over?” In addition to the health
issues, Carol and George had to sell their house and move in with their
daughter. Carol’s mother became ill and she became her caregiver, traveling
back and forth down the shore.

The staff at Engel Center immediately looked into how they could help. They
obtained a grant that was created especially for caregivers like Carol. She was
reassured her that George would be able to stay. Carol once again began to
cry, but they were tears of joy. “Words can’t express how grateful I am,” she
said. “You have no idea how relieved I am. This takes a huge weight off of my

The following morning when Carol arrived to drop off George at the center,
she had her usual big smile on her face. “Thank you again,” she said. “Not only
did you lift a weight off of my shoulders, but this place lifts my heart and spirit.”

Carol and George are now proud grandparents to a new grandson, Jeremy, and
Carol’s mother is moving to Union County to be closer to the family.

HB’s Story: St. Rocco’s Family Shelter

HB was referred to Catholic Charities’ St. Rocco’s Family Shelter from the
Essex County Division of Welfare. She is 30 years old with three children and is
a former resident at a drug treatment facility. During her stay in rehab her
children became wards of the state because she was unable to care for them
due to her addiction. When she stopped using drugs, her children were
returned to her. HB started attending an Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotics
Anonymous support group and has been a steady participant. She still attends
outpatient treatment at the Rehab Center.

After arriving at the St. Rocco’s Shelter, she began attending the weekly Parent’s
Anonymous meetings held there, which helped her to interact better with her
children after being out of their lives while they were in foster care. Little by
little, she began to feel stronger and more confident and started to search for a
job and housing for her family. With the counseling and encouragement
provided by staff she gained the determination to turn her life around.

After four months, with assistance from the County, HB and her children
moved out of the shelter into a three-bedroom apartment.

Jane’s Story: Canaan House

For Jane, age 38, life growing up was good. She had everything one could
ask for and more: nice family, suburban living, two loving parents, yearly
family vacations. But all that would change when, as an adult, she
became involved with alcohol and drugs.

Jane experimented with drugs to feel good about herself and in the
process exercised poor judgment about relationships. As a stressed-out
mother of four, she was in a downward spiral of addiction, hanging with
the wrong crowd, and avoidance of responsibility. A daily drug user,
she abandoned her family and fled out of state with her latest boyfriend.
Soon her health began to change: weight loss and sleepless nights. Jane
discovered that she had cancer and HIV infection. Family members had
stepped in to take custody of her children - split up in different
households. After a DUI conviction, she was sentenced to a year in jail.
It was then that she had her “wake up call.” Jane began to put her
shattered life back together with family support, a new attitude, and a
court-ordered 12-step program.

After her release from jail, Jane was homeless. She was referred to
Catholic Charities’ Canaan House in Jersey City. Canaan House is a
permanent supportive housing program for those living with HIV / AIDS
and addiction. At Canaan House, Jane was provided a safe, clean living
environment, and access to medical, mental health, and substance abuse

Canaan House has given Jane confidence that she can turn her life
around. Her health is now stable because she keeps all medical
appointments and is in therapy. She has completed a computer class.
She’s now been sober and drug-free for two years. Jane takes pride in
being able to now have her own apartment. She sees this “second
chance” as the opportunity to get her family back.

Janet’s Story: Adult Protective Services

Thin and wiry, 90-year-old Janet was always on the go, taking the bus to visit
out-of- town family and spending time around the senior center. She had always
prided herself on being fit and free.

A “Good Samaritan” called Catholic Charities’ Adult Protective Services
Program because she noticed that Janet was hungry and begging for food and
money each month after her daughter withdrew all of her Social Security from
the bank.

Ordinarily independent-minded and a survivor, Janet began to experience
memory loss, denying problems of any kind, even her pending eviction. She was
happy enough as long as she could get up, go out, have a bite to eat here and
there and walk about town. Unfortunately, her fading memory and gradual
decline left her unable to tackle anything out of the ordinary or to even
recognize that her daughter was taking her money. Several time she had been
picked up by police in major East Coast cities after getting on buses without
knowing where she was or how to return home. She refused the medical care
and evaluations which might have helped to slow her decline, enabling the cycle
of neglect and exploitation to continue. Unable to secure the needed help and
cooperation from Janet’s family to keep her and her limited resources safe,
Catholic Charities’ Adult Protective Services successfully obtained legal
assistance to get Court approval for a guardian to permanently protect Janet’s
interest so that she might be free from further harm, hunger, and homelessness.

JM’s Story: Intensive Family Support Services

JM, 49 years old, is mother to two adult children and a 17-year-old son,
all of whom live with her. She came to Catholic Charities Intensive
Family Support Services (IFSS) in Jersey City two years ago. The
program provides counseling and support for families living with a
mentally ill relative. JM’s eldest son (22 years old) has a diagnosis of
Autism and is receiving appropriate services. Her youngest son is a high
school senior and has scoliosis.

JM initiated IFSS services when her middle son (now age 19) attempted
suicide two years ago and was diagnosed with depression. She reported
that her son has a pattern of acting out violently when things don’t work
in his favor. He attempted suicide by overdosing on medication
prescribed for his depression. After a lengthy hospitalization and
consistent psychiatric attention, JM’s son was stabilized. Through
individual consultations, in home visits and family consultations, IFSS
assisted JM to gain insight and knowledge about her son’s diagnosis,
treatment, and challenges.

IFSS twice-monthly psycho-educational and support groups have assisted
JM to reduce stress by developing healthy supportive peer relationships
with other program members. In group, she is able to describe her
experience as a caregiver of a relative diagnosed with a mental illness.
She also learns techniques to help manage the situations that present
themselves. Social events offered by IFSS have assisted JM to increase
her network of support. She has learned about additional resources in
the community with respect to her son’s needs. JM’s son has completed
his high school education and a semester in college. JM herself was able
to go back to school and is working towards a nursing degree. IFSS
provided the support and information that helped her manage her son’s
mental illness and set her life on a more constructive path.

          Joe’s Story: Workforce Development Essex

Joe, age 45, from Newark, was homeless and unemployed. He had been living out in the
open with only a tarp to cover him. Catholic Charities supplied him with some food and
clothing. A church offered him space on their grounds in exchange for some simple chores
and referred him to the Catholic Charities Janitorial Maintenance training program.

Joe learned quickly in the Janitorial Maintenance program and soon
demonstrated to the pastor of the church that he could perform duties beyond the simple
chores he was initially assigned. His increased skills led to an offer to be the caretaker of
the church, which provided an income and stable housing.

          After working for several months, he took the Catholic Charities staff member
          who had trained him on a tour of the church grounds. He felt extremely proud
          of his accomplishments. He began volunteering at Catholic Charities to assist
          with bulk food distributions packing and distributing bags of food to individuals
          who are as needy as he was just a short time ago.

Julia’s Story: Hope House Family Shelter

Julia is a 36-year-old single mother of two, ages 4 and 5. She was
referred to Catholic Charities’ Hope House, after being evicted from
her home. Hope House is an emergency shelter in Jersey City for
homeless mothers with children. Julia had been laid-off from her job
and could no longer continue to pay her rent.

During her stay at the shelter, Julia began looking for work and saving
the money she received from unemployment benefits. Because rents in
Hudson County are high, it was difficult to find a job that would pay her
enough to obtain and maintain housing. Prospects looked bleak until the
staff discovered that a local cleaning service was hiring. Julia immediately
applied and was hired on the spot.

After residing at the shelter for 8 months, she successfully moved into a
new apartment. She maintained her employment and provided a stable
home for her children. However, again, she received a lay-off notice
because the company had lost service contracts. Concerned that she
would lose her apartment and once more become homeless, she turned
to Catholic Charities for help a second time. Hope House staff referred
her to another Catholic Charities program that found her a job with a
different cleaning service. She was able to stay in her home.

Despite the precarious nature of her finances, Julia always has a smile on
her face. She continues to work and is highly motivated and determined
to achieve her goals regardless of the obstacles. As she said, “Yo nunca
perdere las esperanza.” (“I will never lose hope.”)

JW’s Story: Hudson County Jail

JW, a 36-year-old man, was recently released from the Hudson County
Jail where he served nine months on the substance abuse recovery tier.
JW struggled with drug addiction for years. He was charged with
conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and, because he was
considered a flight risk, ordered to jail when he couldn’t make the high
bail set for him. He was angry about the Court’s determination and
thought the Court was “out to get him.” However, today, he has
developed a new perspective. He understands that jail is exactly where
he needed to be.

Initially, it was difficult for him to relate to some of the men on the tier
because, as he put it, “They came in with decrepit bodies and souls from
severe drug use.” They seemed incorrigible and he couldn’t fathom
what he would be able to learn from them. However, his counselor
helped him understand how to look past peoples’ appearance and listen
to them.

The counseling experience had a great impact on JW. Most of his life he
did things his own way. He lived only for the moment and was not a
spiritual person. His counselor helped him appreciate the truly
important things in life and rebuild his self-worth. He regained simple
yet important moral values. He recognized the damage he had been
causing to himself and his family. JW points out that working with
inmates struggling with addiction is not easy – “game-playing” is
prominent and emotions are always high. However, the counselor
always displayed patience with and respect for the entire group.

JW says he has turned his life around. He is grateful for being
introduced to the Twelve Steps and for the insight that there is a
different way to live life. Today JW believes in himself and has hope for
the future.

Larry’s Story: St. Bridget’s Residence

Larry is a 45-year-old man who was homeless and hopeless. When he entered
Catholic Charities’ St. Bridget’s Shelter in Newark with head down, he said, “I
have nowhere to go.” Larry told the staff that he left his wife and children and
hit the streets because drugs had taken over his life. “I feel rejected and
dejected,” he said.

Larry had once been a successful man with a house in the suburbs, two lovely
daughters, and a loving wife. But with mounting bills and a job loss, he began to
spiral downward and found himself turning to drugs in an effort to forget his

He came to St. Bridget’s Shelter for men and began to put his life back in order.
The first step he took was to attend a substance abuse support group to help
him gain some control over the urge to use drugs. With the support of the staff
and self-determination he persevered and started on the road of

Larry has since moved into his own apartment and is doing well. “There should
be more programs like St. Bridget’s to truly help people and not just shuffle
them from one shelter to another,” says Larry. “I am thankful for this place.
They have given me the opportunity to focus on myself and find a better plan for
dealing with life and the problems that come along.”

Matthew’s Story: Mt. Carmel Guild Cares

Matthew is a 4-year-old boy from Newark who is diagnosed with
Autism.     He attends Catholic Charities’ Mount Carmel Guild Cares
Preschool Center.           Matthew, along with four other autistic
preschoolers, was provided with inclusive care to allow them to benefit from a
regular preschool program. The practice of inclusive child care (that is, placing
children of all physical, emotional and academic abilities in the same preschool
learning environment) benefits children of all abilities.

While at the Center, Matthew was able to receive Child Study Team services to
obtain speech and occupational therapy. The Center was also assigned a
Preschool Intervention Resource Teacher who provided our teachers and
Matthew’s parents with home and school strategies to help his progress.

As a result of the services MCG Cares put in place, Matthew’s parents were
very pleased that he would be able to stay in the preschool without placement
in a special education program.

Mount Carmel Guild Cares continues to practice inclusive care for
children with special needs. The staff is hard-working and dedicated to
providing educational care to all children in the community.

Michael’s Story: St. Lucy’s Shelter

Michael, age 39, came to Catholic Charities’ St. Lucy’s Emergency
Shelter in Jersey City from the street. He had lost his job and used what
little savings he had in a futile effort to keep a roof over his head.
However, he could no longer afford to pay his rent and was evicted.

Before coming to St. Lucy’s, Michael had spent nearly three weeks
staying in an abandoned building frequented by homeless men and
women in the area. He told staff that his days on the street were the
most difficult of his life.

At St. Lucy’s, Michael remained positive and optimistic that things would
soon get better. He spent his days looking for work and developing his
resume. Michael utilized the program’s job readiness coach and job
developer who were available to him at the shelter. He would fill out
several employment applications each day, eager to work for anyone
willing to give him a job.

Michael’s perseverance paid off. After three months of residence at the
shelter, Michael found a full time job in a local warehouse. Now
employed, Michael applied for admission to a transitional housing
program. Shelter staff assisted Michael through the application process.
He was accepted and relocated from the shelter.

Michael continues to thrive. He works a full-time job and reports that
he is slowly replenishing his savings. Michael plans to remain in the
transitional housing program until he is able to once again afford his own
apartment. He credits his time at Catholic Charities’ St. Lucy’s Shelter
with providing him an opportunity to get back on his feet and move
beyond his temporary setback.

MJ’s Story: Supported Employment

MJ, an unemployed 32-year-old woman with a history of mental illness,
came to Catholic Charities Supported Employment program in Jersey
City looking for help in finding employment as a cashier, security guard,
or clerical worker. She had been last employed in 2005. MJ was
diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 1998 resulting in several
hospitalizations - the last being in 2008. She was prohibited from seeing
her children and faced the possibility of losing all parental rights. MJ was
receiving mental health services at a local hospital program. She also had
a history of substance abuse and there was a history of mental illness in
her family. She graduated from the adult learning center in Hudson

Catholic Charities Supported Employment staff worked with MJ to
develop a realistic employment plan in the retail industry, as a
maintenance worker or sales person. She came to the office regularly to
complete on-line applications and was accompanied by the program job
coaches to interviews and job searches. Even though this process took
several months, with the assistance of program staff, she never wavered
in her pursuit to obtain employment.

MJ is now successfully employed as a part-time maintenance worker for
a social service agency. She enjoys her job and her co-workers speak
highly of her.

Staff provides follow-along assistance (job coaching and other
community support) to MJ as she continues to participate in the world
of work.

Mr. Z’s Story: Bergen County Care Management

Mr. Z, age 84, lives alone and has dementia. His only relative lives hundreds of
miles away. In the past year he lost a substantial amount of weight and his
driver’s license was taken away. He was referred to Catholic Charities’ Care
Management program in Bergen County.

Once services began, many positive changes occurred. Catholic Charities put in
place home health services that assist Mr. Z. with daily activities and provide
companionship and a home health aide. The agency connected him with a
home-delivered meals program that ensures he has food. Furthermore, the
care manager researched and discovered his eligibility for Veteran’s Benefits and
a pharmaceutical assistance program.

Now Mr. Z. is able to receive all of his prescriptions at a much lower price. He
is also able to utilize a full range of Veterans benefits. He would not have
known about any of these programs, if no one had stepped in to help him. Mr.
Z’s quality of life has significantly improved in the last couple of months thanks
to getting the assistance from Catholic Charities.

Nela’s Story: Little Schoolhouse

Nela, age 28, is a recent immigrant from Central America and the mother of
two children, a 5-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl. She was enrolling her
daughter in Catholic Charities Little Schoolhouse, a preschool program in
Elizabeth, and began a conversation with the Center’s Family Worker. She
began to cry.

Nela explained that she recently married her young daughter’s father, who is
not the father of her son. He was abusive to her and her son and she didn’t
know what to do. She said that her husband doesn’t give her son any attention
and complains that he doesn’t want her son in the house. She also explained
that her visa was soon to expire and she didn’t know how to renew it.

Nela agreed to work on the problems with the Family Worker. After accepting
a referral to Catholic Charities’ Immigration Assistance program, she indicated
she wanted to leave her abusive husband. She and her children temporarily
moved in with a friend and filed for a restraining order. The Family Worker is
assisting her in finding a new, permanent place to live and will remain someone
Nela can contact for further help.

Pat and Kathy’s Story: Family Resource Center

Pat and Kathy (34 years old and 40 years old, respectively) are the
parents of two children, ages four and two. They were referred to
Catholic Charities Family Resource Center in Jersey City for services
following incidents of child abuse and domestic violence.

The family became involved with the Division of Youth and Family
Services (DYFS) because of allegations of domestic violence. Pat was
accused of physically abusing Kathy following a Valentine’s Day
argument. He was charged, found guilty, and served four months in jail.
The children were removed from the home to temporary foster care
while Kathy worked to find permanent housing. After Pat got out of jail,
he and Kathy enrolled in the services needed to get the family reunited.
He completed substance abuse treatment and tested negative for all
substances.   Together they completed couples counseling, anger
management classes, and parenting classes. The children were returned
to them and they continued services with Catholic Charities to further
work on parenting skills using an in-home parenting curriculum. Their
DYFS case was closed.

Currently, Pat is actively looking for a job and is facing the same
struggles as anyone with a family to support. Kathy hopes to return to
school and prepare herself for work once both children start attending
school full time. They have weathered a terrible family crisis and have
emerged with a more hopeful vision for their future.

Paul’s Story: Franciska Residence

Paul is 25-years old and is HIV positive. When Paul told his parents
about his diagnosis, he was asked to leave home. Paul spent his nights at
the homes of various friends while he worked and attended college
classes during the day.

Paul was introduced to Catholic Charities’ Franciska Residence by a
friend who knew of Paul’s recent homelessness. Franciska Residence
provides transitional shelter and related support services for HIV-
positive men. Paul moved into the residence soon after.

While there, Paul continued to attend school and work part-time. He
was provided three meals a day and had access to facility staff 24-hours
a day, seven days a week to assist him as he got back on his feet. Paul
thrived at Franciska. He was able to focus on his studies, was offered a
full-time position by his employer, and started saving money for his own
apartment. Despite a busy schedule, Paul participated in the various
activities at the residence and was always quick to offer an encouraging
word to his housemates.

Paul maintained contact with his family and supported them in their
efforts to learn about his illness. They invited him to return home;
however, he gratefully declined. In his time with Catholic Charities, Paul
was able to save enough money to move into his own one-bedroom

He frequently returns to Franciska to visit with residents and staff. He
has completed a four-year degree, continues to work
full-time, and recently informed staff that he intends to apply for
graduate school.

Sofia’s Story: Bergen Co. Care Management

Sofia is 94-year-old Bergen County resident who has been living alone
since her spouse passed away ten years ago. Recently, she started to
experience a decline in some functional abilities, such as walking and
seeing. Losing her independence was terrifying to her. Her financial and
physical problems grew and she did not know how to cope with it on
her own.

A care manager from Catholic Charities Care Management Program in
Bergen County made a home visit to evaluate Sofia and formulate the
plan to assist her. She was referred to in-home mental health
counseling due to her progressing anxiety and depression. Sofia was
also enrolled in a home health care program and now has a home health
aide three times per week to assist her with personal care and basic
daily chores.

In addition, Sofia had high prescription bills. The care manager enrolled
her in pharmaceutical assistance program and now her bills are reduced
significantly. Sofia was referred to programs for home energy assistance
program and home delivered meals.

Furthermore, Sofia had hard time entering and exiting the house due to
the front steps. However, with the help of Catholic Charities, she had a
ramp installed at no cost to her, and enjoys the freedom and safety
improved mobility provides.

With services in place, the Catholic Charities’ care manger visits Sofia
every three months to check on her level of care and calls every month
to make sure she is stable. Sofia is now successful in maintaining her
independence and remains in her house.

Sophia’s Story: Family Resource Center

Sophia is a 14-year-old girl who resides with her mother and three
siblings, ages 12 to 10. The family was referred to Catholic Charities
Family Resource Center (FRC) in Jersey City because of sexual abuse
allegations Sophia made against her mother’s boyfriend.

Prior to the referral Sophia had been very moody and would take her
resentment out on her siblings. During counseling sessions Sophia
worked on her anger and participated in family sessions focusing on
positive communications. The family also participated in the FRC
Healing Arts Program in which they were able work together on a
family art project. They also worked cooperatively to better organize
their household (e.g., chore charts, behavior charts, and consequences
and reward systems).

After success with these interventions, Sophia decided she wanted to
work on addressing the sexual abuse allegations. She was able to open
up and confront her emotions directly. She and her mother began
spending more quality time together.

The family is now able to function better as a unit and Sophia’s behavior
has improved, with mood swings and anger towards her family occurring
infrequently. With the support of extended family members and each
other, this family is making great strides.

At the present time, Sophia is in the 8th grade. She participates in the
Family Resource Center’s Teen Enrichment Program, attending
bi-weekly group meetings that focus on life skills and job preparation.
Through the efforts of the program she will be working as a volunteer
at a local day care center.

Teri’s Story: School Social Work

Teri is a 6-year-old kindergartener who was referred by her principal to
Catholic Charities School Social Work Program because of the
behavioral problems she was exhibiting. She seemed highly stressed and
avoided eye contact. She went from being expressionless to
antagonistic. Her teacher reported that Teri was highly disruptive in the
classroom and made strange noises.

Teri’s communication skills were poor. If her demands were not
fulfilled instantly, she threw a tantrum. In addition, she did not socialize
with other students, did not want to be touched by them, and did not
follow rules. Teri’s parents indicated they did not know of any medical
condition that could be contributing to the behavior.

Teri began regular counseling sessions with the Catholic Charities
School Social Worker. Although incidents continued, the counseling
relationship began to prove beneficial. Teri progressed from classroom
visits only, to the counseling room, to drawing, to playing with a doll
house, which she enjoyed immensely. She began to play with it by
herself and engage in imaginary dialogue with the play characters. She
became more engaged in the therapeutic relationship, began to follow
directions, and learned to handle changes without throwing a tantrum.
In general, she became more cooperative.

Her parents were engaged in the treatment and taught how to reinforce
positive communication. A requested Child Study Team evaluation
concluded that Teri had Asperger's Syndrome and she began receiving
needed special educational services.

Tiesha’s Story: SAIF

Tiesha is a 24-year-old woman with two children. She was referred to the
Catholic Charities’ Supportive Assistance for Individuals and Families Program
(SAIF). SAIF is a publicly-funded program that provides intensive case
management services for long-term welfare recipients to help move them into
employment and self-sufficiency.

Tiesha had no child support and felt overwhelmed with the responsibility of
supporting herself and her children on her own. Her SAIF case manager
worked intensively with her to develop confidence and take the practical steps
needed to accomplish her goals. Together they prepared Tiesha for job
interviews and updated her resume. They reviewed and discussed job listings.
Following four weeks of job interview training, Tiesha began to contact
prospective employers.

After three months of filing applications, she got an interview with a company.
The training she received paid off. She felt confident as she answered the
questions posed by the interviewer. She felt that she did well in the interview.
Two weeks later, she received a call and was offered a full-time position. Tiesha
called Catholic Charities’ SAIF case worker and said, “Thank you for
transforming my tears of depression to tears of joy.”

TR’s Story: Child Protective Services

TR is a 12-year-old boy living in Union County. His family was referred
to Catholic Charities’ Child Protective Service program for counseling
due to the child’s excessive absences from school. His parents
frequently argued and his father was verbally abusive and used illegal
drugs. His parents were also facing a foreclosure.

TR had been removed from his parent’s custody by DYFS and was
residing with his older brother. While living with his brother TR’s
school attendance and academics improved significantly. Nonetheless, he
still wanted to be reunited with his parents.

Both parents completed the Parenting Skills training that was offered at
Catholic Charities. They demonstrated their understanding of effective
parenting and were able to establish a plan for improvement, upon TR’s

They actively participated in domestic violence prevention services and
attended couples counseling in order to improve their relationship.

TR’s parents found an apartment in the area near TR’s brother so as to
not disturb his progress in his new school.

Visitations were observed to ensure the parents were applying the
parenting skills that they learned. Both parents were able to calmly assist
their child and communicate with one another with ease and respect
during interactions that were previously identified as stressful.

All of the family members made great progress during their work with
Catholic Charities. The parents expressed their willingness to continue
counseling to maintain family stability. TR was returned to their custody.

Ways to Help the Work of Catholic Charities

The stories in this booklet are but a few of the many
thousands of stories of people served each day by the staff
and volunteers of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of
Newark. The support we receive from people concerned
about creating a society of hope and justice is indispensable
in helping us advance our mission.

Take a look at the cover of this publication one more time.
Read the list of critical social goals we enthusiastically
pursue because of our faith-inspired mission. If you think
these are worth an investment of your time or money,
please let us know. We encourage you to be a part of the
solution for improving the lives of the most vulnerable
people in society. Those whose stories are told on these
pages would not have had the same positive results were it
not for the partnerships Catholic Charities has been able to
forge with public and private agencies and with concerned

If you would like to find out more about volunteer
opportunities available at Catholic Charities, please call 973-
266-7978 or email cl’

If you would like to discuss the range of giving opportunities
available to you, please call our Development Office at 973-
639-6531 or visit our website at


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