In Pursuit of Opportunity by hilen

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									Addressing the Effects of Racism and Poverty

In Pursuit of Opportunity

Charities USA
ThirD QuarTer 2007 Volume 34 Number 3

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On Race and Poverty
A Conversation with Rev. Clarence Williams, CPPS

Poverty and Racism—the Latino Dimension Enfranchising New Latino Citizens

by Deacon Joe Rubio

by Deacon Joe Rubio

How Community Organizing is Empowering Latinos in Houston

Five Innovative Programs that Address Racism and Poverty
The Struggle for Hope on the Native American Reservations of Western South Dakota

From Cultural Diversity to Cultural Adversity

by Jim Kinyon

Dinner and a…Discussion on Race
by John Henry Turner

by A’Jamal Byndon

Developing Economic Security for Low-Income African Americans All of Us Must Prepare for Immigration Legalization Caregiver House
by Donna Salas by Mirna Torres

Foundation for Senior Living Aims to Improve Caregiving in Phoenix

2007 Family Strengthening Awards
Three Agencies in Ohio and Kentucky Host CCUSA Annual Gathering in Cincinnati

On the Rivers of Freedom

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Cover photo: Lauren Chelec Correction: The Second Quarter 2007 issue of Charities USA on Interfaith Partnerships was inadvertently mislabeled on the cover and the table of contents as the First Quarter 2007 issue. We apologize for the mistake. The correct reference for the issue on Interfaith Partnerships is Second Quarter 2007, Volume 34, Number 2.

President’s Column Catholic Charities USA Quarterly Update Social Policy Report Catholic Charities USA News NewsNotes Providing Help. Creating Hope.

Any publication, event, paper, or project that attempts to address the topics of racism and poverty runs the risk of overwhelming its audience. The past and the problems that continue into the present begin to seem insurmountable as we come face to face with the undeniably ugly, ignorant, and selfish side of human nature that is always present. And yet, progress is being made, people are finding a path out of poverty, and people are recovering from racism. The stories we hear of those who have changed their lives with the help of Catholic Charities are evidence of these facts. This issue of Charities USA highlights some of this life-changing work, such as the compassionate counseling and support to Native American children on reservations in South Dakota or the barrier-breaking discussions on racism in Omaha or the community organizing that is enfranchising Latinos in Houston. There is so much good happening. And it’s happening because people are making and taking opportunities to create change in their own lives and in the lives of others. When I found the image that is on our cover, I knew it was the right one. The young boy in this image does not look helpless, and he even has a hint of a smile, a spark of hope. And yet, as he looks at you with those expectant eyes, you know he needs something. He needs a chance. He needs an opportunity. And he needs a society that will take its opportunity to examine itself and address the wrongs of racism and poverty.

In Pursuit of Opportunity

Ruth Liljenquist

Managing Editor To comment on this issue of Charities USA, please write to Ruth Liljenquist at

always look forward to the Annual Gathering, when our members come together as the representatives of the Catholic Charities network to explore how to best live out our mission in the world we live in. This year, the Annual Gathering provides us with a very important focus—to keep the momentum of our campaign on poverty going. Since we launched the campaign in January, we as a network have participated in press conferences, Congressional briefings and hearings, interviews, and TV and radio broadcasts to draw attention to the poverty in our communities. We have by rev. larry snyder convened local leadership conferences, joined task forces, and sponsored community awareness events, all in the hope that our great nation will find the will to address this most serious threat to the common good. It is vitally important that we continue to strengthen and deepen this campaign. We are doing so at the Annual Gathering by focusing on a very important factor that has impeded many Americans in becoming healthy, strong, and self-sufficient. It is racism, and it is equally a threat to our common good. One of the directives of Vision 2000 challenged us to relate better to community by addressing racism, both in our own network, but in our society as well. Our focus on race and poverty at the Annual Gathering is just one of our efforts to meet this challenge. We are spending one day of our gathering in forming a national voice for those we serve as we reflect on policies related to poverty and race. Another effort to address racism began several years ago when Catholic Charities USA established the Office of Racial Equality and Diversity Initiatives. It was an important step, not just to show our commitment, but also to actually start doing something about racism. In the years since the office was established, we have accomplished much and built our capacity to do more. As many of you know, Catholic Charities USA recently appointed Rev. Clarence Williams, CPPS, as Catholic Charities USA’s new director of the Office of Racial Equality and Diversity Initiatives. Father Clarence has forged a distinguished career as a leader, advocate, and teacher in the field of race relations, and we will benefit tremendously from his experience and expertise. His passion for this work, his vision of a spiritually whole society, and his innovation in addressing race relations will help us take the next step as we seek to fulfill the directive of Vision 2000. With our campaign on poverty deepened by this year’s discussion of race and our Office of Racial Equality and Diversity Initiative strengthened by Father Clarence’s appointment, I am confident that we will be better able address racism in the world around us and take a stand for equality. a


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President’s Column
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Catholic Charities USA Quarterly Update

It is the goal of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) to help agencies provide help and create hope by supporting them through competencies in five major areas. The following is a list of recent activities of CCUSA staff on behalf of members and agencies.

4Diocesan Directors—hosted New Diocesan Directors Institute at CCUSA offices, with presentations on parish social ministry, mission integration, CCUSA resources for directors, and more. 4Social Action Summer Institute—Co-sponsored a successful gathering in conjunction with the Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors, the USCCB’s Office of Social Development and World Peace, CRS, and CCHD.

Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America 4aunched a campaign blog to disseminate information about the L Campaign, share ideas, find tools and resources, and highlight good work. 4osted a listening session in Chicago with fathers to learn more H about what issues they face and what changes they would like to see. 4ncouraged members and sponsors to speak out to their repreE sentatives, which resulted in more than 12,000 letters sent to Congress and the president urging changes that help the poor.

National Voice
4Representation—Staff participated in the following meetings or trainings on behalf of the CCUSA membership: 4Outreachers and the JustFaith Partnership 4N Rights of the Child – Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, U Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography 4National Campaign for Juvenile Justice Reform 4National Campaign for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy 4National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy 4ABA Children’s Division Work Group 4National FBI Work Group on Human Trafficking 4Adopt US Kids Work Group 4National Catholic Coalition Against Human Trafficking 4Promising Practices Working with Immigrant Children – USCCB 4President’s Drug Control Strategy Advisory Group 4SAMSHA’s National Advisory Council 4National League of Cities and UW of America EITC Conference 4National Catholic AIDS Network 4National Senior Transportation Project Advisory Council 4Annie E. Casey Foundation Conference on Family Strengthening 4merica’s Promise Regional Forum to present on poverty A campaign 4Center for Faith Based Leadership 4National Emergency Food and Shelter Board 4Policy—Conducted policy work on the following issues: federal appropriations; reauthorization of SCHIP; Medicaid; welfare (TANF); child welfare; fatherhood legislation; reauthorization of the Farm Bill; immigration; Head Start; prisoner re-entry; SSI extension; reauthorization of McKinney-Vento Act; National Housing Trust Fund; Section 8 Voucher Program; Post-Katrina housing; and IRA rollover.. 4Local Advocacy—Sent Action Alerts on federal appropriations, immigration, health care, housing, homelessness, hunger, and strengthening families. 4Monthly Policy Calls—Conducted monthly policy calls for Catholic Charities members on homelessness and housing, hunger and nutrition. 4Justice for Immigrants—Re-launched the Justice for Newcomers website as a resource on the comprehensive immigration reform debate.

Program Development
4Housing Counseling—Introduced the housing counseling program in visits to five potential agency program participants. 4Family Strengthening—Recognized four agencies with the CCUSA/ Annie E. Casey Foundation Family Strengthening Awards. 4Mission and Identity—Developed reflection papers for agency employees on topics related to the poverty campaign. 4Parish Social Ministry—Visited Rockville Centre, NY; Wilmington, DE; and San Jose, CA to gather information for the PSM Research Initiative. 4Health Care—Worked with the CCUSA Health Care Section to cosponsor an archdiocesean health care conference with Catholic Charities in Galveston-Houston.

Training and Consulting
4Leadership—Organized and hosted the week-long Leadership Institute in San Antonio, TX, for 36 attendees. 4Immigration—In conjunction with CLINIC and local agency directors, presented a series of webinars to respond to the growing needs of agencies preparing for legalization and responding to negative sentiment and local legislation. 4Board Development—Conducted Vocation of the Trustee trainings at Catholic Charities in Fresno, CA; Memphis, TN; and Las Cruces, NM. 4EITC—Hosted webinars for Catholic Charities agencies in Pennsylvania and Florida on Benefits Bank—a software system which screens for benefits and files for EITC; also facilitated a conference call with CCUSA agencies and the IRS on EITC. 4Code of Ethics—Distributed an electronic draft of the new CCUSA Code of Ethics with a survey to all members.

Financial Benefits
4Human Trafficking—Secured grant from AFC Foundation to work with Catholic Charities in Lansing, MI, on anti-trafficking efforts and victim services. 4Housing Counseling—Submitted a housing counseling program grant application for $2.3 million to HUD on behalf of 34 agencies. a

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Lauren Chelec

A Conversation with Rev. Clarence Williams, CPPS
Rev. Clarence Williams, CPPS, PhD, a long-time leader, educator, and advocate in the field of race relations and Catholic Charities USA’s new director of the Office of Racial Equality and Diversity Initiatives, recently sat down with Charities USA to discuss race and poverty in the United States.

On Race and Poverty

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Charities USA: What does “race” mean, and what exactly are we talking about when we talk about race and poverty, those two words together?

Rev. Clarence Williams: When I talk about race, I’m talking about something more than mere skin color. Race is a social construction of identity. In other words, racial identities are historically constructed by certain terms and categories to define people as privileged or not privileged. Historically, those who are privileged have been defined as white; those who are not privileged have been defined as non-white or as “other” (I use that word “other” in quotation marks to refer to someone who is other than white, or the privileged race). Because these identities are constructions, they can change over time given certain conditions. When I talk about race in relationship to poverty, I’m talking about the very real economic, political, and social consequences for those who have been defined as the “other” or the “racial other.” For example, in our country the relationship between poverty and race started historically with the disfranchisement of Native Americans, “others” who were taken off their land, which, then contributed to their on-going struggles with poverty. African slaves, also “others,” were then imported and kept in poverty, and their descendants have struggled with that legacy. So in this country, race and poverty have always been co-mingled, and a disproportionate number of people with darker complexions live in poverty. But as I mentioned, the concept of race is more than skin color. Many European immigrants were initially defined as nonwhite, and they also wrestled with endemic poverty. For example, when the Irish first came, the Protestants defined them as a different race—“the Irish race.” They were “othered,” and their racial caste was an added burden to their experience of disenfranchisement and poverty. However, over time, as they entered the middle class and moved towards the political and economic center, they became part of the collective white culture and ceased to be racial “others.” In time, the Irish were taken off the U.S. Census as a separate racial category, as well as Germans, Italians, and Jews. Today, they are no longer “other,” but white. So coming out of poverty is related to coming out of the non-white racial castes.

Coming out of poverty can undo a group’s racial otherness. At the same time, we have in our country millions of people living in poverty whose skin color we consider white. And while they are not of darker complexions, they have been defined as “other” with the term “white trash.” All these examples demonstrate the relationship between poverty and race or racialization, which is defining people as other than white.
Charities USA: Why do we have such a disproportionate number of people of color living in poverty?

Rev. Clarence Williams: I mentioned the removal of Native Americans from their lands and the importation of African slaves to this country, who were never meant to be free. The legacy of these actions has contributed to this disproportionality, but there have been more recent factors. If we go back to the Depression when most people in the United States were poor, we have the legislation of the New Deal. Included in that was the Social Security Act, but farm workers and domestic workers were excluded. So many whites were allowed Social Security and work benefits, and the majority of non-whites, who were mostly agricultural workers and domestic workers, were denied. After World War II, there were government actions that brought marginalized white ethnic groups into the mainstream. We had the G.I. Bill, which allowed men coming home from war to go to college, which they did not have access to before, and to get low-interest, zero down payment home loans. It was a tremendous opportunity to move the country from working class to middle class, and while all veterans were to benefit under the bill, in application, Negroes and Puerto Ricans were excluded due to racial attitudes, segregation, and institutional racism. Given these conditions, it was structurally impossible for Negro GIs and Puerto Rican GIs to get that college advancement, to get that housing loan, to move to the next level of development. So one group of GIs was able to move their families forward and another group was not. These two great social movements advanced working-class whites ahead, while leaving non-whites behind, resulting in the

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What is Racial Sobriety?
s Catholic Charities USA’s new director of racial empowerment and diversity initiatives, Rev. Clarence Williams, CPPS, will be sharing with the Catholic Charities network a program he developed to improve race relations and foster recovery from racism. The Racial Sobriety™ program is an information and formation process that is a tool for improving race relations by intervening in our “living under the influence” of racial thinking, feeling, and acting. The initial program aims at helping people find “their voice of racial sobriety,” their commitment to see each person as their brother and sister. The goal of racial sobriety is to be SOBER—Seeing Other as Being Entitled to Respect. Fr. Clarence describes further the process undertaken in the Racial Sobriety program: Racial Sobriety requires a self awareness that examines our prejudices in regard to another’s racial caste in society and is achieved by ridding ourselves of the “stinking thinking” of racism, which in turns frees us from racial dysfunction in our interactions with others in the human family. The term racial dysfunction describes the negative thinking, feeling, and acting on the false beliefs of racial prejudice. In other words, it is dysfunctional to see a person or group as anything other than human beings, regardless of their race, whether “race” is a matter of color, culture, creed, or class. The word dysfunction means an improper relationship. Racial dysfunction is an improper relationship with members of the same human family. In this approach, racism is viewed as a family dysfunction, with society being the “family.” Racial sobriety provides a healing process for coping with the social illness of racial dysfunction. The endless racial incidents, reported and unreported, in the American family demonstrate the pandemic scope of racial dysfunction. A personal commitment to Racial Sobriety is a desire to be free of racial dysfunction in order to become a fully functioning human being. A social commitment to racial sobriety is a desire to see everyone live in a culture of racial sobriety where each person is seen as a member of the same human family. a

disproportionality we see today. And that’s why we have affirmative action today—a government policy that recognizes that because of race, many people have been excluded and affirms that we need to do something to address the structural barriers erected in previous generations.
Charities USA: How large a role then do these systemic or structural barriers play in determining whether a non-white is poor?


Rev. Clarence Williams: That is a very important point that a recent CBS special report brought out. The report said that most groups progress at the death of their parents. That is, when you receive inheritance, you receive property, you receive a mass of capital that allows you to move to another level. When we have people that have been segregated or disenfranchised, their children inherit that loss of capital. The systematic barrier is the loss of inheritance. A recent book coming out now about the Rhode Island brothers that founded Brown University shows how people made their wealth from slavery. That wealth is passed on to the children of the slave owners, and at the same time, the lack of wealth is passed on to the children of the slaves. And that is where the language of reparations comes up. The systematic barrier is the lack of inheritance; so while some will inherit the wealth of their parents, others will inherit the poverty of their parents.
Charities USA: How do you fit the experiences of Hispanics into this? Their experience is similar and yet dissimilar to that of African Americans and Native Americans.

Rev. Clarence Williams: Hispanics come from a number of different countries, so it is difficult to speak of them collectively. The experience of Puerto Ricans, for example, whose country is part of the United States Commonwealth, often parallels the Black experience, and Mexican Americans in the Southwest also faced displacement from their lands and racial discrimination as non-whites. Cubans, on the other hand, assimilated culturally and socio-economically rather quickly. In the present day, Hispanics who are immigrants are experiencing first-generation immigration issues much like the Irish, Germans, Hungarians, and Italians did long before. They are con-

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fronting problems with the language and low-paying jobs. They are experiencing, as have previous immigrants, problems with alcoholism and other social ills that accompany being poor and socially dislocated. They have been defined as “the other” in being racialized as other than white, and as I described earlier, when you are racialized as “other,” there is discrimination in jobs and housing and around language, customs, religion, and so on.
Charities USA: There is a commonly held opinion that people who are poor should be able to “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.” What do you say to that?

and obliges you to share. It is far easier to say, “Why do they not pull themselves up by their bootstraps?” because it defends their denial and social collusion with the status quo.
Charities USA: What did the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans reveal about the intersection of race and poverty?

Rev. Clarence Williams: When people say poor people need to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” it’s just sound bite stuff and not what I call civil conversation, which is a dialogue or discourse that is not done under the influence of anger, hype, or confrontation but is conducted with a tone of civility. People who say this have no sense of history, no knowledge of how things really work. I do not know any ethnic group that has pulled itself out of poverty. The G.I. bill was a handout. So was Social Security and welfare and the just wage. They paved a way out of poverty for millions of people. Catholic Charities agencies today are paving the same road that was given to others through all kinds of education, training, support, and empowerment programs. No one progressed on his or her own. They did it with the help of those who labored for their racial equality alongside other people who had white status and forced the political will to be enfranchised. Something also needs to be said about privilege, which enables people to access socioeconomic status. The nature of privilege is that it is unrecognized. If you are able to stand up and walk across the room, that is the privilege of good health, but we do not think about that. Once we think about the power that we have, be it in health or complexion or income or gender, it becomes a responsibility. And that is the crux of reflecting deeply on any of these issues—people deny privilege to avoid responsibility because once you do have the intelligent conversation and see the advantages you have enjoyed, the response is responsibility. Most people do not want to do this reflection because it makes you responsible

Rev. Clarence Williams: It was not the Black middle class that were stranded in New Orleans; it was the poor. Poverty and race make the difference that keeps people trapped, not their lack of work and vigilance. Most of the people trapped there, except for the elderly that were homebound, were working people and the storm came at a time when they were out of money. When we look at it from the perspective of civil conversation, however, we see that class is the big issue of Katrina. Class and color have often been synonymous, but the shanty Irish and the lace-curtain Irish and high German and low German and the non-white community and the high Hispanics and the low Latinos illustrate that class is a significant part of the picture. Unfortunately, in our country, we do not talk about class. It really gets everyone quite upset, and talking about it would really unhinge us, because we would have to look critically at what structures our society, which is our powerful upper class and, on the other end, our harried working-class, which makes the middle class want to stay right where they are. Another thing about Katrina—our Depression in the 1930s laid low 99 percent of our families, and they did not pull themselves out. The government came up with programs that pulled them out, and that is why the people looked to the government to address Katrina. Their doing so was not unusual or contrary to expectation.
Charities USA: Institutional racism has clearly contributed to the poverty of racialized groups in our country. What is the state of institutional racism today in the United States? How are we doing as a country in addressing it?

Rev. Clarence Williams: We are in various stages of recovery from the pathology of racism in regards to our institutional responses, and we have had advancements in our treatment plans

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for institutional racism because the leadership at the helm of particular institutions has addressed it within their sphere of influence. For example, the field of education has addressed racial disparity, and yet now we are witnessing racial recidivism by the very courts that set up the treatment plan. A more healthy recovery is seen in the military. Today, it is the most integrated institution of our racialized society. Also, the Catholic Church’s intentional engagement with the April 1968 charge by the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus that it was “a white racist institution” continues 40 years later. Its efforts have been progressive and sustained in bringing non-white leadership to the elite circles of decision-making so as to provide enfranchisement. Even noting these efforts, it’s important to realize that treating institutional racism is something institutions have to commit to daily because racism is a culturally conditioned disease. It is chronic and intergenerational. In 1968, the Kerner Report1 noted that racism is our nation’s most serious mental illness. Without treatment, like any pathology, it gets worse and progressively debilitates the nation as a whole. Today, even as the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King draws near, we see that racism is chronic and our racial sobriety requires daily work, communal work, and institutional work in order to construct a just society.
Charities USA: There is a significant degree of discomfort for people in talking about racism and also how it relates to poverty. They may feel that they are not part of the problem, they may feel guilty, or they may believe that racism no longer exists. How is Catholic Charities fostering constructive dialogue on this topic?

been leadership issues. They are not simply the issues of the ignorant and the lower classes. They are always issues that relate to how the elite of our institutions and society direct our lives. And when Catholic Charities, supported by so many in being their advocates to and for the poor, finds its voice for this needed conversation on race, a cultural change is on its way. Any problem that we can bring to a public conversation gets addressed. Look at how we have addressed cancer. It used to be talked about in very hushed tones. Now we talk publicly about it, we organize walks to raise awareness about it, we wear ribbons to call attention to it, and as a result of finding our voice on the issue of cancer, advancements are being made. Same with AIDS, which was also not talked about. People acted out, they acted up, and now we have these miracle drugs that will make it disappear from your system for 30 days and what-have-you. If we are going to get rid of race and poverty as social “diseases,” that is, situations which put our brothers and sisters at “dis-ease,” we have to intentionally find our voice—a voice that talks about race and works to promote its treatment to ensure a healthy and fully functioning American family. a
In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed a commission to explore the causes of urban race riots, several of which had occurred up to that point, including the Detroit riot of July 1967. Officially called the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, the commission became known as the Kerner Commission because it was led by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner. In 1968, the commission released its findings in what is known as the Kerner Report.

Rev. Clarence Williams: In launching the poverty campaign, Catholic Charities as a community has declared that it is committing to an intentional conversation about poverty that many in our society prefer not to have. Introducing race as part of the campaign against poverty will give the leadership signal to others to break the “Don’t Talk” rule regarding race relations that we find ourselves following. As a person who has been involved and committed to better race relations for four decades, I find that extremely exciting. Race issues and poverty issues have always

Rev. Clarence Williams, CPPS, has worked in the field of race relations for nearly three decades. He will now be sharing his expertise with the Catholic Charities network as Catholic Charities USA’s new director of racial equality and diversity initiatives. (See page 28.)

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Poverty and Racism—The Latino Dimension
By Deacon Joe Rubio


hat Hurricane Katrina’s angry waters did to focus national attention on the unrelenting and suffocating grip of dehumanizing poverty on the African-American poor urban dweller found comparable turbulence in the experience of millions of the Latino poor during the recent failed attempt to reform our fractured immigration laws. The Spanish-speaking community and its bipartisan advocates in the U.S. Senate moved to national center stage in the struggle to achieve legal status and to carve a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented Latinos, primarily Mexicans and Central Americans. While the abortive attempt died in the Senate, it succeeded in surfacing the extreme plight and desperate living conditions of a population living in the shadows of our national life—the poor Latino, both documented and undocumented. It also underscored our dependence on poverty wage laborers who subsidize our standard of living by building our homes, paving our highways, cooking our food, caring for our children, cleaning our offices, and so on. The spotlight on segregated housing patterns, low performing schools, unsafe work conditions, and inadequate health care, among others, revealed to a national audience an institutional racism entrapping the Latino poor that persists in our society. Economically, Latinos rank near the bottom on all significant measurements of poverty. 4Along with African Americans and Native Americans, Latinos are three times as likely to experience poverty as whites. At least one-fifth (22 percent) of all Latinos live in poverty, generally concentrated in the barrios of major cities but also present in rural agricultural communities. 4Children of color, including Latinos, reflect the highest poverty rates. African Americans now account for 33 percent and Latinos for 28 percent. 4White families have a net worth ten times that of

Latino and African American families. Between 1998 and 2001, the wealth of white families grew by 20 percent, but declined for families of color. 4Nearly 50 percent of Latino children who enter high school fail to graduate. The number has been consistent for several decades. Unfortunately, the immigration reform debate also gave public expression to a long thinly veiled racism expressed in cruel words and epithets, now broadcast and amplified by modern media, especially talk radio and Internet blogs. At best, the flawed bill offered an amendable starting point on the road to comprehensive reform. The bill’s catchall nature and a weakened presidency, however, proved to be its Achilles’ heel. The initiative fell short of generating sufficient public outcry for reform to offset nativist fury. Poll after prestigious national poll reflected how a majority of Americans favored reform, but enough senators on both sides of the aisle succumbed to the deluge of anti-immigrant e-mails. This was not the first time in our history that anti-Latino feelings demeaned this population’s contributions to our nation’s well being or voiced a shrill demand for deportation of millions of persons. “They are disposable,” one official told the press as the Great Depression deepened in the 1930s. As a boy growing up in one of El Paso’s poor barrios, I remember parents recounting stories of terrifying immigration raids that swooped down on Latino work sites and homes from 1929 throughout the next decade. Border agents hauled away 1.2 million suspected undocumented persons of Mexican descent, leaving newly orphaned “migra” children and widows in their wake. The captured were spirited straight to waiting trains bound for Mexico without differentiation between the native born and undocumented person. Birth certificates, “green” cards, and citizenship papers often remained buried for years in bureau drawers and chests while citizens struggled to return home. Some never did.

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Enfranchising New Latino Citizens
By Deacon Joe Rubio
promising response to the failed Senate immigration debate is now taking shape as waves of Latinos begin raising their hands in federal courthouses across the country to swear allegiance to the red, white, and blue. Their citizenship is the focus of an emerging grass roots movement to promote naturalization, register new voters in the nation’s barrios, and turn them out for the 2008 presidential election—and beyond. Both the newly enfranchised and the freshly empowered native U.S citizens of Latino heritage, spurred on by the sound and fury of the immigration debate, are expected to vote in record numbers. Many long-time legal residents previously found the process intimidating or saw no urgent reason to proceed with naturalization in a friendly environment. The prolonged immigration debate provided an invaluable civics lesson. The National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), an activist organization of over 9,000 local, state, and federal office holders, predicts that Latino voters could swing key electoral states including California, Colorado, and Florida. And Latinos now are present in the great majority of states. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has teamed with NALEO, the Houston Mayor’s Office of Immigration and Refugee Assistance, League of United Latin American Citizens, Neighborhood Centers, Inc, and other nonprofits to qualify Latinos for naturalization using mass education events throughout the Houston metropolitan area. Federal induction ceremonies now routinely administer the oath to a thousand or more diverse persons, including many long-time Latino residents who attended the workshops to demystify the procedure and receive personalized assistance. The citizenship initiative in the Houston-Galveston area depends for its success in part on intensive congregationbased organizing among the area’s Latinos, a population characterized by extended families, parish loyalty, and a deep sense of community. Catholic congregations offer a fertile community-organizing venue for professional organizers such as those tutored in the Houston area by the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) and others. Under the national leadership of the renown Ernesto Cortez, IAF organizers begin with house meetings where neighbors share concerns about issues affecting their lives—housing, education, tax inequities, social welfare, health care, State Children’s Health Insurance Program, etc. Problems are vetted at several levels until priorities emerge and are adopted as action items. The emphasis is on action. With the expert tutelage of the organizers, residents take center stage, researching the issues, drafting position papers, presenting problems and solutions to community influentials, and presiding at accountability sessions where elected officials must unequivocally state their positions on the issues. The process works well. For example, in less than three years of formal activity, the IAF’s Galveston County Interfaith group, based at Catholic Charities in Galveston, exposed educational disparities in minority communities; assisted with evacuation of the frail and elderly from Galveston as Hurricane Rita threatened the island; worked with the area’s petrochemical industry to improve relationships with fearful communities in the wake of a deadly plant explosion; and joined in successful legislative advocacy to halt adoption of punitive immigration laws. The political landscape is about to change for the better as the nation’s Latinos and their allies discover the benefits of responsible citizenship through community organization. a
Laura Sikes

How Community Organizing is Empowering Latinos in Houston


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Unlike the well-documented illegal internment of 150,000 Japanese-Americans in World War II, the history books are generally silent about the unconstitutional deportation of over a million persons of Mexican descent. An attempt to seek reparations for deportees failed as recently as 2003. Forced deportations of once highly recruited agricultural and commercial workers were not uncommon in the 19th and 20th centuries. Previous mass deportations took place in Texas in 1850, 1856, 1870, and 1915. Urban deportation in the 1930s was fueled by intense local anti-Mexican campaigns and coordinated statewide efforts. It was not restricted to the Lone Star State. Deportation as a purported remedy for immigration woes came full circle in the recent Congressional debate. Today, we hear strident demands for the mass deportation of 10 to 12 million undocumented persons. Fearing the cost and feasibility of a mass exodus, other proponents, including a candidate for president, favor a strategy forcing volunteer deportations by withholding employment, housing, education, health services, and other benefits from the undocumented. Either approach will ensnare legal residents and citizens who happen to be Latino, especially the poor. For example, an innovative and successful program of bilingual education for all children in Texas may fall by the wayside under legislative attack from a block of nativist legislators. Congress’ failure to address and resolve a broken immigration system may preface a punitive period that will only make life harder for the poor Latino. The signs are aplenty. A spate of punitive city ordinances and legislative initiatives aimed at undocumented persons is growing; local police departments are assuming immigration duties without the benefit of adequate training; and funding for local health and human service programs are imposing expensive citizen verification policies. Add to that mix cutbacks in essential health and human service programs. More than one wall is being erected. America’s tragic history of racism and prejudice is often told in black and white terms. It must now reflect a decidedly sepia tone as our immigrant nation summons the political will to admit the Spanish-speaking native to full citizenship and to welcome the Latino stranger—or not. a
Deacon Joe Rubio is vice president for parish relations and advocacy for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
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Five Innovative Programs Address Racism and Poverty

Gallup Creates Opportunity Through Art
By Sr. Maureen Houlihan, DC


allup, a town in Northwest New Mexico, has always been dependent on Native American artists for its economic base. And yet, this dependency has not ensured economic success to Native artists, who have been exploited by wholesalers and dealers selling at discounted prices. Because of the abundance of fake and genuine Native art in Gallup, most artists do not receive a fair marketable rate for their work and do not make enough to support themselves. Widespread poverty, poor education, domestic violence, alcoholism, isolation, and depression have caused many difficulties. Sister Betty Marie Dunkel and Sister Mary Frate, two Daughters of Charity who administered Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gallup until 2005, witnessed the long standing exploitation and poverty of Native artists and wanted to find some way to change things. Out of their vision grew the Native Hands Co-op, established in 2004, which assists Native artists in producing their artwork and counters the exploitation by authenticating the art, enabling artists to demand a fair price for their work. The Catholic


Indian Center and Catholic Charities have been renovated to create space for a silversmithing studio, computer lab, and shop area. The Co-op now provides space for artisans to create their pottery and jewelry and workshops for improving techniques, marketing and pricing their art, and managing their finances. Carlton Jamon, an accomplished and successful Zuni silversmith, was hired to manage the Co-op in 2004. The Co-op has evolved slowly, making small but significant steps. Trust between members, some of whom have been fearful that others might steal their ideas, has increased, and with the word spreading from members who have benefited from being in the Co-op, membership has steadily increased. There are now 400 members, from the Navajo, Zuni, Hopi, Laguna, Acoma, Lakota and Apache nations. In evaluating the Co-op after three years, artists have expressed how much the services and work space have helped. Traveling the long distances from the reservations to Gallup is expensive and difficult, and artists appreciate the opportunity to work in the studio and then sell their art to buyers. Some artists who have to fill large orders now have needed space and equipment. Because most of the artists previously worked alone, they have been surprised at how much they enjoy being with other artists. Some of the artists are couples that work together in the studio. Others are single mothers and grandmothers. They appreciate having space for their young children and grandchildren to play while they are working. The Co-op continues to evolve under Carlton’s direction. He works individually with artists, making recommendations, training them to use the equipment, and showcasing their work by selling it on consignment in the shop. To encourage wider participation, Carlton has recently established an advisory group made up of artists, who are now working on a handbook for members and volunteering their expertise at local art shows. While poverty and exploitation still abound in Gallup, the Co-op is providing Native artists with the resources necessary to turn their artistic skills into a livelihood for themselves and their families.
Sr. Maureen Houlihan, DC, directs activities at the Catholic Indian Center in Gallup, NM. To view the art work of Co-op Members, visit

St. Anne’s Takes a Family Approach to Literacy
By Christine Hardy

ince October 2005, St. Anne’s, an organizational member of Catholic Charities USA in Los Angeles, has been helping entire families embrace learning through their Family Literacy Program. St. Anne’s provides residential care and communitybased services to at-risk young adults, pregnant and parenting adolescents and their children. Based on the principle that the parent is the child’s first and most influential teacher, St. Anne’s Family Literacy Program promotes young children’s school readiness as well as life-enhancement skills for the entire family. Up to 39 families participate, the majority of whom are women and children of color. Many of the families live at St. Anne’s Transitional Housing Program, while others are families of children attending St. Anne’s Early Learning Center and live in the surrounding community. Children and parents work with a St. Anne’s Family Advocate, who creates a personalized plan to track progress while providing them with learning resources, materials and support to improve reading, writing, language, health, and overall life skills. The Family Literacy program includes four components: 4Adult Education specifically addresses the parents’ academic or educational goals and needs by helping them get continuing adult education and/or vocational training. The program pays for necessary


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fees as well as costs of required materials, and Family Advocates help with registration paperwork and monitor and evaluate progress along the way. 4Early Childhood Education is designed to help young children’s growth and development, as well as engage parents and foster meaningful involvement in the child’s developmental process. Families participate in activities which help promote healthy physical, social, emotional, cognitive and language development. 4Parent Education provides opportunities for parents to recognize their own strengths and resources, as well as further develop parenting skills. This is accomplished via in-home visits with hands-on instruction and demonstrations on how to create a home environment conducive to learning. Also, weekly parenting classes are held at St. Anne’s where parents can learn strategies to stimulate, encourage, and nurture child development. 4Parent and Child Time reinforces the other aspects of the program and encourages a variety of parentchild experiences. St. Anne’s provides regular field trips to places such as libraries, museums, and parks. Parents also learn how to plan and implement their own learning-focused experiences with their children. “Families that participate will have children who are better prepared for school and will be better equipped to encourage and support learning throughout the child’s school years. They will also have the resources and supports necessary to address their own educational goals,” says Dr. Bree Davis, who oversees the program. Made possible via a partnership with First 5 LA, a unique child advocacy organization created by California voters that uses tobacco tax revenues to fund programs throughout Los Angeles County, St. Anne’s Family Literacy Program not only addresses parent and child learning needs, but goes beyond to enable community engagement, and ultimately helps break the cycle of low educational achievement and poverty.
For more information about St. Anne’s programs, please visit

Laura Sikes

Fort Worth Addresses Disproportionality in Foster Care
By Erinn Hall


isproportionality is a term that describes the overrepresentation of a particular race or cultural group in a particular program or system. In the Texas child welfare system, a higher rate of African-American children are removed from their homes, a lower percentage are successfully reunited with their families, and a higher percentage age out of foster care. Yet the percentage of African-American children in foster care does not represent the percentage in the population. In Tarrant County, almost 40 percent of children entering foster care are African-American despite the fact that African-American children represent only 16 percent of the child population. Catholic Charities Diocese of Fort Worth, Inc. has addressed the growing injustice and poverty of African-American children in the foster care system in our community through the Disproportionality Program, a unique collaboration between Catholic Charities, Texas Christian University, Tarrant County Child Protective Services, and the Amon G. Carter Foundation. The goals of the program are to reduce the number of African-American children entering foster care by providing services that strengthen families and reduce risk and by establishing and supporting kinship placements. If children are already in foster care, the program aims to reduce the time in foster care by establishing kinship placements

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Our Daily Bread Employment Center
New Baltimore Center to Focus on Reducing Poverty
n May, Catholic Charities in Baltimore dedicated its newly constructed Our Daily Bread Employment Center (OBDEC), the city’s comprehensive resource center designed to help people escape poverty through employment and stable housing. ODBEC houses a daily hot meal program, a residential program for formerly homeless men aimed at employment and permanent housing; and a program that enables formerly incarcerated men to successfully reintegrate into the community. The Center also provides case management and an array of services by Catholic Charities as well as partner providers, including eviction prevention services, emergency and referral services, full job development and placement, adult basic education, recovery support, assistance with criminal background issues, access to computers and telephones, mail distribution, and workshops on home ownership, financial literacy and healthy relationships. “We are writing the ultimate turnaround story here,” said Harold A. Smith, executive director of Catholic Charities in Baltimore. “Those who are supporting us in this bold effort recognize that providing opportunities for people to turn from lives mired in chronic poverty to lives of self reliance through employment and stable housing is worth this investment.” “We all have significant challenges in our lives. But we all don’t have the same opportunities,” continued Smith. “ODBEC represents society’s best effort to offer opportunities for people to help themselves out of a life of poverty.” a

and providing services that facilitate the children’s return to their parents. In order to address this growing problem of disproportionality, we knew that we needed to understand its causes. A large contributing factor is poverty, not just for parents, but also for kinship families that take in their children’s children (or other family placements) to raise as their own. Through case management, we teach budgeting skills and offer referrals and encouragement to parents and kinship families to seek education, job training, or employment. We especially seek to empower kinship families and provide them with resources such as affordable childcare, so they do not become overburdened with the additional costs and stressors of kinship care. In 2006, Catholic Charities of Fort Worth began offering an Effective Black Parenting (EBP) course, kinship support groups, and other services through the Disproportionality Program. The EBP program is the first culturally-adapted parenting skillbuilding program for African-American families in the nation. It is an evidence-based program that teaches several parenting strategies that are unique to parents of African-American children and presents them within the values and cultural goals of the AfricanAmerican community. The program staff is African-American, which is unique and vital to the success of the program. Since beginning the program in 2006, 100 percent of the children involved have been able to remain in their family circles and not enter the foster care system. The Disproportionality Program helps us give the hope of a future to a generation of children who otherwise may have been separated from their families and lost in a system, will little hope of overcoming the trauma and abuse of their past. With a supported and supportive kinship family, these children have a hope of brighter future and a better chance for a life free of poverty.
Erinn Hall is associate director of marketing and public relations for Catholic Charities Diocese of Fort Worth, Inc.


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Cleveland’s Housing Initiative Paves Way to Homeownership
By Mary Lou Wellman


ew beginnings occur in different ways. For Richard and Barbara Moody, a new beginning has meant working toward home ownership after just one year of marriage, thanks to a housing initiative of Cleveland Catholic Charities in Ohio. The Nativity Housing Initiative (NHI) in Lorain, OH, is a unique program that helps low- to moderate-income families achieve economic self-sufficiency, secure a more stable life, and accumulate assets by facilitating homeownership. Catholic Charities owns 18 new single family homes built on vacant lots in downtown Lorain, a community of 70,000 in Lorain County, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in Ohio. Families in the NHI program lease these homes at reduced rates for at least 15 years, at which time they are given the option to purchase their homes for significantly lower than market value. During the 15 years, the families participate in intensive case management to help them become self-sufficient and prepare for homeownership. Richard, 37, a train engineer, and his wife, Barbara, 48, a site manager for a local mental health agency, are active participants in the Nativity Housing Initiative, one of the 18 families benefiting from the Nativity Housing program and one of several minority families on the path to homeownership. The hard-working couple took an active role in seeding their lawn, and they are maintaining it using skills learned in a class at a local DIY store. In addition, they are actively engaged with the Lorain Police Department in developing a neighborhood watch group. Each family in the NHI program works with a case manager to develop an individual plan based on strengths. The case manager encourages families to recognize their strengths, anticipate problems before they appear, develop realistic and attainable goals with back-up plans in place for emergencies, and take the initiative to make things happen for themselves, thereby gaining confidence in their ability to be self-sufficient. As families achieve goals in their individual case plans, they are rewarded with recognition and praise.

The NHI is also designed to help families increase their economic security via better employment opportunities and education. The case manager empowers the families by identifying their individual needs and linking them with resources to meet them. Families have been linked with adult education programs, GED programs, the Workforce Development Agency for résumé assistance and job re-training, and various support groups. They are also encouraged to explore higher wage opportunities. As necessary, families may participate in meal programs, parenting classes, and other family strengthening programs and services at the nearby Catholic Charities Family Center in Lorain. The case manager may also refer them to services provided within Catholic Charities or in the community that will help them become more self-sufficient. Catholic Charities believes children do well when their families and the neighborhoods in which they reside thrive. The NHI promotes the development and demonstration of: positive relationships within the neighborhood and community; pro-social behaviors; appreciation for the importance of an education for their children and themselves; and a strong work ethic. The Nativity Housing Initiative provides families like the Moodys with much more than a valuable asset. It provides a home, a community, and a future.
Mary Lou Wellman is the director of the Nativity Housing Initiative in Lorain, OH.

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Boston Helps Immigrants Overcome Linguistic and Cultural Barriers
By Christopher Millis


acial discrimination has been the experience of countless first-generation immigrants to the United States. Nativism is certainly one reason, but quite often linguistic and cultural differences contribute to misperceptions that lead to discrimination in all arenas—housing, education, and employment. The English for Employment (EFE) program at Catholic Charities El Centro del Cardenal in Boston aims to help nonnative speakers of English improve their language ability and learn job skills so that they can find and maintain employment. But there is a lot more to the program, I have learned, than that. I recently joined Catholic Charities as the new EFE teacher and case manager. I was well prepared for the major components of my position—teaching literacy and job readiness skills to non-native speakers of English. I was also equipped for my other role of advocate, helping the Latina women in my class, mostly single mothers and all on public assistance, navigate the bureaucracies that determine whether their children go to summer camp, or their train fare gets reimbursed, or their electric bill gets paid. What I wasn’t prepared for was the largely unspoken element of my job, what I call acculturation. Talk to any teacher, social worker, or administrator about the difficulty of working with women like the ones in my class, and you soon hear a refrain of legitimate, seemingly intractable complaints, beginning with how they don’t show up on time for appointments and don’t advocate for themselves. There’s no denying those truths, but what I’m learning is that their meaning may not be what we might immediately assume. The same student, for instance, who shows up a half hour after class has begun (having awakened at 6 a.m., fed and dressed and delivered two children to school, and then traveled an hour on public transportation) thinks nothing of wanting to work through our lunch break or keeping us after class. Similarly, the same woman who demurely accepts the Department of Transitional Assistance’s assertion that there’s no transportation money available to cover her travel expenses needs only to be told once by

her EFE teacher that such funding does exist for the reimbursement to materialize. The Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Salvadorian immigrant women in my class are perfectly unlike most Bostonians: they come from communities of intricately extended families and generations of established friends, who, at home and at work, take no particular umbrage at tardiness and involve themselves in the life dramas of those to whom they are connected. For most of us Boston locals, “community” is a word we use to describe the neighborhoods where our parents grew up more than to describe our own current situations. That lack of connectedness—that sense of living among strangers rather than among our friends and family— may go far to explain why our culture dictates that we show up promptly for our appointments and why we grow accustomed to a subtle and ubiquitous guardedness. Helping these women speak English intelligibly, read with comprehension, and understand job expectations gives them a much better hope of finding and keeping employment and eventually becoming self-sufficient. I’m hoping that by understanding the nature of the divide between our languages and cultures, my students and I can learn to build the bridges we need. a
Christopher Millis is the teacher of the English for Employment program at Catholic Charities El Centro del Cardenal in Boston.

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From Cultural Diversity to Cultural Adversity
The Struggle for Hope on the Native American Reservations of Western South Dakota
By Jim Kinyon


few million tourists come to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota each year to see Mount Rushmore and experience the “Wild West.” Fish and wild game are abundant, and the views of the mountains and wide open spaces are breathtaking. Yet, with all this natural beauty and western romance, discord looms in South Dakota. Most visitors and many local people do not acknowledge the cultural diversity within the boundaries of the state, nor do they understand the many complexities that can accompany such differences. No one knows when “diversity” became synonymous with “adversity” among the Native American population of South Dakota, although many forces throughout the history of the state could have been the underlying catalysts. Perhaps the discord

began when the pioneers came to settle this great state, or when Native Americans were confined to reservation lands. Or maybe it started as recently as the 1970s. Whatever the circumstances, it is difficult to identify the first brick placed in the wall separating Native Americans from faith, hope, and opportunity. What is not difficult to assess is the outcome of the underlying battle between the positive impact of cultural diversity and the negative reality experienced by Native people living in adverse conditions on the reservations in South Dakota. While most of the reservations in South Dakota are among the top 30 poorest counties in the nation according to census data, the most prominent of these is the Pine Ridge reservation, which covers almost 3,500 square miles of land. It is the eighth largest

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 Left: A CSS counselor works with a young Native American girl through art therapy.

reservation in the United States, larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Yet, from an economic stand point, life on the Pine Ridge reservation is comparable to life in the underdeveloped countries of the Third World. In 1999, the average annual per capita income on the reservation was $3,800 and unemployment hovered around 85 percent. These factors and others contribute to a chain of destruction, much like dominoes crashing over on top of each other. The teenage suicide rate is four times the national average, and the infant mortality rate is among the highest in the nation. Many families live in substandard houses and have no utilities. The high school drop out rate for many high schools on the reservations exceed 50 percent, teen pregnancy rates are off the charts, and over 80 percent of Native American high school students have smoked marijuana. Therefore, it should come as no great surprise that Native Americans living in these conditions have the shortest life expectancies among any group in the Western Hemisphere. It should also come as no surprise that we at Catholic Social Services (CSS) of Western South Dakota are battling in the front lines to overcome overwhelming odds. We have done many things through the years to help a struggling population believe in themselves and give them hope for a better life. I joined the agency in 1992, when I was 28 years old. My first assignment was to try and assess the needs of families in the region. As a third generation South Dakotan, I had heard stories about what life was like on the “rez.” The Catholic school I attended as a boy even celebrated Native American Day, which is South Dakota’s version of Columbus Day. I had also attended a powwow or two while growing up, so I really thought I had a strong grasp of the culture. However, growing up and living close to several reservations did little to prepare me to lead CSS of Western South Dakota. I began by trying to determine the needs of the families in the 43,000 square miles of Western South Dakota. I intended to meet with pastors, social service providers, and school officials. However, my plan took a u-turn when I met with Father Bill Pauly, SJ, pastor of the Catholic parish in Pine Ridge. After formalities were exchanged, I, with my 28 years of wisdom, made the mistake of

my life—I claimed to serve the poor. Father Paul firmly corrected me and told me that I should never claim to serve the poor in South Dakota until I opened an office on the reservation. He further said that CSS was clueless about the needs of Native families and directed me to meet the Native people where they live. This was the beginning of my battle with cultural adversity. Per Father Pauly’s request, Sister Julie of the Pine Ridge parish agreed to take me on her pastoral rounds the following week. We drove around for what seemed like hours, meeting inspiring community and spiritual leaders, before pulling up to a small house at the end of a narrow dirt road. I saw that the windows were broken and that the front door was barely hanging on its hinges. Off to the side were a couple of wrecked vehicles that were up on blocks. I thought to myself, “It’s not so bad.” I had seen many such houses both on and off the reservations in South Dakota. It was not until I stepped out of the car that reality hit me. It was awful! I remember hearing the screams of a baby in pain as Sister Julie and I began walking to the front door. We were greeted by a 5-year-old little boy. He let us inside, and I just stood there in shock. On the floor was a 2-year-old little girl with fecal matter running down her legs and a painful rash around her little belly. As I looked around the room, I saw empty alcohol bottles and several adults, who were passed out from what I assumed to be a drinking binge the night before. I remember that Sister Julie turned to the little boy and gently asked him to get his big sister. Within minutes, the boy returned with his 13-year-old sister who had spent the night in what was probably a safer environment. After cleaning up the little girl and feeding the children, we left the house with plans to contact Child Protective Services. As we got into the car, my shock quickly turned to rage, and a series of expletives poured out of my mouth right in front of Sister Julie as we drove down the road. Sister Julie calmly pulled the car over a short distance from the house and then looked at me with very determined eyes and said, “You have a right to be angry at the parents and all those who allow this to go on, but you have no right to allow your anger to afford you the luxury of being indifferent to the needs of that little girl. You are the director of Catho-

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lic Social Services. It’s your job to make a difference for her and the hundreds of other kids just like her across the diocese.” While I don’t know if in the past 15 years CSS has done anything to change this little girl’s life, I know that she has changed mine. She helped to move some of the abstract concepts of the Gospel from my head to my heart. This little girl became my sister in Christ, and she has become a metaphor for the “little ones” whom Jesus commands us to serve. Sadly, there are many children on the reservation like that little girl. Many of the tragedies are the result of the physical isolation of the reservation. The natural boundaries between the Black Hills and the vast open spaces are, at times, overwhelming obstacles that can make visiting families very difficult. Many of the roads are not paved, and in winter are often covered with snow. In addition, there are no addresses or signs to help an outsider navigate. There is little cell phone coverage, and internet services are not available in many places. Public transportation for residents on the reservations in South Dakota is almost non-existent. Many families do not have vehicles, making it difficult to transport children who are in need of medical attention. A sense of community is all but lost. With little support or respect for the local police, there is too much crime for tribal police to handle. Tribal politics can be volatile. Accusations of corruption, voter fraud, and abuse of power frequently make it difficult to resolve conflict or promote positive change. Tensions between the state of South Dakota and the reservation governments escalate when issues such as the sale of alcohol on reservations or the building of a new casino arise. And another brick in the “Us and Them” wall is added.

All might seem lost for a once proud culture that now faces overwhelming odds. Yet, for all of the adversity, some good and a lot of hope are beginning to appear. CSS of Western South Dakota now has outreach offices on three of the five reservations in the diocese. Staff members see some clients as often as two or three times a week, and they travel over 100,000 miles annually trying to reach out to families in need of services. Youth programs have been established and are growing strong, parenting classes are full, and the number of individuals seeking traditional counseling help is on the rise. We are making progress. When I first started at CSS, we only had one office and served just 600 individuals annually with a staff of four. Today we have seven offices serving more than 11,000 individuals with a staff of 15. The greatest signs of progress, however, are witnessed when a young man takes his place on the drums at a powwow or when we hear about a 17-year-old rape victim graduating from high school because CSS provided counseling for her. There is hope. And where there is hope, faith is alive and well. While much needs to be done for the people on the reservations in Western South Dakota, help will come if God’s people, both Native and non-Native, respond with love and generosity. The faces of the poor and disadvantaged are being seen and their voices are being heard. Jesus calls on each one of us to reach out to them. Last year, Father Pauly died at the age of 59, after giving his life for his sheep. With his passing and fewer priests or sisters available to take his place, CSS’ work becomes increasingly important. In many ways, our work may have never evolved this far if it weren’t for Father Pauly’s challenge and the cry of one little girl. a
Jim Kinyon is executive director Catholic Social Services of Western South Dakota in Rapid City, SD.

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Dinner and a…Discussion on Race
By A’Jamal Byndon


t’s a brisk January evening. At a home in Central Omaha, an inviting fire crackles in the hearth. From the kitchen comes the aroma of vegetable soup and hot bread. The table is set for twelve guests: an African American couple, a Latino police officer, a white Catholic couple and their neighbor, a woman of Mexican descent, a man from Nigeria, and a self-proclaimed white “southern belle.” The hosts are Jewish. The facilitator, an African American woman, previews the evening’s events. The guests will be asked to tell a bit about themselves and discuss their decision to participate in what is intended to be an open and frank discussion on the role of race and ethnicity in our society. The facilitator explains that the hope is that by coming together with good will in a social setting, participants will better understand and respect one another as children of God and fellow human beings. As the evening progresses, questions are asked, some anger and frustration is voiced, occasionally tears are shed and laughter is heard frequently. Questions like “What do white people like to be called?” produce a look of wonder on white faces, while “Why don’t you try harder to fit in to our culture?” is met with a quietly firm answer. The difficulties of racial stereotyping, interracial marriage, institutional racism, and outright bigotry are discussed. Conversation is honest and respectful and sometimes humorous. This is Omaha Table Talk, “where everyone has a seat at the table.” Omaha Table Talk is a project of the Social Justice Committee of Catholic Charities of Omaha. It began after the committee conducted a 2003 community forum on racism. The event attracted many more participants than anticipated, with several expressing frustration and describing racial and social barriers. The committee, in looking for a tangible response, discussed a program of interracial dinners that was getting good results in Dallas. Committee members decided to try the concept. They held the first dinner in 2004 using themselves as “guinea pig” participants. After a few tentative moments, conversation flowed and members found themselves with new knowledge, understanding, affection, and respect for one another. Their experience was so powerful that they wanted to give the community a similar opportunity. Omaha Table Talk was born. Participation in Table Talk is free, and simple meals are provided by the host. The event is promoted via the media and word of mouth. Facilitators receive training, and efforts are made to ensure an ethnic and racial balance in each home. The program relies extensively on volunteers, and costs are low. Our 2007 program budget of $5,000 covers printing, secretarial support, and other incidental costs. Responses to Omaha Table Talk have been consistently positive. One comment sums it up: “It’s amazing to learn about what others have been through, to be with such open and honest people willing to share of themselves – incredible!” Bit by bit, or perhaps “bite by bite,” understanding and celebrating our differences is happening in Omaha. a

A’Jamal Byndon is senior director for public policy and social advocacy at Catholic Charities in Omaha, NE. For more information about Omaha Table Talk, contact A’Jamal at or 402-829-9297 or visit
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Developing Economic Security with Low-Income African Americans
By John Henry Turner

Laura Sikes


atholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago has been helping the poor of all races for 90 years. At the time of our founding in 1917, Chicago had a diverse population stemming from mid-nineteenth century European immigration. The diversity was enhanced by the migration of African Americans from the deep South into Chicago, just preceding and following World War I. We serve African Americans in all our programs, from emergency assistance to clinical counseling, from early childhood centers to affordable senior housing. Recently we caught a glimpse of the unique challenges facing low-income African-American males at a Fatherhood Forum convened by Catholic Charities USA and hosted by Catholic

Charities in Chicago. One thing the men, from late adolescence to late middle age, had in common was a deep commitment to their children and difficulty attaining the level of economic security they wanted to provide for them. This consensus is affirmed by national data that reveal the disparities between African Americans and whites on several measures. Participants at the forum discussed the need for low-income families to develop their own capital or assets (property, cash reserves, investments, businesses) as a long-term solution to poverty. To understand the magnitude of the economic problems facing low-income African Americans, it is helpful to review some sobering statistics. In the National Urban League’s report, “2007

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State of Black America” (SOBA), an “Equality Index” was used to measure the gaps in equality between blacks and whites across five different categories. According to the SOBA Index, African American men are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as white males and earn only 75 percent as much income in a year. Black men are nearly seven times more likely to be incarcerated, and their average jail sentences are ten months longer than those of white men. In addition, young black males between the ages of 15 and 34 are nine times more likely to die of homicide than their white counterparts, and nearly seven times as likely to suffer from AIDS. According to SOBA, unemployment is highest among black men (9.5 percent compared to 4.0 percent for white men), while black women have an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent, compared to 4.1 percent for white women. A suggested strategy for minimizing the disparity is asset development.

many federal assistance programs. For example, any individual with over $2,000 in savings cannot receive food stamps. At Catholic Charities in Chicago, we are exploring the path to asset development with African-American clients through two different programs that show promise.

Family Self-Sufficiency Program
The Family Self-Sufficiency Program directly provides comprehensive case management and counseling services to low-income families in Lake County, IL, to assist them in achieving and enhancing economic self-sufficiency. Individuals of many races are represented in the population of the group; however, 75 percent of the 150 participants are African-American, many of who are single parents. Success is defined as obtaining and maintaining employment. The program is voluntary, not mandated, so participants have a personal investment and a desire to improve their families’ lives. As participants see improvement in themselves, they become aware of their integral role in the community and strive to make it better. Services provided include assessment of needs, individualized family-focused service planning, case management, and counseling. In addition, financial assistance, referral for parental training, and help with locating resources for education are also available. A human resource specialist directly provides job readiness training, job placement assistance, and retention services. The Family Self-Sufficiency Program tackles the problems of poverty in a hands-on, one-to-one manner. Unlike crisis programs, we work with our participants on a long-term case management basis. This five-year program targets the entire family. The collaborative connections with local educational institutions, employment agencies, and many other social service agencies have helped our clients to attain their goals. In addition, the program has an arrangement with the Lake County Housing Authority, in which a portion of the funds participants pay in rent is directed to a savings account. Upon completion of the program, the funds, in some cases as much as $20,000 or more, are returned to the participants, which greatly contributes in the development of their assets.

What is Asset Development?
Historically, welfare programs for the poor have focused on income support, such as food stamps and cash assistance. While these resources are critical to the well being of many poor families, they have done almost nothing to bolster their assets. Assets in the context of this article are defined as and can include: 4Financial Literacy 4Savings 4Real estate 4Stocks and Bonds 4Family Self-Sufficiency Programs 4Automatic 401(k) plan enrollments 4Saver’s tax credits 4Individual Development Accounts 4Children’s accounts that begin at birth 4Educational achievement 4Job skills 4Access to credit The government has long encouraged asset development for the middle- and upper-classes through tax incentives. However, according to a report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development titled, Hidden in Plain Sight, the poor do not enjoy such benefits. In fact, asset accumulation is disallowed or penalized by

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The FUTURE Program
The FUTURE Program (Families United Through Understanding Relationships & Empowerment) is a three-year demonstration Healthy Relationship/Marriage Initiative, which supports asset development by focusing on the foundation of an economically strong family, a two-parent household. Research has consistently shown that more single-parent families are in poverty than families with two adults. The program aims to enhance children’s wellbeing by helping unmarried parents build a stronger relationship and achieve a healthy marriage if they so choose. Our particular FUTURE program provides an opportunity for low-income unmarried African American couples, who reside in one of three targeted communities in Chicago, to gain access to culturally competent relationship/marriage services. The program includes three major service components: a core marriage/relationship curriculum, comprehensive case management, and employment related services. African-American married couples are recruited and serve as facilitators and mentors in the program, which utilizes a curriculum tailored for African-American, low-income couples. Typically, the couples will meet often with the family service worker who will guide their involvement in the program through a range of service activities like parenting, job training and placement, and educational services, including financial literacy. Financial literacy classes are an important part of the program’s asset building activities. Many of our couples lack a bank account and obtain cash using high cost check cashing outlets. Financial literacy education helps the FUTURE couples become educated consumers who can make sound financial decisions to increase their families’ economic security and in turn, contribute to community development. Our families are taught to not only accumulate savings, but also to manage their assets. Volunteer tax and financial professionals provide services free to the couples in the program. The FUTURE program is helping African American families achieve healthy relationships, economic stability, and brighter futures.

“Roxanne,” a 25-year-old African-American woman, came to Catholic Charities Lake County Services seven years ago after fleeing an abusive relationship. She was placed in a homeless shelter with her two young children, then was able to move into an apartment with the assistance of a subsidized housing program and referrals from the shelter. Once Roxanne found permanent housing, she was enrolled in the Family SelfSufficiency Program. Roxanne received intensive case management and employment services and then found part-time employment while beginning to advance her education. With continued program support, Roxanne received ongoing education and employment training. Over a period of five years Roxanne earned a bachelor’s degree and found full-time employment with the assistance of the program. Roxanne is now fully self-sufficient and could not be more proud of her many accomplishments. She is very pleased that now she can be a positive role model for her children.

As seen in Roxanne’s story, the Family Self-Sufficiency Program employs a long-term, comprehensive strategy to move families out of poverty, one step at a time. With stable housing, work experience, and additional education, poor families develop a foundation for further asset acquisition and maintenance.

Laura Sikes

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Asset development in our work with low income African-American clients is a gradual process and is proving to be an effective strategy for poverty alleviation. It is broad and flexible enough to be effective with other low-income racial and ethnic groups and can be implemented in many different kinds of social service settings. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago has designated the reduction and elimination of poverty in our communities as a high priority in our strategic service planning. We commend and support CCUSA’s Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America as we join in this bold and innovative endeavor, which will require many different solutions and partners. We also recognize that it will take the combined efforts of a broad spectrum of individuals, groups, and organizations including government, business, faith-based institutions, academics and many others to achieve this goal. All of us must share in helping to alleviate the causes of poverty and provide the resources and opportunities to help individuals and families move out of poverty and achieve economic security. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.” a
John Henry Turner, MS, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, is the department director for Community Casework Programs in Lake County, IL, for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Mr. Watkins, 25, and his partner, Ms. Smith, 23, were participants in the first class of Catholic Charities’ FUTURE program. To assist the couple’s attendance at workshops, Catholic Charities’ case managers made weekly home visits to provide the couple with bus passes. When they enrolled in the program, Mr. Watkins was living with his mother and Ms. Smith was staying alternately with Mr. Watkins, her sister, and her mother. After they completed the eight-week FUTURE workshop series, the couple continued to receive case management, which included referrals and information involving health care, child care, housing, and money management. When they entered the program, neither Mr. Watkins nor Ms. Smith were employed. With the program’s assistance, Mr. Watkins found work. He started paying his mother $350 a month for rent and opened a savings account. He kept the job for about a year and then decided to work part time and return to school. Ms. Smith decided to work part time and then secured a Section 8 voucher for subsidized housing so she could provide a stable environment for herself and her child.

This couple exemplifies the type of asset development a program like FUTURES can accomplish. When they came into the program, these parents had very poor communication skills and spoke often of dissolving their relationship. At last contact, they are still together, sharing in the care and rearing of their child. The assistance they received, from bus fare to educational workshops to employment, helped this couple work together to support their family.

Laura Sikes

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Social Policy Report

Family Economic Security
Strategies to Help Families Transition to Prosperity
By Desmond Brown
he discussion to end or reduce poverty in the United States has taken many shapes over the last 60 years. Strategies have ranged from the War on Poverty to the Contract with America, and in more recent years, an ownership society. These big, bold agendas by our political leaders have all had some success, but unfortunately, the gap between the rich and poor continues to expand. Today America stands at a crossroads where the gap between the wealthy and those living in poverty is wider than any other period since 1929. The richest one percent of Americans holds 19 percent of the nation’s wealth, while the poorest 20 percent holds only 3.4 percent.1 Currently, more than 37 million Americans live in poverty, and up to 90 million Americans are asset poor, or living with limited resources to survive without a paycheck. We know that one of the fastest ways to escape long term poverty is through employment. We also know that the future success of our nation depends on the strength of our workforce. It is also commonly understood that the future success of children is deeply connected to the current circumstances of their parents. In 2005 more than 12 million children were considered poor.2 These children are less likely than their more affluent counterparts to succeed in the mainstream economy. This is because poor children are at greater risk of poor physical health, delayed cognitive development, and low academic achievement. For children of color, these life circumstances are significantly worse. Through our daily work at Catholic Charities agencies across the country, we see the real impact of poverty on families. Unfortunately, the many misconceptions about the nature of poverty in the United States reinforce the commonly held view that poverty exists because of the failures and deficiencies of individuals, rather than the failures of economic structures and policy choices we make as a nation. Our experiences at Catholic Charities also tell us that many people experience some period of poverty throughout their lives that requires
Laura Sikes


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emergency, temporary assistance. By age 60, almost half of all Americans will have experienced poverty at some point in their lives.3 Of these, about one half will have lived in poverty for four years or more. Having a job does not preclude living in poverty. Two out of three families with incomes below the poverty level have at least one member who is employed.

Changing the Debate
Reacting to the increasing levels of poverty, a number of national and local leaders have reignited the poverty reduction debate in the past year. Among them is presidential candidate John Edwards, who has consistently stressed the dangers of the “Two Americas.” And in recent months, other presidential candidates have started talking about strategies to support and strengthen low-income families. Catholic Charities USA is among a growing number of faith-based groups talking about poverty with a moral voice, but also presenting a series of specific policies proposals to reduce poverty. On the secular side, a number of research and policy groups, as well as local mayors and governors have presented plans to cut the U.S. poverty rate. Developing and maintaining a long term national agenda that focuses on creating opportunities for all Americans must be the next stage of this renewed anti-poverty movement. This new approach must focus on three key areas: protecting the social safety net; promoting work and opportunity; and expanding asset building. These three areas working together effectively will help families transition from poverty to prosperity. Since we know that children do better when their parents do better, we must focus on developing comprehensive strategies that help families stay connected and strengthen their economic circumstances.

Strengthening the Social Safety Net
Both the Contract with America and President Bush’s recent proposals for an ownership society outlined strategies to shift the federal government’s commitment to low-income Americans to local governments and nonprofit organizations. These strategies will fail in the long run because they do not provide federal support to the social safety net that millions of Americans rely on. Many low-income people in transition or with disabilities will not be able to escape poverty without a continued federal commitment to programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, foster care, or housing assistance. These programs play an important role in helping millions of low-income families make ends meet during times of crisis and allow them to maintain their dignity and move toward employment opportunities that can better their life circumstances.

Improving Training and Work Opportunities
Expanding education and training opportunities for more Americans is a critical strategy in maintaining family economic security. While the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and welfare reform of the 1990s significantly reduced the number of families who relied on public assistance, many of these families are now struggling in low-paying jobs with limited opportunity to move up in the economy. Many of these individuals work in service industry jobs with limited training and mobility. Service industry workers make up the highest proportion of those earning at or below the minimum wage.4 Service occupation workers are less likely to receive benefits, have fewer opportunities for full-time employment, and receive lower earnings.5 Catholic Charities USA has long advocated for increases in the minimum wage to help low-income workers like these advance. Earlier this year, Congress took some positive steps forward in assisting low-income workers, when it passed and the president signed into law an increase in the minimum wage. But coming 10 years after the previous increase, the new wage is already insufficient. Along with supporting a living wage for all workers, we must provide additional opportunities through reforms to TANF, the employment and training structure, and the education

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system that provides lifelong learning opportunities for low-income workers. Workers of all ages must have the ability to upgrade their skills to take advantage of new opportunities that are available in the changing economy.

Expanding Financial Education and Asset Development
To significantly reduce the number of Americans who struggle to make ends meet, the government and nonprofit human service providers such as Catholic Charities must develop strategies and systems to help and encourage low-income families to protect their limited income and resources. These strategies will include new partnerships to promote and expand access to banking and other mainstream financial institutions. Many of these institutions are currently too costly to low-income workers or are not easily accessible in their communities. Additionally, one of the best ways to build long term wealth in the United States is through property ownership. Asset development strategies must include programs that help families understand the power of saving and create long-term plans to purchase a home or business. It also means that policymakers must strengthen and service providers must take full advantage of current programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit so that they truly benefit more working Americans.

Since the passage of welfare reform and other income support reductions in the mid-1990s, the nation has neglected the concerns of low-income families. As a result, we have seen poverty increase steadily since 2000. After Hurricane Katrina and the devastation to the Gulf region, policymakers are starting to recognize that poverty in America is a threat to the common good. They are now realizing that comprehensive strategies must be implemented to protect the security and strength of the United States. The escalating number of disconnected people in America will weaken the country in the long run. With recent debate about undocumented immigrants and the restrictions on immigrants entering the country after 2001, the country will face a shortage in skilled workers in coming years. We must identify new ways to support, strengthen, and prepare low-income Americans to be a part of the workforce of the 21st century. Maintaining the dialogue on poverty is important, but in the coming months and years we must move toward developing an “Opportunity Agenda” for all Americans. This agenda should not pit the poor against the wealthy, but should focus on creating true opportunities for everyone to participate and advance in the changing economy. a
Desmond Brown is director of health and welfare policy for Catholic Charities USA. “From Poverty to Prosperity: A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half,” Center for American Progress, April 2007. “Children in Poverty: Profile, Trends, and Issues,” Congressional Research Service, January 2007. 3 “Poverty In America: A Threat to the Common Good,” Catholic Charities USA, 2006. 4 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers 2006, cps/minwage2006.htm (last visited July 17, 2007). 5 Most Low Income Parents are Employed, (last visited July 17, 2007).
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All of Us Must Prepare for Immigration Legalization
By Mirna Torres, Director of Legalization & Advocacy, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
iven the recent defeat of the immigration bill in the Senate, some might question the need to write about preparing for legalization at this time. However, this need encompasses more than just responding to potential legislative proposals. It goes to the very core of the Catholic Charities mission—to serve those most in need and to work for justice in our communities. Estimates of the size of the U.S. undocumented population range from 10 million to 12 million. Because the deportation or removal of this many people is unrealistic and the status quo is unacceptable, there is a strong likelihood that a broad legalization bill will ultimately pass. In addition, more limited legislation to legalize agricultural workers and undocumented persons raised in the United States may still be taken up by this Congress. As a result, significant challenges and tasks lie ahead. First, as a result of Congress’ failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform, we can expect to see an increase in antiimmigrant initiatives at the state and local level. From January to May of this year, nearly 1,200 state bills and resolutions related to immigrants and immigration have been introduced. Some of these measures include restrictions on housing (making it illegal to rent to undocumented immigrants) and on the employment of the undocumented. Others deny immigrants and the U.S. citizen children of immigrants access to government services/benefits, including the right to get a driver’s license or government-issued identification. Combating these anti-immigrant measures will require public education, as well as positive efforts to integrate newcomers into the fabric of our communities. Second, the need to continue preparing for legalization by expanding and creating new immigration legal service programs is crucial. Although the priorities have shifted some, as has the timing, there still is the possibility that AgJobs, the DREAM Act, and the Unaccompanied Alien Child Protection Act of 2007 might be considered by this Congress and that comprehensive immigration reform will be revisited in 2009. The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) has been tasked with preparing and supporting Catholic networks by enhancing and expanding delivery of legal services to low-income immigrants and to meet the immigration needs identified by the Catholic Church in the United States. CLINIC trains and supports 161 diocesan and Catholic Charities immigration programs. This network will need to expand greatly to accommodate a legalization program, or even to accommodate the needs of growing immigrant populations throughout the country apart from legalization. Without expanded charitable services, many immigrants will fall victim to charlatans, such as unauthorized practitioners who overcharge and promise more benefits than they can deliver. Already, there are reports of illegal practitioners advertising legalization services even though no new law exists. Such deceitful and unethical practices could jeopardize immigrants’ applications. The best way to prevent this is by thoroughly preparing charitable services to handle the influx of visits and inquiries they will get and implementing active and aggressive public education campaigns. The undocumented must have access to accurate information and know how to prepare themselves for an eventual legalization program. CLINIC’s Legalization Project established a framework that provides crucial resources to help arch/dioceses prepare for this program. To begin, Catholic Charities staff should: 4 Visit CLINIC’s Legalization Project’s Web page: It offers a useful collection of resources for immigration programs, parishes, and immigrant communities, and features instructions, articles, reports, guides, training slides, presentations, and fliers. 4 ownload and review CLINIC’s Legalization Manual. This document offers an array of useful recommendations on preD paring for legalization, and expanding the capacity of existing immigration programs: resources/LegalizationManual.pdf. Given their proximity to immigrants and their excellent standing in the community, Catholic Charities agencies must begin preparing for legalization in collaboration with parishes and pro-immigrant groups in the community. Internal education and organization will be necessary to develop local support for legalization services. Public education will be necessary to bring about a legalization program. Advocating for comprehensive immigration reform and preparing newcomers to obtain legal status is among the most important work that we can do in achieving justice in our communities. a


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Catholic Charities USA News
Rev. Clarence Williams Named as Director of Racial Equality and Diversity Initiatives
Catholic Charities USA recently named Rev. Clarence Williams, CPPS, as its new director of racial equality and diversity initiatives. In this position, Fr. Williams will develop and conduct comprehensive diversity and racial equality training for local agencies and recommend CCUSA positions on diversity that best serve CCUSA and its members. He also will share his Racial Sobriety© approach for race relations with the Catholic Charities network. “With diversity, empowerment, and racial equality being high priorities for Catholic Charities USA and our network, we are excited to bring aboard Father Williams who is such a recognized leader and expert in this field,” said Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. Father Williams, who is a member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, was the first Black priest ordained in his hometown diocese of Cleveland. He has served for more than 30 years in the Archdiocese of Detroit, including serving the last 12 years as the director of Black Catholic Ministries. Father Williams has a doctorate in global education and cultural communication from the Union Institute & University in Cincinnati. He established the Institute for Recovery from Racisms, which is dedicated to training facilitators and designing programs to promote racial sobriety. He conducts executive training seminars in race relations to religious congregations, dioceses, corporations, civic organizations, and educational institutions. He is also the co-convener of Building Bridges in Black and Brown, a national dialogue between the African American and Hispanic/Latino communities.

New Employees Join CCUSA
In addition to Father Williams, three new employees recently joined CCUSA to fulfill responsibilities in parish social ministry, marketing and public relations, and housing counseling. Brian Stevens started as the new manager of parish social ministry training in March. He oversees the PSM regional training project and supports the PSM Section. Brian served as director of social advocacy with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami from 2002 to 2007. During his tenure, Brian oversaw the establishment of the Office of Social Advocacy, home to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Relief Services, JustFaith and Justice for Immigrants in the Archdiocese of Miami. As director, Brian also traveled regularly to Haiti to strengthen a collaborative partnership between Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami and CRS and served as a member of the Archdiocesan Disaster Response Team. Colleen Sutton is CCUSA’s new director of public relations and marketing. In this role, she will develop and implement a strategic and comprehensive marketing and communications plan aimed at enhancing the image of CCUSA as a highly regarded and sought after national voice for low-income individuals. Her efforts also will focus on increasing membership and contributions to CCUSA and its member organizations. Prior to joining CCUSA, Colleen served in a senior communications capacity for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and before that for Save the Children. For more than 15 years, Colleen has contributed her communications skills in a variety of fields, including education reform, development and relief, e-business, and environmental programming. A native of Buffalo, NY, Sutton received her B.A. in English from the nearby State University of New York College of Fredonia. Suja Vadakkekara joined CCUSA in February as the manager of the Housing Counseling Program. She comes with over 10 years of experience in housing and community development, with a special emphasis on affordable housing. Suja has managed different housing projects and administered various HUD-funded grants. She has also provided technical assistance and data analysis at the federal, state, and regional levels, helping to measure program effectiveness and the performance of grantees. a

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Foundation for Senior Living Aims to Improve Caregiving in Phoenix
By Donna Salas

Caregiver House


n May, a unique and innovative facility opened in Phoenix dedicated solely to caregiving. Caregiver House, a new facility built by the Foundation for Senior Living, promises to improve caregiving throughout the area. Established in 1974, the Foundation for Senior Living is a mission-driven nonprofit agency of the Diocese of Phoenix. The organization strives to provide exceptional services, education, and advocacy in order to preserve independence and enhance the quality of life for all seniors, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers. Caregivers play a vital role in every community because they care for some of the most vulnerable populations: the elderly and people with disabilities. Without adequate and comprehensive training, caregivers can put both themselves and the people they care for at risk. The FSL Caregiver House is a one-stop shop for caregiving needs. Located on the FSL campus in Phoenix, the house is a hands-on training center, resource center, and demonstration site all under one roof. Both paraprofessionals and the public can come to Caregiver House to test modern devices and medical equipment and learn about home modifications that can make senior living and caregiving safer and easier. Unlike other caregiver training institutions that have only large ADA compliant training rooms, Caregiver House allows trainees to practice transfers, lifts, and other caregiving techniques in confined spaces typical in most homes. The house is divided into three sections. The first section is modeled after a typical residence that demonstrates common safety hazards that caregivers may encounter in a home environment. Family caregivers and paraprofessionals will learn to address these dangers with the use of adaptive aids and techniques. The second area of the house is renovated to universal accessibility standards with appropriate adaptive aids installed. Adaptive aides can be something as simple as an under the counter jar opener and as big as portable ceiling lifts. Visitors can tour the area to see how assistive devices and home renovations can make caregiving and independent living easier and safer. A home health assistant can recommend where grab bars, a roll in shower, or a Hoyer lift should be installed based on a person’s level of need. The third area of the house has a conference room and training facility for meetings and group instruction. FSL will offer a variety of classes that teach caregivers how to administer CPR and how to do transfers, lifts, and other caregiving techniques. The FSL Caregiver House is the first of its kind in the community. It has the potential to dramatically impact both the way caregivers are trained and the way seniors and disabled individuals are cared for in the greater Phoenix area. a
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overall financial situation, and enhance the community where they live. As winners of the Family Strengthening Awards, these four programs each will receive a $25,000 award. The annual awards program is made possible through the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.


ongratulations to Catholic Charities USA’s 2007 Family Strengthening Award winners— four innovative programs that support healthy family relationships, improve a family’s

The Office of Economic Opportunity
Catholic Social Services, Diocese of Charlotte, NC
n Western North Carolina, Catholic Social Services’ Office of Economic Opportunity is helping families develop the skills needed to build a more secure future. With limited employment opportunities, low income levels, and high school graduation rates below state averages, many families in the far west of North Carolina struggle with money and credit problems. In partnership with several community organizations and congregations, OEO/CSS created the Far West Families First (FWFF) program to support families in responsible financial decision making. FWFF matches struggling families with ecumenical faith teams that provide support and encouragement to help families reach goals they set for themselves. Such goals might relate to debt reduction, credit building, health issues, housing concerns, education, employability, and so forth. In a supportive relationship, the team helps the family understand and learn the skills needed for successful problem solving and helps the family locate outside resources when needed. OEO/CSS also provides families with counseling opportunities to help them work through challenges that impede family development and stability. Another OEO/CSS program, the Assets Building Long-term Equity (ABLE) Financial Literacy Program, addresses financial “illiteracy.” Topics range from maximizing food stamp dollars to basic budgeting to attaining affordable housing. OEO/CSS also serves as a host site for Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Asheville. OEO/CSS builds the community by supporting the work of its neighbors and partners. Through Growing Opportunities Small Grants, OEO/CSS funds community projects that work toward systemic change. In addition, the annual OEO/CSS Awards recognize the hard work and dedication of individuals and organizations that promote the economic development of families and communities in western North Carolina. This year, the OEO/CSS Leadership Award went to its youngest ever recipient—a high school senior who designed an after school arts program for low-income children. Wanting to ensure the long-term sustainability of the program, the student marketed the children’s artwork as greeting cards and stationery to raise funds for future projects.


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The Southside Family Center
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Hartford, CT
he Southside Family Center provides a “family-centered and strength-based” environment in which both children and parents have access to a comprehensive array of services that strengthen and promote healthy family relationships and encourage economic security through education and employment. Southside’s highly capable staff works with ethnically diverse families from the city of Hartford in need of services, support, leadership development, early childhood education, adult education and training, and crisis intervention. Southside’s efforts have been recognized by the United Way and other area organizations as a model program strengthening neighborhood families. Southside works with the family as a whole. By providing a safe and nurturing environment for young children, Southside enables parents to take the classes and receive the support necessary to strengthen their families. Such programs include early childhood education, case management, GED and ESL instruction, basic computer classes, money management workshops, parent support groups, and parenting classes. In addition, a family specialist assists families in accessing a wide range of community and neighborhood resources. Rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach to working with families, the Southside Family Center uses a strength-based approach to help families achieve self-sufficiency. Southside staff, families, and board members all have been trained in and have adopted the Family Development Credentialing Model developed by Cornell University. This model utilizes a “power with, rather than power over” philosophy in working with families. Staff members partner with families to establish goals, timelines, and responsibilities. The plan is evaluated regularly to ensure that follow-through is occurring and necessary modifications are being made. Over the years, the Southside Family Center has also built strong collaborative relationships with many local service providers to ensure that families have access to the services that they need to succeed.


Thorpe Family Residence
Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New York


horpe Family Residence provides shelter and services to homeless families in the Bronx. It helps mothers develop the life skills necessary to secure employment and to prepare for independent living. “Since our opening in 1989, we have helped more than 500 homeless mothers with children to obtain job training and education and successfully secure and maintain their own homes,” said Sister Barbara Lenniger, executive director of Thorpe Family Residence. “Many of our families have moved off public assistance and have remained in the workforce. One mother got her GED and will start City University in the spring, and her children are doing well in school.” Founded by the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, NY, Thorpe Family Residence helps families achieve their full potential by connecting them to needed resources, be it housing counsel-

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ing, referrals for affordable housing, or after-school programs and tutoring for the kids. Staff members work with mothers to set and maintain goals for getting off welfare by participating in job training and education programs. In addition, staff members at Thorpe counsel the residents on the responsibilities and activities of everyday living—cooking and cleaning, getting their children off to school each morning, paying bills on time. Because the families live in their own apartments at Thorpe and not in a facility with congregate dining, mothers learn about maintaining an apartment and cooking for their families. This serves them well when they leave Thorpe to live independently. Beyond empowering its families, Thorpe Family Residence also encourages them to advocate on the behalf of others. Residents are a voice in the community and are involved in a number of local community activities, advocating for the homeless and the disadvantaged. By fostering a strong relationship with the community, Thorpe Family Residence not only improves the lives of its residents, but empowers the entire community.

El Programa Hispano
Catholic Charities of Oregon, Archdiocese of Portland, OR
ffering holistic, wraparound services that aid families in multiple ways— including social, spiritual, psychological, and economic—El Programa Hispano has provided services to low-income Latino immigrant families in the greater Portland area since 1982. Its mission is threefold: to increase self-sufficiency within the Latino community, to empower individuals to achieve a better quality of life, and to promote mutual understanding and respect among cultures. “Among Latino immigrants—in which extended family living arrangements and mutual interdependence are common cultural norms—El Programa Hispano’s service model recognizes that improving the economic opportunities of one or two family members is often an effective strategy to improve the economic conditions of the entire family,” said Gloria Wiggins, Latino services division manager for Catholic Charities of Oregon. Many of the families El Programa Hispano serves are very low income. The agency offers a range of services to help them become more self-sufficient. These include information and referrals, short-term intervention and long-term case management, emergency access to food, utility or rent assistance, domestic violence services, counseling, youth services, and health promotion. El Programa Hispano also offers ESL, parenting, and computer skills classes as well as workshops on topics such as applying for a job or becoming a U.S. citizen. With many of the agency’s families coming from poor, rural areas of Latin America where banks are uncommon and the economy is run on a cash-and-barter basis, El Programa Hispano offers “Your Money Counts”—a Spanish-language financial literacy curriculum that educates families about financial institutions in the United States. The program helps families better manage their money and avoid common pitfalls such as high-interest payday loans, check cashing and money order fees, and identity theft. El Programa Hispano also offers a sixweek course in the evenings to help participants develop an extensive family budget. The course also goes indepth into many financial education topics, including savings, banking, family budgeting, and asset development.



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Catholic Charities Budget Counseling
Catholic Charities of Green Bay
By providing budget counseling, debt management, and financial literacy education, Catholic Charities Budget Counseling (CCBC) works to move families from volatile economic situations to more stable, improved financial standings. Before each pay period, Catholic Charities staff members work one on one with clients to develop a spending plan for that duration. During these appointments, staff members help clients address their financial roadblocks and identify potential solutions by helping them establish short-term and long-term goals, and develop personal assets as well as financial assets. CCBC also helps clients develop debt management plans to repay debt at an affordable rate. Typically, CCBC returns $350,000-$800,000 annually to creditors. CCBC also offers a variety of classes or workshops to help participants to increase their financial literacy skills.

The Education Center
Catholic Charities of Boston, MA
With a goal of increasing self-sufficiency through skill building and helping clients achieve sustainable employment, the Education Center empowers and strengthens families by providing them a seamless transition and access to needed education and/or employment programs in the Greater Lynn area. The Education Center offers a range of education and employment services, including ESL and GED instruction, employment preparation, and computer skills training for those leaving welfare for work. Rooted in its mission to serve those most in need, the center’s programs combine case management, education, job training, and on-going support to aid the families in becoming self-sufficient. They also serve to motivate the individuals as well as help them to identify the obstacles that might inhibit their success.”

Financial Education Cluster The Day Labor & Resource Center
Catholic Charities of Palm Beach, FL
Catholic Charities of Palm Beach’s Day Labor & Resource Center promotes economic independence for immigrants and their families by providing employment-related education and skills training that help them earn a living wage, build their assets, and become more engaged in the community. The Day Labor & Resource Center creates an environment where immigrants have opportunities to contribute as soon and as fully as possible in the community, to experience success, and to be empowered to develop prospects for leadership and civic participation. In addition, the program provides training and support services in areas such as money and resource management, health literacy, stress management, parenting skills, and interaction with law enforcement.

Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, CA
The financial education program cluster of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County helps low-income families move to self sufficiency by building up their assets by providing free tax preparation, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), and financial education classes to more than 1,800 individuals and families annually. IDA—a matched savings program— encourages asset accumulation for those who have been traditionally viewed as incapable of saving as a result of their low-income status. In addition to a 2:1 savings match, the program provides 15 hours of money management classes taught in three languages—English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. With the help of over 50 volunteers, TaxEZ, the agency’s tax preparation service last year helped more than 1,090 lowincome Vietnamese- and Spanish-speaking families in San Jose receive tax refunds and credits totaling more than $1,250,000.

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The Jamaica HomeBase Program
Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, NY
The Jamaica HomeBase program has been very effective in its first three years, saving families from disintegration not only by keeping them housed, but by helping address many of the issues that they may be struggling with. Though trends exist, the staff at Jamaica HomeBase knows that each case is individual and takes into account cultural concerns, health, and the individual experience and personal history of every client. Each client is assigned a personal caseworker who designs a plan of service specific to his or her needs. Services fall into categories that respond to the greatest needs of families in Queens: financial challenges, threats to health, lack of education and skill development, and management of the needs of young children. In addition to immediate homeless prevention services, Jamaica HomeBase links clients to services provided by Catholic Charities Brooklyn & Queens and other community resources in order to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

The Kinship Care Resource Network
Catholic Family Center, Rochester, NY
With a growing number of children in the United States being raised by kinship caregivers, the Kinship Care Resource Network—a collaborative effort between the Catholic Family Center and four other local agencies—works to support the needs of families in which a child is being raised by a relative other than the biological parent, such as a grandparents or siblings. The staff work with families to encourage self-sufficiency and resiliency so that they benefit from short-term intervention and are then able to take with them necessary skills to continue working toward family stability and permanency. To achieve that stability, Kinship Care Resource Network staff members work to ensure that caregivers and their families have access to financial benefits and other supports to meet their basic needs; increase kinship caregivers’ knowledge of their rights, responsibilities, and available services; provide parenting skills for the kinship caregivers; and improve the physical and emotional well-being of caregivers and the children in their care. a

Family strengthening programs—which foster healthy family relationships, help improve a family’s financial situation, and support families by building strong communities—are some of the best tools we have for combating poverty and its effects.
— Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA

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5 Refugee children enjoy activities at Catholic Social Services of Southwestern Ohio’s 2007 World Refugee Day Celebration.

Three Agencies in Ohio and Kentucky Host CCUSA Annual Gathering in Cincinnati

On the Rivers of Freedom


n mid-September, Catholic Charities professionals from across the country are gathering in Cincinnati for the Catholic Charities USA Annual Gathering. Three agencies are hosting the event. Let’s get to know them better!

Catholic Social Services of Southwestern Ohio
Catholic Social Services of Southwestern Ohio has provided quality programs and services to the needy and less fortunate living in the community since 1914. And while the types of services offered may have changed over the years, the dedication and commitment to serving those in need has been a constant hallmark of the agency. CSS of SW Ohio is a unique agency made up of three operation centers serving 11 of the 19 counties that make up the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Each operation center provides a variety of programs and services to meet the particular needs of their community. The Cincinnati operation center is host to 18 different programs including adoption, pregnancy counseling, mental health counseling, older adult services, community education classes and immigration services. Su Casa Hispanic Center, the region’s oldest provider of services to the Hispanic community, is also part of the Cincinnati operation center, as is the Refugee Resettlement program, which was recognized for its outstanding work by the U.S. State Department in March 2007. The Hamilton operation center provides counseling services, community education, and parenting classes. It specializes in PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) treatment, sexual abuse treatment, and child therapy by registered play therapists.

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5 Catholic Social Services of Miami Valley’s new Center for Families offers an array of child and family services.

The Springfield operation center is home to several programs including the Work Experience Program and the Second Harvest Food Bank. Each year the food bank distributes over 4 million pounds of food to area food pantries, child care centers, and shelters. CSS of SW Ohio is more than just a provider of services to the community. It is a leader in providing help and creating hope for people regardless of their race, religion, or nationality. Each year, dozens of families and individuals are helped by the agency’s Gifts of the Magi Program, a cooperative effort between CSS of SW Ohio, St. Vincent de Paul Society, and The Catholic Telegraph newspaper. The program provides assistance to persons or families that will strengthen their ability to care for themselves, enhance their stability and security, and improve their quality of life or their ability to contribute to the community. The program collected and distributed over $41,000 to those in need in 2006-07. In addition, CSS of SW Ohio was the local agency that spearheaded the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and collected over $1.4 million in donations, which was sent to CCUSA for distribution to impacted areas. “Over the years, we have offered many different programs and services, and we are always looking at ways we can better serve the community,” said Kathleen Donnellan, executive

5 A unique feature of the new CSS Center for Families is a flower garden planted by birthmothers, adoptive children, and adoptive parents in recognition of the gift of adoption.

director of Catholic Social Services of Southwestern Ohio. “But the one thing that has never changed and will not change is our commitment to our mission of providing comprehensive social services in response to the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church.”

Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley
The opening of a new CSS Center for Families in Dayton last summer was a milestone for Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley (CSSMV). During the past five years, the agency, which serves the northern half of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, successfully developed community support for its plan to modernize facilities and expand its family services. The Dayton agency now annually serves 23,000 clients in its eight-county service area. “We offer a continuum of services to build and strengthen families. In 2006, we introduced a new facility uniquely

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5 Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Covington has had much success with its Neighborhood and Community Organizing Program, aimed at building and revitalizing communities. Latonia Community Partners, a neighborhood-based group in Latonia, KY, was organized to improve safety, beautify the community, and build relationships between neighbors. To meet their goals, the group organizes community events such as a gardening classes and health fairs.

designed for child and family services,” explained CSSMV executive director J. Elaine Jelly. “This new family center, located on a busy street in the heart of Dayton, has become our most visible community resource for family support and child advocacy. It was built as part of our plan to respond to local needs and the changing social service environment.” At the new center, pregnancy counselors, educators, foster care workers, young parent outreach caseworkers, and adoption counselors share the goal of helping pregnant and parenting women make the best possible decisions for their babies. In collaboration, case managers and counselors offer assistance and support to those who face unplanned or crisis pregnancies. “We believe adoption must be perceived as a loving, lifelong gift. We challenge people, particularly the professional

opinion leaders, to look at current adoption practice with new eyes. We also ask our community to support women who make this choice,” Jelly emphasized. Two new Birthmother Support Groups have been formed this year and members are actively sharing their personal testimonials throughout the region. This spring, to publicly affirm and show support for those who choose adoption, birthmothers, adopted children, and adoptive parents joined together at the new center to plant a flower garden to symbolize their support of adoption. The new CSS Center for Families in Dayton also incorporates mental health and child advocacy services, including play areas for child clients and specialized counseling services for families, parent education, and teen outreach. The new facility also features a supervised visitation program called “Erma’s House,” one of the first private programs in Ohio to offer a safe and secure environment for court-ordered visitation of noncustodial parents and their young children. In addition to programs based at the new center in Dayton, CSSMV operates services to address urban and rural community needs in west-central Ohio. In the urban Dayton area, the agency operates the area’s largest emergency food assistance program and offers services to help families in need. The agency also provides daycare and early childhood education, home-based senior support services, and refugee resettlement. The rural areas of the region are being served by programs administered by a CSSMV office in Sidney, OH. The Sidney staff provides home-based case management that enables more than 700 seniors to safely live in their homes with appropriate care. The Sidney office also provides mental health counseling and parenting support programs in a fivecounty area. “With the dedicated leadership of our staff and with the support of over 300 volunteers, our agency is looking to the future and striving to better serve,” said Jelly. “After 86 years of service in the region, we are working to prepare for a new century of caring.”

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Covington
The year 2006-2007 marked the 75th anniversary of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Covington, which was established in 1931 to coordinate the charitable apostolates in the diocese. In 1948, the direct service agency known as Catholic Social

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5 Above: The Latonia Community Partners sponsor health fairs for children and seniors.

Services began its work, with one social worker providing pregnancy counseling and adoption services. Throughout the 1950s the agency grew and expanded its staff. In 1960 Bishop Richard Ackerman authorized an evaluation of the agency in response to increasingly complex and large scale social problems. As a result, in 1961, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul came to the diocese to provide masters level social workers with experience in a broad range of family services. In the early 1970s and as a direct result of a renewal process shaped by the National Conference of Catholic Charities’ Cadre Study, the agency organized itself around a mandate to “humanize and transform the social order.” The agency incorporated non-clinical service components to the agency’s structure, most principally the Neighborhood and Community Organizing Program. It was during this period that the agency founded the Covington Community Center, which now operates independently as the Covington Center for Great Neighborhoods. In the 1980s and 1990s, the agency’s community organizers continued to strengthen or establish and spin off organiza-

tions that led to the betterment of Northern Kentucky. These include Welcome House, a shelter and case management program for homeless women and children; BeConcerned, an organization providing commodities and clothing for low-income families; and United Ministries, which provides material assistance to those who are economically poor. In 1987, the agency incorporated the Parish Kitchen, which provides meals every day of the year to those who are hungry, and in 2001, Centro de Amistad, a diocesan ministry to people who speak Spanish, was established. Today, the Neighborhood and Community Organizing Program provides technical assistance and community empowerment programs that enable groups in the neighborhood of Latonia, KY, to address issues that they identify as needing change. As a part of this effort, the agency has established Latonia Community Partners, a neighborhood-based organization with goals that currently include: safety, beautification, and enhanced relationships between neighbors. Latonia Business Association, dedicated to the economic development of the neighborhood, is a second project of the Neighborhood and Community Organizing Program. In 1995, CSS undertook a restructuring of management and programs to better serve the growing numbers of lowincome families needing services. As a part of these efforts, the agency undertook the process of accreditation with the Council on Accreditation for Services to Families and Children and received accreditation that same year. The agency was subsequently reaccredited in 1999, 2003 and 2007. During this celebration of 75 years of charity, Catholic Social Services is gratified to be a co-host of the 2007 Catholic Charities USA Annual Gathering and particularly proud to welcome the national organization to celebrate its annual Eucharistic liturgy in our magnificent Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption. We are also are happy to announce that at the end of this year of jubilee, we will recapture our original charism and identity by returning to the name of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Covington. We look forward to a stimulating annual gathering and a future bright with possibilities for individual, family, and community empowerment, as we pursue our mission of healing and hope. a

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Catholic Charities of Omaha Names New Executive Director
Catholic Charities of Omaha has appointed Jerry Pape to the position of executive director. Pape joined the agency in May 2006 as director of strategic initiatives and became interim executive director in March 2007. “A nationwide search was conducted for the executive director position,” said board president Anne Steinhoff. “We discovered the best candidate was already in our midst.” Prior to joining Catholic Charities, Pape served as president of THT Designs, Inc. in Omaha. He held that position from 1998 to 2005, focusing on strategic management and employee development. Prior to his work at THT Designs, Pape was employed by Cabela’s and South Dakota-based Van Dyke’s Subsidiary. An Omaha native, Pape holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska— Lincoln and is a Certified Public Accountant. “Jerry is a proven leader with a wealth of management expertise and a strong commitment to the mission of Catholic Charities,” said Rev. Gregory Baxter, moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Omaha. “The agency will benefit greatly from Jerry’s dynamic and innovative leadership as its new executive director.” “I look forward to leading a dedicated staff as we address the future needs of our communities and am confident Catholic Charities will continue to play a critical role in addressing poverty in Northeast Nebraska,” said Pape.

their own dollars with Sobrato Foundation dollars. This message was appealing to both large and small donors, and increased our base of support.” “The Sobrato Family Foundation has an unusually good understanding of the operational needs of nonprofit organizations,” said Gregory Kepferle, CEO of Catholic Charities. “They were willing to provide unrestricted financial support to help us improve how we do business. Ultimately, a stronger infrastructure will allow us to provide better service to the poor and vulnerable in our community.”

St. Patrick Center Announces New Effort to Fund Housing

Community Matches Grant to Catholic Charities in San Jose
Thanks to strong community support, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County succeeded in meeting the terms of a $200,000 two-year challenge grant by the Sobrato Family Foundation, a philanthropic leader in the community. The grant, which promised to match two-for-one every dollar raised by Catholic Charities, challenged the agency to expand its fundraising efforts in order to fulfill the conditions. The net effect of a successful challenge was an additional $300,000 of unrestricted funding for the agency. “The excellent response to the grant showed very strong community support for our mission of helping people reach self-sufficiency,” said Magi Young, chief development officer of Catholic Charities. “It gave us the opportunity to ask people to increase their giving to Catholic Charities, knowing that they could leverage

St. Patrick Center in St. Louis recently launched an aggressive new housing campaign. The Key Player Initiative is a community-wide effort that will raise needed resources for permanent, supportive housing. “Key Players” will be catalysts in leading St. Patrick Center clients to independence and self-sufficiency. “Housing is the first and most important component to stability,” said St. Patrick Center CEO Dan Buck. “In order for us to continue to implement this best practice “Housing First” model, we will recruit key community players to help us provide safe, dignified housing for individuals and families.” The goal of the Key Player Initiative is to raise $1 million housing program dollars annually by fiscal year 2011. Money raised will pay for rent, utilities, livings skills classes, case work, and program costs. At just $2000 per client, one million dollars raised annually will end homelessness for 500 individuals and families each year. St. Patrick Center will recruit Key Players from corporations, foundations, parishes, churches, schools, and social and trade organizations. St. Patrick Center’s Board of Trustees will be the manpower behind the initiative’s marketing, prospect identification and solicitation efforts. Key Players will be encouraged to use their creative resources to organize a variety of fundraisers. Founding Key Players include Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and St. Joseph School in Manchester. In May, Wells Fargo held an annual golf tournament and raised $220,000 for St. Patrick Center, bringing the event’s four-year total to one million dollars. In April, the Mortgage Bankers Association launched their Homers for the Homeless fundraiser to collect pledges from Cardinals baseball fans for every home run hit during the season. The anticipated total

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of all pledges at the end of the season is $30,000. In March, students at St. Joseph School in Manchester collected $3,300 in loose change and held in-school fundraisers to help build permanent, positive change in the lives of the homeless.

Omaha Announces New Initiative to Fight Poverty

Students Paint Mural for CCSWW Drexel House

Oklahoma City Receives $125,000 for Faith Community Nursing

The Butterfield Memorial Foundation has recently awarded $125,000 to Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to help fund and expand a statewide Faith Community Nursing Network coordinated by Catholic Charities. “We are thankful and enthusiastic about the opportunity to expand these services,” said Tim O’Connor, executive director of the agency. “We went through an extensive strategic planning process, and this allows its development across the archdiocese and state over the next five years.” This is the second grant cycle of the Butterfield Memorial Foundation, which was formed with assets from the sale Deaconess Hospital. With a corpus of nearly $120 million, the foundation makes grants only to Christian organizations for medical and health-related projects. “Though Butterfield is a newcomer to Oklahoma City philanthropy, we see much activity devoted to improving healthcare in our community,” said Butterfield President Evan Collins. “Many individuals and organizations are working hard to provide care for the poor and uninsured and we’re delighted to be a part of that effort.” Catholic Charities parish nurse coordinator Mary Diane Steltenkamp said she is excited about the direction of Faith Community Nursing, the new name for the current Parish Nursing Program which was established in 1997. “Catholic Charities has served as the hub for parish nursing in Oklahoma for the past 10 years. It has grown and changed to meet the needs of our communities,” she said.

Catholic Charities of Omaha recently announced that it will be involved in three major community initiatives that aim to reduce poverty in Omaha. Catholic Charities will join forces and support the ongoing efforts of Building Bright Futures, Project North Omaha, and Empower Omaha. Building Bright Futures is a multifaceted, comprehensive partnership that will support low-income children in Douglas and Sarpy Counties from birth through post-secondary school. Catholic Charities will be involved in the adolescent behavioral health initiative, which will support youth in need of addiction recovery, mental health services, unplanned pregnancy counseling, and services offered through the agency’s community resource centers. Project North Omaha will address issues such as infrastructure, housing, and community development in North Omaha. Catholic Charities will work on the development of a low-income senior housing project to accommodate North Omaha residents in need of assistance. Empower Omaha is intended to help empower the Greater Omaha area by developing and implementing a strategic plan that accelerates the quality of life progress of African Americans, North Omaha, and the City of Omaha. The goal is to transform Omaha into a model city for all of its citizens. Catholic Charities will be involved in efforts associated with embracing diversity and strengthening family life for those in the Omaha community. “Catholic Charities is taking steps in Omaha to achieve Catholic Charities USA’s goal to reduce poverty in America in half by 2020,” said Jerry Pape, executive director of Catholic Charities. “We are excited about our agency’s involvement in these initiatives and look forward to the changes that will take place in our local community.”

Art students at a local high school and two Thurston County, WA, artists have collaborated to paint a large mural on two walls of the lobby of Drexel House, a new housing continuum facility for the homeless owned and operated by Catholic Community Services of Western Washington. The mural, which depicts the journey through homelessness, incorporates the thoughts of several Drexel House residents. According to Bonnie Hill, Drexel House program manager, residents talked about sleeping outdoors and in vans; using bicycles for transportation; and the experience of moving into transitional or permanent housing. The project began when Gary Sandwick, family center director of the Thurston County Family Center in Olympia, who helped develop and now manages Drexel House, contacted Olympia High School Principal Matt Grant about students painting a mural. Two of the school’s art teachers contacted professional mural artists Julia Steiner and Kristine Sogn to assist the students. The painting began in March. Most of the students worked on the mural in the evenings, after they had completed their homework, and on weekends. Drexel House is the first CCS housing program for homeless men and women in Thurston County. The facility provides dormitory sleeping accommodations for 14 men, 25 studio apartments with transitional services, and 10 studio apartments with supportive services for men and women. Features include a central kitchen; central dining facilities; laundry facilities; offices and common areas for socialization, training, and other activities.

Catholic Charities in Denver Finds New Home
On May 30, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver closed on the purchase of its future home at 4045 Pecos Street. The building, which formerly

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NewsNotes NewsNotes NewsNotes NewsNotes
housed the worldwide headquarters for Promise Keepers, provides double the space of Catholic Charities’ current building. Catholic Charities plans to physically relocate programs throughout the summer months. An open house will be planned for the fall once the move is complete. “We were very fortunate to find this building. It enables Catholic Charities to remain centrally located,” said Jim Mauck, president and CEO of Catholic Charities. “With the additional space, we will be able to consolidate more of our staff in one location, and our cost will be virtually identical to what we are currently paying to house our staff at Alameda and other locations around town.” Catholic Charities CYO to provide affordable adult day care services and caregiver support, and increase outreach to underserved senior communities in San Mateo County. Services will be provided through the agency’s San Carlos Adult Day Services program. Headquartered in Redwood City, Sequoia Healthcare District identifies local healthcare needs and uses district tax revenues to collaboratively develop and support innovative, cost-effective programs and activities designed to achieve health, wellness and disease prevention in southern San Mateo County. Catholic Charities CYO’s San Carlos Adult Day Services (SCADS) is a licensed adult day program that provides a safe, therapeutic, and caring environment for frail seniors while also providing respite for their caregivers. Established in 1975, SCADS became a program of Catholic Charities CYO in 1982 and currently serves approximately 80 clients per year. “I can’t say enough about the impact of this award,” said Nancy Keegan, program director at SCADS. “We are particularly excited because we now have the opportunity to promote our services more broadly and target those communities that traditionally have been marginalized.” A portion of the multi-year award will fund a new bilingual staff position and support the outreach activities of the program’s current case management coordinator. to watch over Virginia Tech and the Commonwealth Catholic Charities staff by offering to assist those in need of counseling. Commonwealth Catholic Charities provides human services throughout central and southwestern Virginia including the town of Blacksburg, where Virginia Tech is located. “We were all deeply touched by the warmth and sincerity of this gesture on the part of our Catholic Charities friends from Hartford,” said Nattrass. “Our heartfelt thanks go out to Catholic Charities USA and all of our Catholic Charities friends from across the country who called and sent letters of support to us during this most difficult time.”

Chicago Agency Rallies Youth to “Say ‘Yes’ to Education”

On June 28, school-age children in Chicago rallied in support of safe outof-school activities at Catholic Charities’ annual “Say Yes to Education Rally.” Now in its 2nd year, the event brought together children from across Catholic Charities’ childhood programs in Chicago to play and learn together about alternatives to gang involvement and other negative influences. Approximately 300 children attended the event, accompanied by Catholic Charities staff from the agency’s Childhood Services Division, which includes the Street Intervention program aimed at reducing gangs in many Chicago communities. The children marched through a local park, listened to speakers, and enjoyed a post-rally barbecue with music, dancing, and games. “This event educates children to stay in school and to make the right choices,” said Diane Rodriguez, school-age director, Catholic Charities Childhood Services.

Colorado Springs Volunteer Honored Nationally and Locally

Hartford Catholic Charities Sends “Angel” After VA Tech Tragedy
Following the April 16 tragedy at Virginia Tech University, Joanne D. Nattrass, executive director of Commonwealth Catholic Charities (CCC) in Richmond, VA, received a special gift of compassion from Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Hartford, CT. Rose Alma Senatore, chief executive officer; Lois Nesci, chief of operations; and Linda Smith, director of quality assurance, all from Catholic Charities in Hartford, sent an “angel”

Catholic Charities CYO Receives $225,000 for Adult Care
Sequoia Healthcare District in the Redwood City, CA, recently announced a three-year grant totaling $225,000 to

Frank Mora, a long-time volunteer for Catholic Charities in Colorado Springs, CO, was recently nominated for several volunteer awards. In April, he was one of 14 finalists for Catholic Charities USA’s National Volunteer of the Year Award. Mora was also honored at the Pikes Peak Annual Volunteer Awards Luncheon, when he was named the “Kaleidoscope Volunteer of the Year. This is the most prestigious award given by the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and DOVIA (Directors of Volunteers in Agencies). It is awarded to the most outstanding volunteer administrator in the Pikes Peak Region. In addition to this, Mora received the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award, which recognizes him for volunteering at least 500 hours at Marian House in 2006. Truth is, Mora volunteered over 1,200 hours! This award is given by the president of the United States to honor individuals who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to volunteer service over the course of 12 months. Congratulations, Frank!

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In Brief...
Papal Awards Given to Distinguished Staff Members in DC
Last fall, His Excellency Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, and His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, gathered with other ministers of the liturgy and parishioners to celebrate the annual Conferral of Papal Honors. Ed Orzechowski, president and CEO of Catholic Charities received the papal honor of the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, given for distinguished service to the church and the papacy. Mr. Orzechowski holds a masters of social work degree from the University of Maryland and has served as president and CEO for 17 years. James Bishop, senior program manager of the Archdiocesan Legal Network of Catholic Charities, received the papal honor of the Medal Benemerenti, conferred for his outstanding meritorious service to the Archdiocese of Washington through the Legal Network. Mr. Bishop has directed the Legal Network since 1993, assisting more than 5,000 area residents annually.

Bay Area Agency Appoints New Director to Run Youth Programs

Catholic Charities CYO (CCCYO), one of the largest nonprofit providers of social services in the San Francisco area, has appointed Jim Willford as the agency’s executive director of CYO Camp and Retreat Center located in Occidental, CA. Willford has a rich background in inner city teaching, and camp programming and management. Most recently, he served as the executive director of YMCA Storer Camps, a large summer camp and year round environmental education and retreat center on 1,200 acres in south central Michigan that serves 28,000 children annually.

Catholic Charities in Peoria Celebrates Catholic Charities Month

Agency in New Mexico Builds Transitional Housing

Catholic Charities in Farmington, NM, is in the process of constructing a four-unit transitional housing complex. The San Juan Catholic Charities agency received a donation to purchase the building adjacent to the office, and other grantors have provided $168,000 in funding. Funding will also come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the state’s Continuum of Care for the homeless program.

Catholic Charities in Peoria, IL, kicked off its celebration of “Catholic Charities Month” with the “Light of Hope Dinner and Auction” on June 2. The event was attended by 325 people and raised $120,000 to support the agency’s various programs and services. These funds include $30,000 to provide new flooring in the Guardian Angel Home, which provides a caring and structured living environment for emotionally troubled boys. During the month of June, Catholic Charities’ branch offices held a variety of fund raising and community events throughout the 26-country Diocese of Peoria. In all, Catholic Charities Month raised roughly $130,000 and increased the public awareness of the Catholic Charities mission.

Department of Labor Awards Funds to St. Patrick Center for Veterans

Catholic Charities in Omaha Reaccredited

In July, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new grant award for St. Patrick Center in St. Louis—a grant for $300,000 per year for St. Patrick Center to assist homeless veterans with jobs and a variety of other services. “We are honored to receive this vote of confidence from the Department of Labor,” said St. Patrick Center CEO Dan Buck. “This grant is a great tribute to our agency and the work of our employment department.” In fiscal year 2006, St. Patrick Center placed 212 veterans into full-time jobs and assisted 121 veterans in securing housing. The St. Patrick Center grant is one of 94 awarded nationally by the United States Department of Labor.
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In July, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Inc. received notification that it has been reaccredited by the Council on Accreditation. Throughout the reaccreditation process, Catholic Charities received no out of compliance ratings and the accreditation was expedited through the Pre-Commission Review Report process. In 2007, only 16 percent of all agencies have earned this distinction with COA. “Our mission is to serve, empower, and advocate for people in need,” said Jerry Pape, executive director of Catholic Charities. “We are thrilled with our expedited reaccreditation as it validates the high-quality service that we provide to those in greatest need in our community.”

NewsNotes NewsNotes
New COO Appointed at Denver Agency
Stephen Carattini has joined Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver as the new chief operating officer. Carattini’s duties will be oversight of the three major program areas of Housing and Homelessness, Mission and Ministry, and Family and Children. Carattini comes with a broad range of experience in both the corporate and nonprofit worlds. He most recently was the division director for Immigration, Refugee & Outreach Services at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, responsible for six program areas including emergency assistance, transitional housing, residential housing, and immigrant legal services.

Charities USA
Charities USA (ISSN 0364-0760) is published by Catholic Charities USA . Address all correspondence to the managing editor. Charities USA is distributed as a benefit of membership in Catholic Charities USA. © 2007 Catholic Charities USA, Alexandria, Virginia.

Editorial and Business Office:

New Hampshire Staff Volunteers in New Orleans

1731 King Street • Alexandria, Virginia 22314 Telephone: (703) 549-1390 • Fax: (703) 549-4183 Web site: Publisher

In May, a group of volunteers and staff from New Hampshire Catholic Charities traveled to New Orleans to assist in the on-going clean-up through Operation Helping Hands, a program of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This was the third trip to New Orleans for volunteers and staff from the agency. Many of the residents have no desire to return to New Orleans, and others have since passed away leaving their possessions behind. The heart-wrenching job of the volunteers during this mission was to remove the furniture and personal belongings from the vacant apartments in three locations. The volunteers removed 620 yards of debris and helped to landscape two of the locations. Altogether, six dumpsters of yard debris and nine dumpsters of room contents were filled by the volunteers.

Rev. Larry Snyder

John Keightley
Managing editor

Ruth Liljenquist
Contributing Writers

Dinner Raises $2.1 Million and Launches CCCYO’s Centennial Celebration

Shelley Borysiewicz Shelly Broeker Bill Jones Leslie New
ProduCtion Manager

In San Francisco, Catholic Charities CYO’s 10th Annual Loaves & Fishes Fund and Awards Dinner raised $2.1 million, directly benefiting the agency’s 33 programs. More than $8 million has been raised in support of Catholic Charities CYO through the Loaves & Fishes Fund and Awards Dinner over the past 10 years. Archbishop George Niederauer, chairman of the board of Catholic Charities CYO, presented the 2007 Loaves & Fishes Awards for Outstanding Service to several honorees for assisting families and children in need, from providing educational opportunities for innercity youth, to building affordable housing for low-income families, to advocating on behalf of poor families and foster children and spearheading public policy changes to protect them, to providing direct aid to abused, troubled, and homeless children. The Loaves & Fishes Awards Dinner launches Catholic Charities CYO’s Centennial celebration, which honors 100 years of the agency’s work as a critical safety net for families, children and those in need.

Jim Canavan
editorial CoMMittee

Moira Bindner Shelley Borysiewicz Robert Colbert Rachel Lustig Carol Peck Jane Stenson Karen Wong

Palmaris Marketing Associates, Inc. Catholic Charities USA is the National Member Service Center for one of the nation’s largest social service networks. Member agencies and institutions nationwide provide vital social services to people in need, regardless of their religious, social, or economic backgrounds. Catholic Charities USA supports and enhances the work of its membership by providing networking opportunities, national advocacy, program development, training and consulting, and financial benefits.

New Hampshire Parties with a Purpose

On February 17, New Hampshire Catholic Charities held its second annual Mardi Gras celebration. This year’s event surpassed the 2006 Mardi Gras celebration in both funds raised and attendance. The event raised $34,000 ($10,000 more than last year’s event) for the agency’s Emergency Assistance Fund—a fund dedicated to addressing emergency and hardship programs. The event included a silent auction, Louisiana cuisine, and Mardi Gras-style live entertainment, such as a stilt walker, magician, and caricature artist. Party-goers danced the night away while enjoying the sounds of the Boston Players, a five-piece jazz band that played a variety of music throughout the evening. “This year’s event was a great success,” commented Thomas Blonski, president and CEO of the agency. “It was truly a party with a purpose.” a

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C at h o l i C C h a r i t i e s . P r o v i d i n g h e l P. C r e at i n g h o P e .

how does your work provide help and create hope?


The Archdiocese of Newark and the neighboring Paterson diocese both have enclaves of middle-eastern Muslim immigrants. One such immigrant contacted the PAC for help in April 2003, but in the end, gave us much more than she believes we gave her. Saira was 26 years old when we met her. Originally from Lebanon, she had been granted asylum in the United States due to the loss of one of her legs as a child in her war-torn land. When she was 18, she visited the United States to be fitted with a proper prosthesis. She returned four years later, seeking a permanent home. When she came to us, she was at the end of her resources. Her initial emergent need was rental assistance, which we were able to provide through the generosity of a private foundation. But soon a greater need emerged—that of emotional and spiritual support. Saira had been rejected by her community. Whatever assistance they would provide seemed to have strings attached. When the person to whom her family in Lebanon had entrusted her demanded “favors” in exchange for shelter and food, she refused and left. Time and time again, she reached out to her community for help but was treated as an undesirable and undeserving per44 | Charities USA Third Quarter 2007

roviding help and creating hope for others is a gift. In the words of St. Francis, “it is in giving of ourselves that we receive”—a truth we have witnessed in our work at Catholic Charities Bergen Parish Access Center (PAC) in Hackensack, NJ.

son. As a young unmarried woman with no family members in the Muslim communities, her presence defied traditional values and behavior. The solution to her problems, she was told, was to marry. During the next three years, we journeyed with Saira as she moved through suffering, rejection, and fear. In exchange, we at the PAC gained insight into a world that we knew little of. Saira’s deep belief in God and his goodness has sustained and led her. She has been a witness of faith to us and in turn we have been given the opportunity to fulfill Jesus’ mandate in Matthew 25. Saira succeeded in obtaining a job and stable housing. Now she has moved on to greater prospects and self-growth, having been befriended by a physical therapist and her family in Ohio. She now has the support of a nurturing family to help her reach her goals of obtaining a GED diploma, furthering her college education, and becoming an American citizen. Saira’s greater dream will be fulfilled when her mother and brother are welcomed to the United States. We are thankful for the chance to witness to God’s love in this world that ever challenges our faith, as we strive to provide help and create hope with God’s direction and assistance. a

Kris Beirne Program Coordinator Catholic Charities Bergen Parish Access Center Newark, NJ

Catholic Charities usa 2007-08 Meetings
Board of Trustees CCUSA Annual Gathering Parish Social Ministry Regional Training Parish Social Ministry Regional Training From Mission to Service Institute— Part II at the University of Notre Dame Parish Social Ministry Regional Training Board of Trustees Board of Trustees Annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering Parish Social Ministry Regional Training From Mission to Service Institute Part I at the University of Notre Dame

date and Place
September 12, Cincinnati, OH September 13-16, Cincinnati, OH September 28-30, Raleigh, NC October 12-14, Paynesville, MN November 4-7, South Bend, IN November 9-10, Milwaukee, WI November 16-17, Alexandria, VA November 30-December 1, Alexandria, VA February 25-28, Washington, DC March 7-9, Memphis, TN March 9-12, South Bend, IN

CCusa Contact

Kirsten Linge, (703) 236-6201 Amy Stinger, (703) 236-6227

Rachel Lustig, (703) 236-6234 Rachel Lustig, (703) 236-6234 Troy Zeigler, (703) 236-6239

Brian Stevens, (703) 236-6233 Kirsten Linge, (703) 236-6201 Kirsten Linge, (703) 236-6201

Rachel Lustig, (703) 236-6234

Brian Stevens, (703) 236-6233 Troy Zeigler, (703) 236-6239

To attend a JustFaith workshop or for more information about JustFaith, visit

September 8 September 8 September 15 September 15 September 20 October 13 October 27 Virginia Beach, VA Reno, NV Santa Rosa, CA Brunswick, ME Lafayette, LA Altoona, PA Venice, FL

Parish Social Ministry Regional Trainings
Join us for a weekend training conference where you will: • gain a greater understanding of our Catholic social mission • learn the theological foundation and framework for parish social ministry • learn to build your ministry’s capacity • celebrate our faith and fellowship

sePteMber 28-30, raleigh, nC | oCtober 12-14, Paynesville, Mn | noveMber 9-10, MeMPhis, tn

For more information, go to


Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage Washington, DC Permit No. 8117
Providing Help. Creating Hope.


1731 King Street Alexandria, Virginia 22314

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