We needed support, and you surrounded us with love.
Willie was granted custody of Reander when he was just 9 months old, following the death of Reander’s biological father, whom Willie had been mentoring in his work at a nonprofit agency that helped people in recovery and returning from incarceration. Since that time, Willie and Reander have been a family surrounded by the love of the staff at Fatima Family Center, a Catholic Charities urban center located in the Hough neighborhood of Cleveland.
“Catholic Charities is a family-focused agency that meets you where you are,” explains Willie. “Having Reander at day care and now afterschool care has been a blessing. Whatever our needs, they have been supportive.”
“Fatima Family Center was a godsend to our family. It provided us with the opportunity to receive the tools necessary to be a complete family,” says Willie. “I will forever be grateful to Catholic Charities, Fatima Family Center and the staff.”
Grace needed 24 hour care to stay safe, and you gave her a home.
“It is really hard to find help when you have a child with disabilities,” say Erin and Eric, who struggled to care for their daughter at home. Grace has a multitude of disabilities; she can’t speak and is in need of 24-hour care. Her parents couldn’t imagine Grace anywhere but home, until they found Rose-Mary.
Thanks to the generosity of Catholic Charities supporters, Rose-Mary has completed its Homes for Our Future project, opening seven community homes to serve children and young adults with developmental disabilities. In June, Grace moved into her beautiful new Rose-Mary home.
“We fell through the cracks with government funding,” says Erin. “We ended up living in my parents’ basement with Grace and our two-year-old. Now, our daughter is happy, safe and in good hands at Rose-Mary. Catholic Charities saved our family.”
I wanted a better life, and you gave me opportunity.
In 1998, Kevin was released from the VA Hospital and came to Matt Talbot for Men, where he entered residential treatment for overcoming addiction. “I wanted to stay sober,” explains Kevin, who completed 90 days and then moved into a sober-living home. Kevin continued to visit Matt Talbot every day: “God kept bringing me back.” Kevin knew he wanted to give back and help others fighting addictions.
In 2005, he was hired as a residential assistant at Matt Talbot, and was promoted to senior residential assistant in 2014. Recently, Kevin started a Heroin Anonymous recovery program that reaches out to addicts of this deadly drug. “God gave me this opportunity. Now I can help others see a better life.”
Matt Talbot for Men and Matt Talbot for Women offer intensive residential treatment for people fighting addiction. In 2016, Matt Talbot for Women expanded, opening a second treatment facility to meet the growing needs of the community.
I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.
When Emilio became a U.S. citizen, the staff at Catholic Charities Community Services of Lake County was there to celebrate. They had helped him complete the paperwork and navigate the process that culminated in Emilio’s citizenship.
Emilio came to America from Mexico to provide a better life for his wife and daughter, who still reside in Mexico. “In Mexico, I worked in a factory and could not make enough money to support my family,” says Emilio, who found agricultural work in Lake County. America has given him options to be able to support himself and send money back to his family.
Increasing health issues prompted Emilio to seek help from the Catholic Charities Hispanic Services program. They provide transportation and advocacy for him when seeing doctors. He is also able to receive counseling at Catholic Charities which helps him cope with his illness.
Obtaining citizenship provides Emilio opportunities that improve his situation. “Becoming a citizen has helped give me peace of mind,” says Emilio.
My grandma needed care in her final days, and you provided dignity and love.
“These are angels here,” Angela would whisper to Tania from her bed at Holy Family Hospice. Angela was Tania’s nonnina – grandmother in Italian – yet, Tania says that Angela was “everybody’s grandma.”
“She was amazing and beautiful,” says Tania about her grandmother, who had been ill for 10 years and lived with Tania’s parents since Tania was 5 years old. “On August 20, we transferred nonnina to Holy Family.
As soon as we walked in the doors, we felt such spirituality, love and comfort. She was blessed to have the experience and help of the staff at Holy Family in her last days.”
Tania explains that simple things made a difference for her grandmother in the end, like being able to shower, Mass broadcast from the chapel, and being surrounded by her large Italian family. “She was only there four days,” says Tania, “But we were touched to the core. That place will always be special.”
I was homeless, and you opened a door for me.
“I’ve got to give back,” says Glen who has been coming to Catholic Charities Community Services of Lorain County for 25 years, “When you’re fortunate, blessed and able, it’s what you do.”
The first time that Glen came to Catholic Charities Family Center, commonly known as 8th Street, he was homeless. “The staff would not go home until they found me a place to sleep,” says Glen. “They never gave up on me and never looked down on me. This is a place where people really care about individuals.”
Glen, a disabled military veteran, is now retired and still assists others as a volunteer. Eighth Street helped Glen’s wife in obtaining her G.E.D., and provides others with meals, prescription and Medicaid coverage, job opportunities, and more. “People really need that place,” says Glen. “I thank all who are able to give.”
I was struggling, and you gave me purpose.
Magnus was serving an in-school suspension when he was called to the Guidance Office at Barberton High School to find out he was recommended for Magic Mentors, a new cooperation between Catholic Charities Community Services of Summit County and other community partners. Magnus was assigned a mentor and participated in other activities for at-risk teens, which included educational field trips to expose students to post-high school career and college opportunities.
“I really enjoyed the field trips,” says Magnus, who is now in his second year with Magic Mentors. “I have lived in this region all my life, but I didn’t know that Stark College had a welding program until we went there on a field trip. Now my mind is set on going into welding.”
Magnus admits that during his freshman year of high school, he got in trouble from time to time. This year, he is proud to have completed his first quarter without detentions. Referring to Catholic Charities, Magnus says: “They are putting their money in the right place. Kids who join will benefit a lot from this program.”
My son was fighting addiction, and you cared for him.
Ben was a sweet, bright young man who loved everything, especially basketball. Unfortunately, Ben struggled with an addiction to heroin that eventually took his life. Lynn agonized over her only child who was in and out of rehab and the criminal justice system. Eventually, Ben found the help he needed at Matt Talbot for Recovering Men, a Catholic Charities residential treatment center.
“He connected with the men there,” says Lynn. “They were so welcoming that he was comfortable opening up and trusting the staff and residents. He was proud of what he accomplished there. I could see it.”
Lynn, a parishioner at St. Leo Parish, never thought her family would be a beneficiary of Catholic Charities. “I am so grateful for the help you gave Ben, and the hope that you brought to us,” says Lynn. “I don’t know where I would be without my faith.”