Migration & Refugee Services
Esther Ngemba has fond memories of growing up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “We had a community where everyone was like family,” she says. That changed around 2006, when civil war broke out. When Esther’s family was attacked in their home, they decided to flee, eventually seeking refuge in Uganda.
A few years later, Esther’s parents were excited to learn that their family would be emigrating to the United States. Still, a new country with different customs could be intimidating. Catholic Charities Migration & Refugee Services stepped forward to help Esther’s family. “They helped us with grocery shopping, finding housing, signing up for school, and getting things like vaccinations and social security cards,” Esther says.
Currently a student at John Carroll University, Esther wants to be a voice for other refugees. She recognizes the impact Catholic Charities has had on her family, and she encourages others to follow the organization’s lead. “If people are suffering, you have to give them hope,” Esther says. “You have to welcome the stranger.”
The largest resettlement office in Northeast Ohio, Catholic Charities Migration & Refugee Services has been assisting refugees in Cuyahoga County since 1948.
St. Augustine Health Ministries
David's life has taken many twists and turns. He served in the Navy, was employed as a county social worker, became homeless for 15 months, suffered a debilitating stroke, and chose St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living as his home following rehabilitation in skilled nursing at St. Augustine Manor.
"Life today is peaceful. I have security, my own apartment, staff that help me out, and nice residents. I thank God for putting me here," says David.
David, who attends daily Mass, started a monthly rosary group, and makes weekly volunteer visits to his friends in skilled nursing. "Living here has been a gift to me," says David.
St. Augustine Health Ministries, founded by Catholic Charities, offers a full continuum of care through skilled nursing, rehabilitation, assisted living, long-term care, hospice, home health care and a child enrichment center.
Catholic Charities Disability Services
Twins Shaye and Sharita share a sweet demeanor, a passion for skating, and autism. Buoyed by their parents' positive attitude, the twins live with purpose. "God sends us down here for a reason," says Sharita. "Maybe it's to preserve our world and fill it with love and inclusion and unity."
That sense of unity permeates "Saturday School" at OLA-St. Joseph Center in Tremont. "The program is educational and social," says Shaye. "I like delving into things and figuring things out with math." Through "Saturday School," Shaye and her sister build lasting friendships. "We're one big happy family," she says. "It's an inclusion revolution."
Catholic Charities Disability Services "Saturday School" is a Continuing Adult Education Program that brings together adults with cognitive disabilities to continue their education, learn life skills and socialize.
St. Philip Neri Family Center
Deidre Williams loves her job as a dietician and cashier at a local hospital. “It’s never the same each day,” she says. “It’s exciting.”
Not that long ago, Deidre was in a very different place. “I decided to take the road down to drugs. I became homeless and mentally unstable.” After two years, she put herself in a recovery facility. It was there that she learned about the job search resources offered at the St. Philip Neri Employment and Training Center. “They helped me with my resume, job applications and cover letters,” Deidre says. “And they helped me look for jobs.”
By the time she had an in-person interview at the hospital, Deidre felt confident about rejoining the workforce. “You lose hope when you do drugs. This program helped me get my confidence back,” she says. “When I got the job, it was awesome. I felt like I was back."
“I’ve recommended this program to several people,” she adds. “I’ve learned a lot, and I don’t want to go back to where I was. I like my life today.”
St. Philip Neri Employment and Training Center helps job seekers gain a total awareness of their skills, needs, strengths and abilities to promote the self-confidence required in today’s world of work.
Adult Day Services
"I've always been active," 72 year old Marian declares. "I'm energetic and I like to dance." So it threw her for a loop three years ago when she found herself sidelined by double pneumonia and surgery. "I was working until this happened," she says. "I was so depressed." Then Marian's caseworker introduced her to Catholic Charities and Summit Adult Day Services.
"I come here three days a week. I do yoga. I love my creative arts class. We go on excursions. I've seen things I didn't even know were around here," Marian enthuses. "People say I haven't been this happy in years.
The purpose of Summit Adult Day Services is to help keep older adults independent, social, and in their homes. For over 40 years, this program has continued to evolve, grow and change to best meet the needs of older adults.