We serve others, not because they are Catholic, but because we are Catholic.
As One Body in Christ, we work together to respond to all of those in need throughout Northeast Ohio. Together, we can change the faces of despair, loneliness, darkness, and addiction into Faces of Hope.
Monyana chose life.
Monyana found out she was pregnant and soon after, that her baby’s father did not want to be involved. “I thought about the situation, and I chose to keep my baby,” Monyana says. “I cried a couple of nights, and then I went to the internet to consider my options.”
Her search led her to Catholic Charities and, specifically, to Help Me Grow, a home-based program that provides education on infant growth and parenting skils to prenatal mothers and those with babies under six months of age. “I needed guidance. This was my first child. I got great resources through Catholic Charities,” Mohyana says.The services Monyana received ranged from the physical -- diapers, clothing, shelter -- to the emotional and spiritual. “When I went to Catholic Charities, me and the first lady I met there, we prayed for a while about many different things, and God brought us some answers,” Monyana says.
Once her daughter, whom she named Manama, was born, Monyana continued to rely on Catholic Charities. “My caseworker, Christine, makes sure Manama is meeting her milestones and is growing well,” Monyana says. When their living situation became uncertain, Catholic Charities stepped in to help mom and baby find housing. “If I hadn’t found Catholic Charities, I might have given up on being a mother,” Monyana says.
Today, with her faith and continued guidance from Cathlic Charities, Monyana is positive about the future for herself and Manama. “I see me being a doctor, and I see her being a veterinarian because she loves animals,” Monyana says confidently. “We’re persistent.”
Her caseworker agrees. “She encourages me,” Christine says of Monyana. “Anything that comes her way, she takes it head on.” That includes the lighter things in life, like spending leisure time with Manama. “We love to go on outings. We like to go to Chuck E. Cheese,” Manyana says. ”To see her play a game and her face light up is amazing.”
Ron went from homelessness to hopefulness.
Through hard times, Ron J. may have lost income and a secure place to live, but he never lost his faith in God. “I came from a religious background,” he says. “My circumstances were hard, but I still believed.” His positive outlook helped Ron find St. Joseph Overnight Shelter and eventually St. Elizabeth Center, part of Catholic Charities in Lorain County. For nearly a decade, Ron took advantage of the many services offered by Catholic Charities. “My caseworker, Stephanie, helped me so much,” he says. Through Catholic Charities, Ron found the behavioral health care he needed and, eventually, his own home. “It feels good,” Ron says about having his own place. “It’s what’s called living the dream. I thank God for that.”
While he lived at St. Elizabeth, Ron made a point of helping out however he could. Now that he has permanent housing, Ron considers volunteering at the center his way of saying thanks. “I’m a long way from St. Elizabeth now, but every chance I get I come down and make my presence felt,” he says. On certain days at the center, you might find Ron unloading the food truck, sorting produce or helping in the kitchen. “That the best I can do and the least I can do to show my appreciation.”
Next up for Ron: securing his social security for retirement. “That’s the last piece of the puzzle,” he says. Catholic Charities remains a source of guidance and information as Ron makes his way toward full independence.
“My hat’s off to Catholic Charities for believing in me and opening the door for me,” he says. And for those whose contributions to Catholic Charities make it possible for people like Ron to get the help they deserve, know that Ron appreciates you as well. “It’s something challenging,” he says of making financial contributions, “but it’s a good thing.”
Nette found support while she was grieving.
Ed Wilde spent just one day at Holy Family Hospice in Parma before he died, but his wife, Nette, took immense comfort in the physical and spiritual care he received. “Ed was a very holy and compassionate man,” Nette says. “I believe that my husband’s life was in God’s hands only, and I wanted him to spend his last days on earth in God’s care and presence.”
The staff at Holy Family Hospice knew that their job of emotional healing continued after Ed’s passing. Nette’s grief needed to be addressed. “I used to cry all the time,” Nette says. A call from Erin in Holy Family’s bereavement office boosted her spirits, and the two decided to meet once a week. “That was the beginning of my healing process,” Nette says.
Another important step in that process occurred when Nette began volunteering at Holy Family as a chapel assistant. Helping patients and their loved ones to know they are not alone and that they are loved by God gives Nette the chance to give back with empathy and compassion. “It is the most wonderful and amazing thing when one is doing something for others without expecting anything in return,” she says. Nette believes that volunteering is just as beneficial to her as it is to the people she helps. “To me, Holy Family Hospice is a small but very welcoming community of God’s people. I was joyfully accepted with open arms, and everyone made me feel that I am no longer alone and that I belong.”
Nette encourages others to experience the fulfillment of sharing their time and talents. “Do you want to be alive and happy? Volunteer with love,” she says. “Volunteering is being thankful to God for all that we receive from Him.”
Tom shares his story with others on the path to recovery
Tom Arthur enjoys the one-on-one connections he makes as a recovery coach and peer support mentor with St. John the Baptist Recovery Outreach Center in Akron. “It leaves me in awe most days,” he says. Arthur himself has battled substance abuse, and that makes his job that much more personal. “Recovery is something that I need in order to live and that I need to share. To be able to do that through Catholic Charities has just been overwhelming for me.”
Arthur typically meets the people he will counsel in a hospital emergency department. Together, they begin the journey of change so that those battling substance abuse can reach their full potential. “The goal is to help them continually move forward and progress toward a better way to live,” Arthur says.
Support ranges from the material to the emotional. “We look at which areas of their lives are in crisis,” Arthur says. “It could be food, clothing, shelter and so on. Usually it’s the basic needs they want to focus on.” In his role, Arthur also provides information on resources, encourages involvement in recovery programs, and offers counseling, advice or support whenever it is needed.
“The biggest thing we can do is be there,” Arthur says, “whether it’s in the emergency department, the courtroom or the waiting room to see the doctor.”
Arthur believes in maintaining bonds with his clients for as long as they see fit. “The idea is to always be there whenever they need us,” he says. St. John the Baptist Recovery Outreach Center opened in April 2019 thanks in large part to a Catholic Charities’ Annual Appeal earmarked for expanding substance abuse program throughout the diocese. Because of the Annual Appeal, an addiction-free future becomes more attainable for members of the Akron community. “By donating to Catholic Charities, you’ve helped save lives,” Arthur says.
Cory focused on his son during his path to recovery
The birth of Cory Snyder’s first child motivated him to work hard on kicking his fentanyl habit. “I had done numerous intensive inpatient and outpatient treatments, but I never threw myself into full sobriety,” he admits. “My fiancé gave me an ultimatum: Get help or you won’t be able to see your son. Something clicked that day.”
Snyder reached out to Tom Arthur, his counselor at St. John the Baptist Recovery Outreach Center in Akron. “We talked about life stuff – what was going on with both of us,” he says. “The first day I met Tom, he was a smiling face when I was at the lowest of my lows.”
Arthur helped Snyder tackle the small and large issues that seemed to impede his recovery. “I didn’t have a cell phone so St. John’s helped me get one so I could call Tom and make my appointments,” he says. “It helps that Tom has a similar history as mine. I can pick up the phone and ask, ‘Has this ever happened to you? What did you do? What was the outcome?’”
The path to recovery has not been “all rainbows and unicorns,” Snyder admits, “but life is good. I get to be a stay-at-home dad. Sometimes, I go to a dark place in my head, but the important part is me telling people about it. I have the support people around me now to ask advice or get encouragement.”
Snyder is grateful for the assistance he has received from St. John the Baptist Recovery Outreach Center and Catholic Charities. He hopes to one day pay it forward just like his mentor, Tom Arthur. “In the future, I would like to help out as many people as I can,” Snyder says. “I feel like I’ve found a purpose in life.”
Being a witness to the #FacesofHope around us reminds us that, though we are many, we are one in Christ.
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