Radio

Voice of Charity

Tuesdays: 8:30 – 9 a.m.
WNDZ 750 AM

 

For more than 100 years, Catholic Charities has been providing compassionate, competent and professional services, seven days a week, to anyone in need, strengthening and supporting individuals, families and communities. The Voice of Charity helps further this mission, with engaging conversations about important issues affecting our clients, and the world around us.    
Marie Jochum and Michael Bare Co-Host The Voice of Charity. Marie Jochum is Catholic Charities Director of Board Relations and Mission Engagement. Michael Bare is Manager of Online Content and Social Media. Their knowledge, experience and compassion for others informs and inspires listeners each week. Join us, LIVE each Tuesday mornings at 8:30 on WNDZ, 750 AM. 

Month of the Young Child

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
April is the month of the Young Child. The annual celebration supports young children, teachers, and families in the pursuit of health, safety and education. Catholic Charities recognizes the responsibility that society and the Church has to protect children. We provide services that enhance children’s education, health, safety, and connections to the community. Through our child development centers, 1,4000 children and their families learn and grow in safe, nurturing centers and are prepared for success in elementary school. In 2015, 97% of zero to 3 year olds in Catholic Charities educational programs met or exceeded their expected milestones for language, cognitive, physical and social-emotional development. As Pope Francis describes children as, “the joy of the family and of society…Children are a gift.”

Supporting Young Parents with Young Children

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
The birth of a child is a beautiful thing, but very young parents may find themselves unprepared to bring a new addition into the world. There are many risk factors associated with teen pregnancy. Poverty is one major risk, since teens are usually not working jobs that can support a family. Also educational achievement is at risk if a teen drops out of school as a result of the pregnancy and demands of parenting. Finally, a young parent may find themselves rejected by their own parents as a consequence of their pregnancy, and therefore must face this challenging time alone and possibly homeless. For all these reasons and more, it is important that young parents have access to help in having a healthy delivery and ongoing care of their baby. Catholic Charities Child, Youth, and Family Services work with young parents to help them provide for their children, and themselves. Last year alone, more than 600 teen parents benefited from our supportive classes, counseling, home visits, and more. Today Velma Brown-Walker, Director of Adolescent Parenting Programs, joins Monsignor Boland to discuss Catholic Charities services for young parents and their children.

Seasons of Grief, a new book from the LOSS Program Founder Fr. Charles Rubey

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
The Catholic Charities LOSS Program (Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide) began in 1978 when three couples came to Catholic Charities seeking a safe space to grieve the deaths of their children to suicide. At that time, suicide was poorly understood within the mental health community, and even less so within the Catholic Church, which traditionally viewed suicide as a grave sin. Nearly 40 years later, LOSS is a program that offers free, non-denominational services to individuals and families who are grieving the loss of a loved one by suicide. The LOSS model is unique, as it combines educational and peer-led support groups with professional counseling. LOSS participants are very loyal to the program, and a big part of the reason for their loyalty is the leadership of Fr. Charles Rubey, who started LOSS nearly 40 years ago. Fr. Rubey will soon celebrate 50 years of priesthood, and he has a long and distinguished career to reflect upon. Today Fr. Rubey joins Monsignor Boland to discuss LOSS and a new resource he has developed for anyone impacted by suicide.

Catholic Charities and Regional Offices

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
At Catholic Charities we have more than 150 programs at more than 160 locations across Cook and Lake counties. To help cover our very large territory, we have seven regional offices which function as local hubs where community residents can access Catholic Charities services. We invite parishes, schools and other community groups to volunteer and donate their time, talent and treasure to their local office. For example, a parish may have someone who is a member of a Regional Advisory Board and therefore, is very tied in to the regional operations. Or, a parish may run regular food or clothing drives or donate funds for a particular program, like transitional housing. Catholic Charities regional offices also network with other community resources to strengthen the social safety net in their geographic area. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Kathy Donahue, Senior Vice President of Program Development and Evaluation, and Terri Denny, Senior Director Regional and Lake County Services.

Rice Bowl Campaign Supports Catholic Charities Food Pantries

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Catholic Charities has 10 food pantries located across Cook and Lake counties that address need by supporting one of the most important and basic human rights, the right to eat. During fiscal year 2015, Catholic Charities food pantries served 1.8 million meals to more than 170,000 people. These individuals were able to count on Catholic Charities for hope and security during difficult times. With so many people counting on Catholic Charities, it is important to receive support and funding. Catholic Relief Services or “CRS” helps fund some of our pantries through its annual Rice Bowl campaign. Today Bethany Collins, Program Coordinator from the Office of Peace and Justice; Sharon Tillmon, Director of Emergency Assistance, and Sr. Joellen Tumas, Director of Casa Catalina Emergency Assistance Center join Monsignor Boland to discuss the Rice Bowl Campaign.

Legal Assistance at Catholic Charities

Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Not only does Catholic Charities work with the homeless and hungry, but we also help with other needs like legal assistance. Often times, those living in poverty need a voice. Fighting for justice for the poor is very much a part of our tradition of Catholic Social Teaching. Catholic Charities recognizes the difficulty many people have obtaining legal help. Over ten years ago, Catholic Charities began its Legal Assistance program to help fight this injustice. Catholic Charities Legal Assistance (known as CCLA) provides compassionate and competent legal assistance to the economically disadvantaged of Chicago regardless of religious affiliation. Joining Monsignor today is Hilda Bahena, Director of Catholic Charities Legal Assistance department, to discuss the affordable legal assistance Catholic Charities provides.

Lives at Stake with Budget Impasse

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
You may have seen Catholic Charities in the news responding to the state budget impasse. The situation for human services across Illinois has become dire. The social service safety net of food pantries, in-home help for seniors, adult day care, child care for young children, and other programs for vulnerable groups is unraveling, and lives are at stake. This is not a political issue. It is a moral issue, an issue of life and death. The situation throws a spotlight on our Catholic belief that we are called to provide merciful care to human beings in need. Today Monsignor Boland talks about how the budget impasse is affecting Catholic Charities and other social service provides, and he urges listeners to contact their elected officials with the simple message: “I am a voter in your district. Please overcome the budget impasse now. Pass a budget that will keep our state’s safety net intact.” To find out who your elected officials are, call the State Board of Elections at (217) 782-4141, and select option “zero” when prompted. You can also visit www.elections.il.gov and click on “New District/Official Search.”

Catholic Charities and Basic Needs

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Catholic Charities is heading toward a big birthday—we turn 100 next year! One of our earliest services was providing “relief” to families where the wage earner was either out of work or absent. Today, our Emergency Assistance centers have food pantries and clothing rooms, as well as highly-trained staff who talk with clients to sensitively discern the challenges and strengths in their situation, and come up with a plan that may include payment for utility bills, rent or security deposit, or a thorough screening to see if the client qualifies for government assistance programs. Sharon Tillmon, Director of Catholic Charities Emergency Assistance Department, joins Monsignor Boland.

Family Self-Sufficiency

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Poverty is a complex and persistent problem in our nation and communities. In 2014 the US Census reported that 15.5 percent of Americans lived in poverty. In Cook County, Illinois, the figure is higher, at 17 percent. Lately the burden on the poor and those who serve them has become heavier, as our state has failed to pass a budget that would fund programs designed to help the poor. Family poverty is associated with a number of adverse conditions that can result in homelessness, hunger, and food insecurity. Children in low-income families are more likely to experience multiple family transitions, move frequently, and change schools. The stress of living in poverty and struggling to meet daily needs can also impair parenting. Catholic Charities Lake County Family Self-Sufficiency Program aids struggling single-parent families through comprehensive case management, housing and employment services for up to five years, so that they can achieve self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty. Monsignor Boland is joined by Ashley Styx, Supervisor of our Family Self-Sufficiency Program in Lake County.

Maternity and Adoption Services

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Maternity and Adoption Services is a long-standing program at Catholic Charities. From our very beginnings in 1917, we have welcomed women in crisis pregnancies and orphaned children to our doors as part of our mission of charity with its respect for human life. For nearly 100 years Catholic Charities has known that good care equals good outcomes for mothers and children. We continue to operate programs that support this goal. We have also expanded our adoption services to include international adoption education, home study and post-adoption support services for families using “partner-placing” agencies such as Children's Home Society and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, and our own direct placement programs with Mexico and Poland. We are also getting more and more inquiries about our Adoption Registry, which is a service that helps adoptees, birth parents and family members reconnect with each other. Joining Monsignor today are Norene Chesebro, Director of our Maternity and Adoption Services, and Lisa Francis, Post-Adoption Worker.

Year of Mercy

Tuesday, January 12, 2016
During his visit to the U.S., Pope Francis referred to Catholic Charities programs as “field hospitals;” not in a medical sense, but as places where people’s needs are met with immediacy and mercy. As we enter a Holy Year, the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy declared by Pope Francis, Catholic Charities stands ready to provide person to person encounters of mercy in a wide variety of settings and with a wide variety of “recruits” to our cause. Many of us remember learning about the “Works of Mercy” as children. Reciting the list of Corporal Works that meet the needs of the physical body such as food, shelter, clothing, as well as the Spiritual Works which address emotions, understanding and forgiveness is just the beginning. “Works” implies action, and “Mercy” is the loving attitude that makes such action something that transforms both giver and recipient. Today Monsignor Boland describes many different ways Catholic Charities provides merciful service throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Seasonal Sadness: Mental Wellness in Winter

Tuesday, January 5, 2016
With the glow of the Christmas season fading, we are heading into deep winter, with short days and little sunlight. In January in Chicago, we typically have 13 or fewer days with significant sun. Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or feelings of sadness and depression that happen during the winter months. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, up to 20%, or 1 in 5 people, in the U.S. struggle with SAD or its milder form of “winter blues.” But there are steps we can take to combat this seasonal issue. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Rev. Richard Jakubik, and Cynthia Waderlow, two mental health experts at Catholic Charities.

Christmas Reflections on a Busy Year at Catholic Charities

Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Another year draws to a close, and Monsignor Boland looks back at the accomplishments of 2015, which include serving more than 1 million people in Cook and Lake counties, expansion into some of Chicago’s neediest neighborhoods, and the addition of critical new programs. Monsignor also shares the stories of clients helped by the agency in the past year.

Supporting Caregivers

Tuesday, December 22, 2015
With Americans living longer than ever, it is increasingly common to see senior citizens caring for their spouse or an adult child caring for an elderly parent. Caregiving is extremely hard work, especially when the caregiver is a senior themselves. Catholic Charities understands that caregiving is heroic work with significant challenges. Our Family Caregiver Program has helped more than 1000 family caregivers so far this year with supportive services such as respite, educational classes, support groups, and one-on-one counseling. Today DeWayne Dunigan, lead family caregiver specialist for Catholic Charities in the South Suburbs and Debra Bohli-Mitchell, Caregiver Specialist in the Northwest suburbs, join Monsignor to discuss Catholic Charities services for caregivers.

Annual Celebration of Giving Brings Joy to Donors and Recipients

Tuesday, December 8, 2015
For 68 years, Catholic Charities has helped children and families in need to have a merrier Christmas through our annual “Celebration of Giving” gift program. Volunteers are essential to the success of Celebration of Giving and over the years we have had parishes, families, schools and individuals make this annual event a highlight of their charitable work. Many volunteers and donors find out that “in giving they receive” a sense of accomplishment and appreciation for the blessings they enjoy. Organizing this virtual “army” of volunteers is a challenge, but each year our staff finds new ways to recruit, train and organize them. Joining Monsignor Boland to discuss the Celebration of Giving and how people can support it are: Danielle Pues, Administrative Coordinator for Board Relations and Michelle Finnegan, Project Manager for Celebration of Giving.

Catholic Charities and HIV/AIDS

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
The HIV/AIDS Pandemic has been here for over 30 years, and while it rarely makes headlines, it is still devastating the lives of individuals, families, communities, and even countries. Sometimes people are surprised to know that Catholic Charities was an “early responder” to the AIDS epidemic, with our involvement going back decades. We recognized early on that a compassionate and caring response was needed for anyone impacted by HIV/AIDS, and that this response was in keeping with Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel message to love one another no matter what. Along with providing social services for persons with HIV/AIDS, we also seek to educate the general public with facts about the disease in an effort to reduce the stigma and rejection faced by those with the disease and their family members. Today Monsignor Boland is joined by two women who work very closely with our HIV/AIDS programs and services. Pat Drott is the HIV/AIDS Liaison to the Archdiocese of Chicago. Carla Gutierrez is a Medical Case Manager Liaison, serving persons with HIV/AIDS in Lake County.

Catholic Charities and Veterans

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
November brings us Veterans Day, and even though U.S. troops have been pulled out of many conflicts, veterans issues are frequently in the headlines, particularly stories about homelessness, joblessness, and lack of medical services. Catholic Charities was founded in 1917, when the U.S. was in the throes of WWI and nearly every family had a member who was serving or had served in the military. Widows of deceased soldiers and those with spouses seriously injured, by horrific trench warfare and poison gas, were struggling to make ends meet in an era when public assistance was very limited and charity mostly came from religious and civic groups. Catholic Charities started feeding, clothing, and counseling these families. Today, with more than 21 million veterans living in the U.S., the needs still remain and Catholic Charities is still here, finding new ways to support veterans and their families. Today David Dempsey, Program Director at our St. Leo Veterans Campus and Maggie Oscar, Department Director of Social Services for Veteran Families join Monsignor Boland to discuss our programs for veterans.

Organizing Catholics for Justice

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Organizing Catholics for Justice (OCJ) is a program within the Archdiocese’s Office for Peace and Justice. OCJ was started by lay Catholics seeking to unite Chicago Catholics in their baptismal call to build the Kingdom of God with the work of social justice. Through education, resource sharing and direct action, Organizing Catholics for Justice describes itself as “a place to come together across parishes, across issues, as a united body to love our neighbor.” Joining Monsignor Boland today is John Barrett, a retired trauma surgeon and leadership member of “Organizing Catholics for Justice” to discuss the connections between charity and justice.

Empowering Refugees through Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Catholic Charities has “welcomed the stranger” throughout our history in Chicago, as groups of immigrants from various countries came to our city in search of a better life. In 1975 we started our Refugee Resettlement program, to assist those fleeing persecution or danger in their home countries. In forty years, we have helped resettle 10,000 refugees. Today, our Refugee Resettlement Program works with families and individuals from across the globe, including Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Along with providing food, shelter and financial assistance to new arrivals, staff in our Refugee Resettlement program addresses the emotional needs of our clients, who are often feeling disoriented, lonely and anxious as they adapt to an entirely new culture. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Elma Kulovic of Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program, and Lori Felix, of the Campaign for Human Development, which funds our LOOM program. LOOM helps refugee women create and sell hand-crafted clothing and accessories.

Catholic Charities and Latinos

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
At Catholic Charities we interface with the growing Hispanic/Latino community in Chicago in a number of ways. First, our programs serve a large number of Latinos. Last year, Catholic Charities met the needs of more than 160,000 Latinos, who comprised 16% of the total number of people served by our programs. Second, the Latino population in the Chicago area is a young one. In Chicago, more than 40% of children younger than age five are Latino. In some suburbs that percentage rises to 50 or even 80. So bilingual/bicultural early childhood programs are becoming even more important. Today Monsignor Boland is joined by Ilse Zenteno, Bilingual Project Manager for our Office of Latino Affairs, and Maria Caridad Rositas Montemayor, PhD, Early Childhood Program Manager to discuss the early childhood and other services Catholic Charities offers Latinos.

Catholic Charities and Domestic Violence

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Did you know that almost 20 people per minute are victims of domestic violence in the United States? Or that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes? Domestic violence is a heartbreaking phenomenon that impacts everyone in a family, especially children who may witness or directly experience abuse. Along with physical and emotional injury, violence erodes the dignity of human life. Domestic violence can occur to individuals and families of all socio-economic, religious, and cultural groups. However, research has shown that women in lower income households have a higher prevalence of intimate partner violence. Since most of the programs Catholic Charities operates serve low income people and communities, the issue of domestic violence is often present in our work. Catholic Charities addresses domestic violence in different ways. We offer domestic violence counseling for women, a family shelter for victims, focused therapies for children and teens who have witnessed abuse or been victims themselves, a comprehensive program for immigrant women in abusive situations, a parish outreach initiative, and elder abuse services. Today Monsignor Boland is by Kathy Donahue, Senior Vice President of Program Development, and Maeve Raphelson, a counselor in our domestic violence program.

Catholic Charities and Academia

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Learning is a part of life at Catholic Charities.. Learning makes change possible, and Catholic Charities must change constantly to provide compassionate care for the poor. Catholic Charities partners with academia in a few different ways. We host dozens of interns each year who come to us from as far away as Mexico City. These interns help out with our programs while furthering their education. Another way we partner with academia is through research and consultation. Finally, we are a large enough agency that staff who are advancing their educations can often do internships in another service area, further strengthening our agency by increasing the number of workers who are “cross-trained”. Today Monsignor Boland is joined by Heidi Darville, Associate Director of Human Resources, to discuss partnerships with academia.

September is Hunger Action Month

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Hunger is a prevalent and ongoing problem in Chicago. Every day, Catholic Charities feeds scores of individuals and families, through our food pantries, evening suppers, congregate and home delivered meals for seniors; commodity food distribution, and our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. One in five children living in Cook County is at risk of hunger. September is Hunger Action Month, a nationwide campaign mobilizing the public to take action on the issue of hunger. The campaign brings greater attention to the issue of hunger in America and promotes ways for individuals everywhere to get involved with the movement to solve it. Joining Monsignor Boland today is Diane Nunely, Associate Vice President, Community Development and Outreach Services, to discuss how Catholic Charities is addressing hunger.

Child, Youth and Family Services

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
“Recent cuts to the state-funded Child Care Assistance Program are devastating to low-income families served by Catholic Charities. These families are seeking to become self-sufficient and are not able to pay market-rate for quality childcare services their children need to succeed in school. Today Monsignor Boland is joined by Laura Rios and Tasha Johnson of our Child, Youth and Family Services area to discuss this crisis and why child development programs need our support.”

Performance Quality and Improvement at Catholic Charities

Tuesday, August 11, 2015
You may have heard the term, “Quality Assurance,” in relation to a service or business that you use. We all want the products and other things we use to be the best. Social service agencies also seek to provide high-quality experiences for their clients. However, unlike a floor wax or dental implants, the “products” Catholic Charities promotes are the success stories of the people we serve; our ability to provide help and hope to those in need. Because we are a very large and complex organization, with more than 3000 staff and more than 150 programs, we have created a system of goals and measureable outcomes across our service areas that help us track our success. Kathy Donahue, Senior Vice President of Programs, joins Monsignor Boland to discuss how we manage our Performance and Quality Improvement or “PQI” efforts.

Crisp! Social Enterprise Fighting Food Deserts with Mobile Grocery and Pop-Up Stores

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
The City of Chicago broadly defines a “food desert” as a census block located more than a mile from a large retail food store. More than 380,000 Chicagoans live in a food desert, and over 100,000 of those are children. About 70% of the total food desert population is African American, with the remainder split between Caucasians and Latinos. Catholic Charities is part of the solution to food deserts. We provide a wide range of nutrition programs, and one of the most recent is a “mobile grocery” service, called Crisp! Recently, Catholic Charities expanded on the Crisp! model by opening a “pop-up” store in a public housing development in Ford Heights, an economically depressed suburb of Chicago. This new form of outreach not only brings fresh, healthy food to a food desert, it has also provided jobs for community residents. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Jonathan Wittig Director of Crisp! Mobile Grocery, and Tawanna Berdin, Crisp! Sales Representative.

Self-Sufficiency Success Stories from Lake County

Tuesday, July 14, 2015
A family of three needs $4,632 in savings to subsist at the poverty level for at least 3 months if their income suddenly stops, yet over one out of every four Illinois households does not have this amount saved. Family poverty is associated with a number of adverse conditions that can result in homelessness, hunger, and food insecurity. Children in low-income families are more likely to experience multiple family transitions, move frequently, and change schools. The stress of living in poverty and struggling to meet daily needs can also impair parenting. Catholic Charities Lake County Family Self-Sufficiency Program aids struggling single-parent families through comprehensive case management, housing and employment services for up to five years, so that they can achieve self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty. Jacqueline Small, Employment Specialist for our Family Self-Sufficiency Program in Lake County, joins Monsignor Boland to explain what this unique program does and to share some of its exciting success stories.

Community Health Fairs Address Unmet Medical Needs

Tuesday, July 7, 2015
There are more than 1.2 million uninsured persons in the Chicago area. Over 900,000 of them live in Cook and Lake counties, where Catholic Charities annually hosts several community-based health fairs. In 2014 we met the medical needs of approximately 700 people with free exams, screenings and immunizations. Going into communities is something Catholic Charities has always done, and our health fairs are a shining example of this mission. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Kate Mulvaney, Regional Director of the City of Chicago and our Director of Health Initiatives, Linda Ewing, Holy Cross Hospital Community Outreach Director, and Conrad Stasieluk, Project Manager, to tell us more about the Health Fairs.

Affordable Supportive Living for Seniors

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Usually living on fixed incomes, seniors are particularly challenged when it comes to finding affordable housing. When a senior can no longer live independently, yet doesn’t have the resources to pay for assisted living, there are few places they can turn. However, Catholic Charities’ Bishop Conway Residence is a place where seniors with low income can live safely and remain social in a caring community. Bishop Conway Residence offers “supportive” living, where seniors live in apartments but take their meals and socialize communally. There are also social services, and other services onsite. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Gaby Saldana, Director of Bishop Conway Residence, and Assistant Director, Kindle Wilfinger.

Short-Term Rehabilitation Services at Catholic Charities

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Evolving medical procedures are allowing more and more seniors to survive heart attacks, and to choose joint replacements for hips and knees to improve their mobility as they age. Nursing facilities are adjusting to these trends by offering more options for short-term rehabilitation of people with cardiac conditions, have undergone joint replacement or are recovering from a stroke. Catholic Charities’ Holy Family Villa Skilled Nursing Care facility recently completed a major expansion; going from 99 beds to 129 and adding a state-of-the art rehabilitation center for speech, physical and occupational therapy for residents. Eventually, outpatient therapy services will be added. The goal is to provide high-quality, compassionate care that is close to home for seniors so they can regain and maintain their quality of life. Joining Monsignor Boland today care are Margaret (Maggie) McDowell, Director of Nursing at Holy Family Villa, and Julie Regan, Admissions and Social Services Director.

Summer Meals for Children/Summer Jobs for Youth

Tuesday, June 2, 2015
In Cook County, one in five children are at risk of hunger. The Greater Chicago Food Depository, which serves Cook County, reports that only 11.5 percent of Illinois children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals received free summer meals last year. Summer meals are critically important because children who receive free breakfast and lunch during the school year may go hungry in the summer when school is out. Along with child hunger, unemployment among youth is a serious problem that also becomes more obvious when school is out. In Chicago, just 11 percent of teens from the lowest household income group (less than $20,000) were employed in 2012/2013. Teens’ chances of being employed rose with family income. Nearly 30 percent of teens in families earning $100,000 to $150,000 were employed in 2012/2013. Diane Nunley and Gina Cleggs, both Associate Vice Presidents in Catholic Charities Community Development and Outreach Services area, which focuses on nutrition and employment programs, join Monsignor Boland to discuss how we are addressing both child hunger and youth unemployment.

Visions of My Life Photo Project Uplifts Everyone

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
For nearly 15 years, people who are hungry or homeless can enjoy a hot meal Monday through Friday at Catholic Charities St. Vincent Center. We are always at capacity and give out sack meals to those who cannot be accommodated at a table. On a typical night, we feed about 150 people. Many return, for the food, fellowship, and access to social services provided by dedicated staff and volunteers. Twelve years ago, we began a program called “Visions of My Life” where our supper guests are given the opportunity to showcase their photographic talents by using disposable cameras to capture scenes from their lives. The “Visions” program is staffed entirely by volunteers who meet one on one with the supper guests to review and select photos that will be displayed at an annual gallery show each June. Prints sell for $100 each and the photographers keep $70. The balance is used to pay for materials; cameras, matting and frames. This year’s Visions event will take place over two days: Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13, at Catholic Charities headquarters, 721 N. LaSalle Street in Chicago. The show is FREE and family-friendly. Refreshments are served. Kathy Donahue, Senior Vice President of Programs, Jody O’Connor a Board Member and long-term “Visions” volunteer, and Rosemary Watson, a supper guest who participates in the photography program join Monsignor Boland to talk about this uplifting program.

Keenager News and the Senior Unity Mass

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Seniors are very important to Catholic Charities. Our Senior Services area is one of our largest, with more than 20 different programs delivered across Cook and Lake counties. One very special program is the FREE Keenager News newspaper, which is mailed out to more than 92,000 seniors each month. Keenager News was started in 1969 as a way to create a sense of community among seniors. Informational articles, humor, recipes and human interest stories are in every issue, along with our popular word search puzzles. We encourage seniors to contribute their own stories, poems and recipes as well. To honor our seniors, Catholic Charities hosts an Annual Senior Unity Mass, followed by a hot luncheon. This year the Mass will be held on Thursday, June 4 at the historic Holy Family Church. Over 300 seniors attended the Mass last year and we hope to greet even more this year. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Megan Fry of Keenager News, and Rob Boyd, director of Josephine Argento Senior Center in Calumet City.

Celebrating 50 Years of the Older Americans Act

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
It may be hard to imagine today with all the government programs out there, but 50 years ago, the fact that many senior citizens faced growing poverty and isolation was an emerging public policy issue. A landmark piece of legislation, The Older Americans Act, or “OAA,” was signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. It created services that are now very familiar to many seniors and their families, including home-delivered meals, chore services, and support for caregivers. OAA funding supports critical activities at Catholic Charities. Because of these funds, in the past fiscal year we were able to provide information and assistance to over 28,500 people. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Mary Ann Bibat, Vice President and Anne Posner, Associate Vice President of our Senior Services.

April is National Volunteer Month

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Volunteering is more common than you may think. Nationwide, nearly 63 million people volunteered at least once between September 2013 and September 2014. This comes out to about 25 percent, or one out of every four people. Illinois is slightly above the nation average, with nearly 27% of people taking time to volunteer. We certainly see this generous donation of time and talent at Catholic Charities. 15,000 people volunteered their assistance to our programs last year, and we hope to raise that number in the years to come. Volunteers are crucial in making the programs of Catholic Charities feasible. Volunteers extend the reach of programs, usually at the community level that need help the most, such as our family shelters or senior residences. Volunteers suggest new initiatives and volunteers gain new knowledge and appreciation for those in need. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Lisa Jerzyk, Director of Volunteer Relations, and Kristin McDaniel, Board Relations Coordinator.

Month of the Young Child

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
April is the month of the young child, and at Catholic Charities we celebrate children and provide services to enhance children’s education, health, safety, and connections to their community. In Illinois alone there are 3,182 preschools and child development centers. Catholic Charities of Chicago has nine of these centers where we help over 1,400 children and their families each year. Our centers not only provide safe, affordable care for children, they also have educational programs that prepare children for elementary school, as evidenced by regular measurements of performance. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Tasha Johnson, Head Start Director, and Diane Rodriguez, Child Care Director.

40 Years of Empowering Refugees

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Catholic Charities has “welcomed the stranger” throughout our history in Chicago, as groups of immigrants from various countries came to our city in search of a better life. In 1975 we started our Refugee Resettlement program, to assist those fleeing persecution or danger in their home countries. In forty years, we have helped resettle 10,000 refugees. Today, our Refugee Resettlement Program works with families and individuals from across the globe, including Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. In 2014 we served 469 individuals, including 292 newcomers, as they transitioned to their new homes in Chicago. Along with providing food, shelter and financial assistance to new arrivals, our Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program addresses the emotional needs of our clients, who are often feeling disoriented, lonely and anxious as they adapt to an entirely new culture. Joining Monsignor Boland today is Elma Kulovic, program director of the Refugee Resettlement Program, and Samantha Lin, a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

Parishes are Fertile Ground for Partnerships with Catholic Charities

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Parishes are generous to Catholic Charities with donations of time, talent and treasure. It brings to mind the parable of the Sower: “ … as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.” Luke 8:15. Parishes that support Catholic Charities are prime examples of “rich soil” that bears fruit not only in one community, but across the Archdiocese. By supporting us, parishes feed the roots of a vine that reaches out to anyone in need, not just Catholics, and enfolds them in its caring embrace. The social safety net in the Chicago area would be much, much weaker without the strong commitment of faith communities to serve the poor. Society itself would be weaker, as by helping others we strengthen the moral character of our culture. Today Monsignor Boland will give examples of the “harvest” of help that parishes provide to Catholic Charities, all year long, and especially through their participation in Catholic Charities annual Mother’s Day Collection.

Fighting for Justice: Catholic Charities Legal Assistance Department

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Catholic Charities spends a lot of time helping people who are homeless and hungry, but we also help with other needs like legal assistance. Fighting for justice for the poor is very much a part of our tradition of Catholic Social Teaching. Legal fees are very expensive, and legal matters are usually complex, so low-income persons are at a disadvantage if they need legal help. This is why ten years ago, Catholic Charities began its Legal Assistance program, with the efforts of two volunteer board members. Today, Catholic Charities Legal Assistance, or CCLA, has four staff members and serves more than 1600 individuals annually, most of them women, and many Latino. Hilda Bahena, Director of Catholic Charities Legal Assistance department; Jeanne Casey, Board Member, attorney, and co-founder of CCLA join Monsignor Boland to discuss the CCLA program.

Home Delivered Meals Help insure Senior Wellbeing

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
March is an active month for the “Meals on Wheels” program, a nation-wide effort that uses volunteers to deliver nutritious meals to seniors in their homes. Along with a rapid increase in life expectancy for seniors, the Meals on Wheels Association cites escalating food and transportation costs as factors in the food insecurity crisis facing our elderly population. Homebound or frail individuals may not be able to get out to the store, or even move about their homes to prepare meals. Having a hot, nutritious meal delivered five days a week can help them age safely “in place,” as most of us hope to do. Catholic Charities serves more than 250,000 home delivered meals annually in Cook and Lake counties. Each year, our Meals on Wheels program in Lake county honors its volunteers with an elegant dinner dance. This year, the event will be held March 28, at the end of “March for Meals” month. Joining Monsignor Boland today is Dave Himplemann, Meals on Wheels Coordinator for Catholic Charities Lake County Services, to discuss the Meals on Wheels program and its impact on seniors.

Catholic Charities and Women

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
March is Women’s History Month and at Catholic Charities, the “rights and dignity of women,” are honored daily. Most of our clients are women. Most of our staff members are women. Women are senior administrators, they guide our work as Board Members, they raise money and they care directly for those in need. Since our founding, women have been an integral part of Catholic Charities success. In 2014, 57% of the 1.2 million people Catholic Charities served were female, and in many programs, this proportion is far higher. From newborn babies to fragile elders, these women witnessed the compassionate care and respect for human life that our agency is known for, because of the women, and men, who live Christ’s values through their work. Joining Monsignor today is Kathy Donahue, Senior Vice President of Program Development.

One Mission: Many Hearts, Many Hands

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
As we move into the solemn liturgical season of Lent, Catholic Charities invites your participation in “One Mission: Many Hearts, Many Hands.” The purpose of this Lenten journey is to educate people young and old about Catholic Charities programs and to inspire them to support our mission of charity. During each week of Lent the mission focuses on a particular group: Homeless, Seniors, Families, Veterans, and Refugees. Through scripture, reflection, prayer, and activities we will educate ourselves, our families, and our communities, while we participate in the sacred work of serving those in need. As Pope Francis has said, “To love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concrete …” Joining Monsignor Boland today to tell us more about “One Mission: Many Hearts, Many Hands,” are Kristin McDaniel, Board Relations Coordinator, and Annie Scully, Junior Board Director.

Catholic Charities and Homelessness in the NW suburbs

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Homelessness is a problem Catholic Charities has been battling for much of our nearly 100-year history. However, we have seen changes over the years as the “typical” homeless person evolved from an unemployed, single male, living on “skid row,” to today, when we often see entire families left homeless by job loss, or the inability to afford rising rents in gentrifying communities. A 2014 analysis by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless estimates that 138,575 Chicagoans were homeless in the course of the 2013-14 school year. This is a nearly 20% increase from the previous year. Outside of Chicago, suburban school districts reporting the largest homeless enrollment in 2013-14 were: Rockford with more than 2,220 homeless students (up 43% from the previous year); Peoria with 859 homeless students (up 11%); Kane County with 806 (up 16%); and Harvey, which falls within Catholic Charities service area, with 753 homeless students (up 8%). The school data is important because it focuses on the most vulnerable among the homeless, children, and is an indicator of how many families are without stable housing. Mike Waters, Catholic Charities Northwest Suburban Regional Director, joins Monsignor to discuss how Catholic Charities addresses homelessness in the NW suburbs.

Drawing Closer to Community Needs by Expanding Sites

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
With 150 programs at more than 160 locations throughout Cook and Lake Counties, it is Catholic Charities’ mission to bring compassionate, professional, and comprehensive social services to neighborhoods that face multiple challenges. We are constantly taking the pulse of community needs, evaluating our programs, assessing new opportunities, and asking the Holy Spirit to lead us to the places and the people who need us the most. This year, Catholic Charities is very blessed to expand our services to several more community-based locations across Chicago. Join Monsignor Michael Boland as he explains our expansion and the reasons for it.

New Regional Office to Serve More of City’s Poor

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
St. Gall Parish on the corner of Kedzie and 55th on Chicago’s Southwest Side is a fixture in a community historically made up of immigrants seeking the American Dream. Initially home to Eastern European immigrants, the area is now dominated by more recent arrivals from Mexico. Catholic Charities has partnered with St. Gall for health fairs, domestic violence counseling and public benefits screening, and we have other programs in the vicinity, such as Head Start, WIC (Women, Infants and Children nutrition program), and Senior Case management services. Catholic Charities has opened a new regional office at St. Gall, to better serve people in need both in the parish and the surrounding community. Joining Monsignor Boland today to discuss this exciting new development are Marilu Gonzalez, Regional Director of the Southwest City office at St. Gall; Dalia Rocotello, Director of Latino Affairs; and Rev. Gary Graf, Pastor of St. Gall.

Nearly 100 Years of Helping; a Short History of Catholic Charities

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
With the turn of another year, Catholic Charities is closer to reaching its Centennial. Founded in 1917, the organization has grown and adapted to the ever-changing social service scene in Cook and Lake Counties. From a loosely affiliated collection of orphanages, senior homes and other institutions, Catholic Charities has grown to become one of the largest social service agencies in the Midwest, with more than 150 programs at more than 160 sites serving more than one million people each year. Here to give us “short” history of Catholic Charities is Bob Morris, a member of our Board of Advisors and experienced organizational

Mentor a Youth and Change a Life

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Think back to when you were a youth. Were there people in your life who guided and supported your efforts in school? People who listened to your troubles and offered constructive solutions? Someone who believed in you and could show you a different side of life than your parents could? Today, that person would be called a “mentor,” which is a Greek word for wise counselor, master or teacher. Mentoring is not new, but recent research shows clear benefits to children and youth who participate in mentoring programs. Catholic Charities Youth Mentoring program serves our Lake County region, and is entering its third year of operation. Here to tell us more are Beth Sheehan-Lucas, Program Coordinator for Catholic Charities Youth Mentoring Program, and Jesse Batha, a volunteer mentor in the program.

Caring for Caregivers

Tuesday, December 30, 2014
More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one. The value of the services family caregivers provide for "free," when caring for older adults, is estimated to be $375 billion a year. That is almost twice as much as is actually spent on homecare and nursing home services combined ($158 billion). Caregiving is hard work; requiring physical and mental stamina to handle all the day to day transitions within one’s home, as well as all the managing of appointments and the emotional toll of seeing a loved one in a diminished state. As people live longer, the phenomenon of long-term family caregiving is growing. Joining Monsignor today to talk about ways to address this issue is DeWayne Dunigan, Lead Caregiver Specialist at our South Suburban Senior Services.

Christmas Reflections on 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014
As another busy year draws to a close amid the blessings of Advent and Christmas time, Monsignor Boland reflects on all the ways Catholic Charities has been honored to help those in need. Catholic Charities is grateful for the funders, volunteers and staff who make our mission possible; for the guidance of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, whose gestures, words and writings call for a more humane and just society, and for the arrival of our new Archbishop, Blase Cupich, who embodies the Pope’s message of charity and concern for the least among us. This past year we opened the doors at our 161 locations to more than 1 million people. Every 30 seconds someone is counting on Catholic Charities for help. Monsignor Boland looks back at a year full of help and hope.

Helping the Poor Survive Another Harsh Winter

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Though it seems like we just put our snow shovels away for the year, winter has returned to Chicago in force, with frigid temperatures since late October. It appears we are heading into another harsh winter, and at Catholic Charities our concern is high for the poor who have to face the elements on the street or in unstable living arrangements. Thankfully, at Catholic Charities we have many programs ready and able to help. Our Mobile Outreach Program is on the street 24/7 ready to pick up and transport anyone facing the cold without heat or shelter. Our Emergency Assistance Department provides a full array of services for clients in need of urgent basic human needs, providing intake for emergency shelter, emergency financial assistance, referral, advocacy, food pantry, clothing, short-term case management and benefits screening at many locations in the City and Suburbs. Joining Monsignor today is Sharon Tillmon, a senior manager at Catholic Charities Emergency Assistance Program.
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