Voice of Charity

Voice of Charity

Tuesdays: 8:30 – 9 a.m.

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.    
Katie Bredemann and Phil Zepeda host The Voice of Charity.  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. 

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.

What Does Administrative Relief Mean for immigrants?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Recently the media was abuzz about the Administration’s announcement regarding Executive Actions for Immigration Accountability. It is estimated that more than 4 million people will be impacted by the new rules. It will take a few months for all the procedures to be firmed up, but in the meantime, advocates are cautioning people to avoid fraud by only working with certified personnel. Catholic Charities has long assisted immigrants from many nations. Last year, our Immigration and Naturalization program served 3200 individuals. However, all our service areas can and do support immigrants and their families with basic needs, counseling, childcare, nutrition, senior services and housing. The impact of these actions reinforces what the Catholic Church has advocated for decades: The importance of families staying together. Joining Monsignor Boland today is Carlos Rinconeno, a specialist in Catholic Charities Immigration and Naturalization program, to discuss what Catholic Charities is doing in the wake of this new development.

CRISP Social Enterprise Fighting Food Deserts

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The City of Chicago broadly defines a “food desert” as a census block located more than a mile from a large retail food store. 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. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Angel Gutierrez, Vice President of Community Development and Outreach Services, and Mike Hyzy, Special Projects and Business Specialist, to talk about this innovative program.

Assisting Refugees with Empowerment

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Along with providing food, shelter and financial assistance to new arrivals, staff in our Refugee Resettlement program address the emotional needs of our clients who are often feeling disoriented, lonely and anxious as they adapt to an entirely new culture.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month; How Catholic Charities Helps

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and you may have seen or heard some of the startling statistics about this problem. Nationwide, 20 people per minute are victims of violence from an intimate partner. Catholic Charities Domestic Violence program is actively engaged in helping parishes know what to do about domestic violence. We partner closely with the Archdiocese Office of Domestic Violence. Catholic Charities assists by going where a parish requests counseling, education, training, and referrals. Our counselors can be based at a parish to see individuals, families and groups. Joining Monsignor Boland today is Pat Broderick, a bilingual Clinical Family Service Specialist who works with families impacted by domestic violence.

National Alzheimer’s Month: Caring for Elders with Memory Challenges

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
The statistics on Alzheimer’s disease are startling: today, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and in 35 years that figure is expected to rise to 16 million. Alzheimer’s is not just the forgetfulness of older age; it is a disease in its own right; a form of dementia that causes brain cells to malfunction and ultimately die in a predictable pattern, resulting in memory loss, erratic behavior and ultimately loss of body function. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, it is fatal. Catholic Charities has cared for seniors for decades, and our services have evolved to accommodate the rising number of persons with Alzheimer’s disease. In particular, we are here for those patients who are low-income and alone. Joining Monsignor Boland to discuss services for persons with Alzheimer’s and their families are Bobbi Magurany, Associate Vice President of Housing, and Gabriela Saldana, director of the Bishop Conway Supportive Living Residence.

Living the Christmas Spirit: Gift Drive Helps Donors and Clients

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
For 67 years, Catholic Charities has helped children and families in need to have a merrier Christmas through our annual “Celebration of Giving” program. Last year, through the generous donations of individuals, corporations and organizations Catholic Charities distributed 43,000 gifts and toys to more than 20,000 children and families. Volunteers are essential to the success of Celebration of Giving and over the years we have had parishes, families, individuals, corporations and schools make this annual event a highlight of their charitable work. Many of them find out that “in giving they receive” a sense of accomplishment and appreciation for the blessings they enjoy. Joining Monsignor Boland to discuss how people can support the Celebration of Giving are: Kristin McDaniel, Director of Volunteer Relations and Zulma Colon, Asst. Director of Volunteer Relations at Catholic Charities.

Partnering with the Growing Latino Population in Chicago

Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Mid-September to Mid-October comprises Hispanic Heritage month. 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 228,000 Latinos, who comprised over one quarter (26%) of the total number of people served by our programs. Second, because of the large number of Latino clients we need to have bilingual and bicultural staff that can understand and assist them. We continue to grow the number of Latino staff across our service areas. Finally, we have more and more Board members and volunteers who are of Hispanic heritage and who are helping us develop our outreach to Latino businesses, legislators, and other stakeholders. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Dalia Bagdonas Rocotello, Director of Latino Affairs, and Stella Gayton, Vice Chair of our Latino Affairs Committee.

Senior Affordable Housing a Growing Need

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Along with the growing number of Americans aged 65 and older in our future, we can expect to see more seniors living on low incomes. The number of people aged 65 and older in poverty increased from 3.9 million in 2012 to 4.2 million in 2013. Catholic Charities assists seniors in a wide variety of ways, but one of the most impactful is with affordable senior apartment buildings. Our apartment buildings are affordable in that rent is about one-third of a resident’s income. This alone is a relief to many seniors living in the metropolitan area, where a one-bedroom apartment typically costs at least $500 per month. Along with affordability, our buildings are safe, secure and supported with on-site staff and services that allow seniors to live independently as long as possible. Social events are planned, transportation is available to shopping and other destinations and in general we foster a culture of neighborliness that is a great comfort to many who live alone or far from family. Catholic Charities will dedicate its 19th affordable senior residence on Chicago’s far Southeast side early in 2015. Joining Monsignor today is Antwuan Smith, an Associate Vice President for Housing at Catholic Charities.

AIDS Epidemic Still With us: How Catholic Charities Responds

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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. 50,000 new HIV infections occur every year in the US, and some 20 to 25% of these persons DO NOT KNOW that they are positive and therefore could be spreading the virus. Catholic Charities was an “early responder” to the AIDS epidemic, with our involvement going back decades. 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. Monsignor Boland is joined by Pat Drott, the HIV/AIDS Liaison to the Archdiocese of Chicago and Laura Kuever is a Program Director in our Community Casework Department whose job includes overseeing HIV/AIDS programming in Lake County.

Addressing Poverty in the North Suburbs

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
An important fact facing any social service agency is the rising number of poor in suburban America. A recent Brookings Institution report states that poverty is growing twice as fast in suburban areas as in cities. Nationwide, more than 50% of all poor persons live in the suburbs. Gentrification in cities can push lower-income families out to lower-priced housing in the suburbs, which were built for traditional nuclear families with two parents (one wage-earner, one homemaker) and a car. Today, most parents work, many are single, and commuting from a suburb is costly in terms of time and money, not to mention day care costs for young children. It is clear that suburban poverty is a problem, and Catholic Charities has been addressing it for many years through our network of regional offices. Monsignor Boland is joined by Karen Daniels, Director of our North Region Office, which serves communities as diverse as Glencoe with 3.6% of its population living below poverty, and Skokie, which has 13.3%.

September is Hunger Action Month

Tuesday, September 9, 2014
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.

Supporting Northwest Suburban Seniors for the Long-Term

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
We are all familiar with the trend of increasing numbers of seniors in the future due to the Baby Boom Generation, and also how current seniors are living longer. Seniors comprise about one-third of the clients served by Catholic Charities, but our Senior Services area has the largest proportion of staff, more than 1300 people out of a total workforce of 3,152 people, in part due to the complex and continuing needs of this population. Our “Case Coordination Units” cover large areas of Cook and Lake Counties, including the Northwest suburbs, to assess and address a wide range of needs that an elderly resident may have. We operate a busy office at the Arlington Heights Senior Center with more than a dozen programs ranging from adult protective services to chore housekeeping, home delivered meals, and assistance with managing public benefits to supporting caregivers. The mission of our senior services area is to promote individual dignity and worth, quality of life, self-determination and personal choice of adults sixty years or older, and their caregivers, and to assist seniors in maintaining their independence in a safe and functional manner for as long as possible. Monsignor Boland is joined by Cindy Gunderson, Director of our NW Suburban Senior Services, to discuss services to seniors in the Northwest suburbs.

Catholic Charities Commitment to Communities

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
We are all familiar with the cycle: a tragedy occurs in a poor community, the media descend, people march, politicians call for change and then … another tragedy occurs in another community and the cycle starts anew. Unfortunately, the conditions that result in senseless shootings and other sad events cannot be changed overnight. They require long-term attention, and people with the time, resources and desire to give that attention. Catholic Charities understands “long-term.” Most of our programming goes back decades, like our local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food and Nutrition Centers which began 20 years ago. Case management, counseling, child care, senior residences and services, family shelters – each of these program areas have sites with deep roots in Chicago communities. Kathy Donahue, Senior Vice President of Program Development and Evaluation joins Monsignor Boland today to talk about Catholic Charities commitment to communities.

Addressing Homelessness in the Western Suburbs

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Often we think of the homeless in an urban setting, but it is a growing problem in suburban areas too. Homelessness is hard on people no matter where they live; but particularly in the suburbs where supports like public transportation, shelters, and social service agencies are not as available as in the City. Catholic Charities has been addressing suburban homelessness for over a decade through our New Hope Apartments program, which places homeless families in a regular apartment in a community, and then wraps services and support around that family while they move to self-sufficiency. Esmeralda Zepeda, West Regional Director, and Abraham Jimenez, Case Coordinator, New Hope Apartments West join Monsignor Boland to talk about homelessness in the West Suburbs.

Strengthening Communities with Youth Nutrition and Employment Programs

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
For the past several years, Catholic Charities has operated a Summer Food Service Program that now numbers 140 sites; primarily in the city but also some suburbs. The program provides a healthy breakfast and lunch along with physical activities and nutrition education to children and youth in some of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods. With 1 in 5 children at risk of hunger in Cook County, this program is a vital support to children and their parents; who can breathe easier knowing their kids are getting at least two balanced meals per day. We also run several youth employment programs that serve low-income neighborhoods like Englewood where teens may be drawn into gangs or other negative activities, especially when school is out. As with our nutrition programs, Catholic Charities has been running these programs in communities for several years; improving them as we go. Joining Monsignor Boland to discuss how Catholic Charities Youth Nutrition and Employment programs strengthen Chicago’s vulnerable communities are Diane Nunley and Gina Cleggs, both Associate Vice Presidents in the agency’s Community Development and Outreach division.

Helping Children Handle Grief

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
It’s summertime and most of us have fond memories of our childhoods spent enjoying the long, hot days free of the routine of school. But for some children, childhood can hold unbelievable grief due to the loss of a loved one to suicide. Death alone is hard for a child to fathom; having someone take their own life is something most adults cannot understand. Thirty-five years ago, Catholic Charities began groundbreaking work by counseling the survivors of suicide; those family members and friends left behind when someone made the tragic decision to end their life. Our Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide (LOSS) program has helped thousands of people over the years. Our model of individual counseling by trained professionals and support groups facilitated by survivors has been recognized internationally. Several years ago, we started a new chapter in LOSS’s history by launching a program for children and youth impacted by suicide. Joining Monsignor Boland to discuss this compelling topic are: Fr. Charles Rubey, Founder of LOSS and Cynthia Waderlow, Clinical Child Specialist.

Expanding Rehabilitation Services for Seniors at Holy Family Villa

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
With increasing life expectances, our “senior years” are now stretching longer than ever. Average life expectancy in the U.S. is 78.5 years; and we all know more and more people who live into their late 80s, the 90s and even into their 100s. Evolving medical procedures are allowing more and more seniors to survive heart attacks, and to choose joint replacements. Nursing facilities are adjusting to these trends by offering more options for short-term rehabilitation. Catholic Charities’ Holy Family Villa Skilled Nursing Care facility just completed at 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. Joining Monsignor Boland to talk about how Catholic Charities is meeting the challenge for more nursing care are Bobbi Maguraney, Associate Vice President, Senior Services and Margaret (Maggie) McDowell, Director of Nursing at Holy Family Villa.

Raising Funds to Fight Poverty in Lake County

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
When many Chicagoans think of Lake County, Illinois they imagine the mansions along its famed “North Shore,” and large corporate campuses that can be glimpsed along the Edens Expressway. The area appears wealthy, and indeed, the median household income is $74,306 over $20,000 more than the state median income. However, Lake County does have poverty. In 2011, about 10% of the people in Lake County were poor, an increase of 24% from 2010. Catholic Charities has been working to help those in need in Lake County for decades. For the past 20 years, our Lake County Regional Advisory Board has helped to raise funds for our services through a popular golf outing, the Charities Golf Classic, held each summer. Joining Monsignor Boland today are John Brinckerhoff, Event Chair for the Charities Golf Classic, and Terri Denny, Senior Director of Lake County and Regional Services to discuss Catholic Charities work in Lake County and how events like the Classic help raise funds to fight poverty there. Welcome John and Terri!

Community Health Fairs Address Unmet Medical Needs

Tuesday, July 8, 2014
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 2013 we met the medical needs of approximately 1200 people with free exams, screenings and immunizations. The logistics of each health fair alone are challenging: planning months in advance with the host parishes, raising a small army of volunteer nurses, doctors, dentists, podiatrists and others who set up and take down temporary exam rooms, and publicizing the event to the surrounding community. But the outcome is worth it—children get school physicals, dental exams and vision screenings; adults have their blood pressure, glucose, tested. There is even HIV testing. Best of all, we have federal navigators and counselors on-site to discuss enrolling in the Affordable Care Act and we invite neighborhood medical clinics to connect families to ongoing sources of medical care so they can prevent medical crises. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Kate Mulvaney, Regional Director of the City of Chicago and our Director of Health Initiatives and Conrad Stasieluk, who previously spent 18 months as a student intern before working part time for us this summer, to tell us more about the Health Fairs.

The Impact of Substance Abuse on Families

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Drug abuse costs the United States hundreds of billions of dollars each year in health care, crime and lost productivity. In 2009, there were nearly 4.6 million drug-related emergency room visits nationwide. In Illinois, there were more than 37,000 DUI arrests recorded by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office in 2012. Catholic Charities has long helped persons suffering from addiction in our counseling, emergency assistance and other programs. Two of these programs, “CSI” and “ACES,” focus exclusively on substance abuse and helping those impacted by it to build better lives. Joining Monsignor Boland to talk about these unique programs are Kevin Doyle, Director, Central States Institute (CSI) and Pat Bogie, Program Director, Addiction Counseling and Education Services (ACES).

Helping with High Energy Bills After Frigid Winter

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Though we are now entering the warm days of summer, recent headlines across the country tell of the challenge low income families face in paying off energy bills from this past winter. The growing gap between energy costs and the funding available for the poor to help pay them means that many families are faced with discontinuation of home energy. Even if a shut-off is avoided, families often must deal with large back payments that can lead to eviction and homelessness. Sandy Murray, Director, Homelessness Prevention Call Center and Christene Dykes-Sorrells, Director, Emergency Assistance Program join Monsignor Boland to discuss how Catholic Charities is helping families who face high utility bills.

Research Outcomes from Catholic Charities Summer Food Program

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Every summer, Catholic Charities distributes tens of thousands of healthy meals to hungry children around the city. Many schoolchildren participate in breakfast and lunch feeding programs. With school out, these children are at risk of not fulfilling their daily nutrition requirements, so Catholic Charities has developed a highly mobile approach to feeding these children where they are: in parks, at summer school, church programs and other community-based sites. Along with delivering healthy meals, Catholic Charities provides nutrition education and fitness activities in an effort to foster healthy eating and activity habits throughout the year. A recent study found that 29%, of sixth grade students and 25% of ninth grade students in CPS schools are obese. Statistics like this have spurred the development of programs to address this problem. Catholic Charities has collected its own statistics, which is using to improve its program each year to address specific problems. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Diane Nunley, Associate Vice President in Catholic Charities Community Development and Outreach Services, and Tallet Vanek, a nutritionist who develops and analyzes our nutrition education programs.

Senior Unity Mass and Keenager News

Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Seniors are special to all of us at Catholic Charities. Our Senior Services area is one of our largest. Nearly 50% of our agency staff works in our Senior Services programs. In FY2013 Catholic Charities helped care for over 240,000 seniors, with a wide range of services. These include homemaking that allows seniors to remain in their homes, affordable senior apartment buildings, supportive living and skilled care for seniors who cannot live on their own, nutrition programs and case management. One very special program is our FREE Keenager News newspaper, which is mailed out to over 95,000 seniors each month. To honor our seniors, every year Catholic Charities hosts the Senior Unity Mass at Holy Name Cathedral. Over 300 seniors attended the Mass last year and we hope to greet even more this year. Today Mary Ellen Kastenholz, a Board Member and volunteer, talks with Monsignor Boland about this year’s Senior Unity Mass and her frequent contributions to Keenager News.

Visions of my Life Photo Show and Social Enterprise

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
For over a decade, the hungry and homeless can get a hot meal Monday through Friday at Catholic Charities St. Vincent Center. In 2003, 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. Because the clients earn money for their work, Visions is seen as a “social enterprise” program. This year’s Visions event will take place over two days: June 6th and June 7, at Catholic Charities headquarters at 721 N. LaSalle Street in Chicago. The show is FREE and family-friendly. Monsignor Boland is joined by Kathy Donahue, Senior Vice President of Programs, and Noreen Russo, Program Director of our Homelessness Prevention Call Center, to talk about Visions , what it means to both the supper guests and volunteers who are involved, and how it is developing as a social enterprise project.

May is Mental Health Month

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that in 2012 9.6 million adults (4.1% of all persons 18 and older) had suffered a “Serious Mental Illness” (SMI) in the past year. An SMI is defined as a mental, behavioral or emotional condition that causes serious functional impairment by substantially interfering with one or more major life activity. For 65 years, the nonprofit group, Mental Health America, has led the observance of May as Mental Health Month. The 2014 May is Mental Health Month theme is “Mind Your Health,” with the goal of raising the public’s awareness of the importance of mental health to overall health and wellness. Catholic Charities offers several types of mental health counseling programs, reaching a broad range of people from children to seniors. Today, Tim Higgins, Program Director at Catholic Charities Holbrook Counseling Center and Cheryl Joseph-Lukz, a therapist with Holbrook will talk with Monsignor Boland about the mind-body connection and counseling services provided by the Holbrook Center.

Seniors and Technology: How Catholic Charities Helps Elders Navigate the Digital World

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Technology is a vital part of our society today. Even senior citizens are getting in on the action. Nationally nearly 52% of senior citizens are online, spending on average 19 hours a week on the internet. Also, 59% of seniors are on some kind of social networking website, the most popular being Facebook. While these statistics are impressive, they still leave nearly half of seniors outside the digital world, which is rapidly becoming the only way to communicate and participate in many important arenas, such as filing taxes. Catholic Charities senior centers use technology in a variety of ways to connect seniors to family, friends and other supports. Some of the centers are fully equipped with computer rooms for the seniors to use. They are utilizing technology for education, entertainment, and even physical fitness. Joining Monsignor today is Mary Ann Bibat, Vice President of Senior Services and Angela Taylor, Associate Vice President.

Trends in Poverty for Recent Latino Immigrants and How Catholic Charities Helps

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Catholic Charities serves more than 230,000 Latino individuals and families across our program areas. Many are originally from Mexico, and may have arrived recently in the U.S. Our Casa Catalina Emergency Services Center is located in the Back of the Yards community on Chicago’s South Side which is an entry point for many Latinos. Joining Monsignor today to talk about trends in poverty for this population are Sister Joellen Tumas, Director of Casa Catalina Emergency Service Center, and Maria Vidal De Haymes, PhD, professor of social work at Loyola University, member of Catholic Charities Latino Advisory Committee, and advisor to Mexican college students who come to Chicago each year to volunteer in Catholic Charities programs.

Catholic Charities Celebrates the Canonization Two Great Popes with Acts of Service

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Divine Mercy Sunday this year it is truly exciting with all the preparations and celebrations in honor of two great Popes, John the XXIII and John Paul II who will be canonized as saints on that day. Catholic Charities will participate in the canonization festivities by doing what we do every day, helping those in need. We will have extra suppers for the hungry, where donated food is served by volunteers, across Cook and Lake counties. Joining Monsignor Boland today is Father Gerry Kelly, a Vincentian who has served as Catholic Charities chaplain for many years. Fr. Kelly taught history to seminary high school students, and continues to educate the staff at Catholic Charities with his thoughtful homilies rich with historic references, and the monthly “Mission Reflections” emails that are sent to all staff. He met Pope John Paul II twice, and once read the Gospel at Mass with the Pope where John Paul sat not ten feet away.

Addressing the Homeless Veteran Crisis

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
With the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, veterans issues are frequently in the headlines. There are more than 21 million veterans living in the U.S. and between 529,000 and 840,000 are homeless at some time during the year. Veterans are more at risk of becoming homeless than non-veterans. Approximately one-third of homeless males in the U.S. are veterans. Catholic Charities was on the forefront of serving homeless veterans when it opened St. Leo Campus on Chicago’s South Side in 2007. St. Leo’s provides affordable studio apartments for 141 formerly homeless veterans, along with social services, community involvement, access to medical care, specialized housing for persons with physical disabilities and an expansive meditation garden dedicated to all branches of the military. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Dr. Eddie Taylor, Director of St. Leo Campus for Veterans, and Elijah Goodlet, a veteran who continues to volunteer at the shelter where he lived prior to coming to St. Leo Residence.

National Volunteer Month

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Nationwide, nearly 63 million people volunteered for or through an organization at least once between September 2012 and September 2013. At Catholic Charities, 15,000 people volunteered their assistance to our programs during that time. Volunteers are critical members of our team. They help us extend the reach of our programs, particularly in community-based settings where demand is high and staff members are stretched. Volunteers also help us innovate, by getting new initiatives off the ground. Finally, volunteering gives back to the volunteer, who often gains new insights and appreciation for those in need. Joining us today are Lisa Jerzyk, Director of Volunteer Relations, and Bill Mastro, a member of Catholic Charities Board of Advisors and a volunteer with Catholic Charities Mobile Outreach Program.

Legal Assistance: Meeting the Need

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
According to the Legal Service Corporation, in 2011, 60 million Americans qualified for legal assistance. But because need outstrips resources, many legal aid offices turn away 50% or more of those seeking help. The Wall Street Journal reports that it costs an average of $150 an hour to pay for a lawyer. Expense is likely a factor in the growing trend of people representing themselves in court, a practice known as “pro se.” A recent American Bar Association survey of judges found that 62% said people are hurt by not having a lawyer. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Hilda Bahena, Department Director of Catholic Charities Legal Assistance Department and Jeanne Casey, Volunteer Attorney and Board Member to discuss the issues of legal assistance and why more people are turning to Catholic Charities for help.

Aging in Place: Helping Seniors Stay in Their Communities

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Services for seniors are more critical now than ever. Between 8,000 and 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day and will continue to do so until 2030, when 20 percent of the U.S. population will be at least 65. In that same period, the number of 85 year olds will increase more than 50 percent and the number of 100 years olds is expected to triple! As one of the top providers of services to seniors in the Chicago area, Catholic Charities is continually adapting our services to meet changing needs. Our senior case management service is a vital support to thousands of seniors who want to “age in place,” by staying in their homes and communities. Most seniors want to stay in their homes, and doing so is much more cost-effective than moving them to assisted living. Joining Monsignor Boland today are Wyvonnia Walker, Program Director for Catholic Charities Senior Case Management, and Anne Posner, Associate Vice President, Senior Services at Catholic Charities.

Anti-Poverty Strategies: Asset-Building

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Our core mission at Catholic Charities is to reduce poverty and help people become as self-sufficient as possible. One interesting “anti-poverty” strategy that we began employing in the past few years is “Asset Building” which helps people move toward greater self-sufficiency by accumulating savings and purchasing long-term assets. Saving is not something that comes naturally to everyone. A 2012 article on the CNN Money website stated that 25% of Americans have no savings at all. With our struggling economy, saving has become even harder for stressed workers who may not feel secure about their jobs or job prospects, or who may not have had a raise in a long time. Monsignor Boland is joined by Sister Marie McKenna who directs Catholic Charities Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which includes the Assets for Independence that helps eligible employees save for their goals.

Senior Hunger: A Growing Trend

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The Meals on Wheels Association reports that one in six seniors in America, a total of 8.8 million seniors—a number greater than the entire population of New York City—struggle with hunger and this number is expected to double by 2050. The Association cites the rapid increase in life expectancy for seniors, escalating costs of food and transportation, and remaining impacts of the recession as major factors in this trend. Maintaining support for senior nutrition programs is critical for the health of our elderly population. March is an active month for the “Meals on Wheels” program, a nation-wide effort that delivers nutritious meals to seniors in their homes. “March for Meals” has become an annual event where localities raise awareness of senior hunger during the month of March, including getting elected officials to sign up as volunteer drivers/delivery people---an activity known as “Mayors for Meals.” Joining Monsignor Boland today are Donna Schultz, Director of Catholic Charities Senior Nutrition Program and Anne Posner, Associate Vice President of Catholic Charities Senior Services, to discuss the overall issue of senior hunger and some of the ways Catholic Charities addresses this national problem.

Helping Survivors of Suicide

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in our nation, and at least 90% of those who die by suicide were suffering from a mental illness, most often depression. Nearly 35 years ago, Catholic Charities began groundbreaking work by counseling the survivors of suicide; those family members and friends left behind when someone made the tragic decision to end their life. Our Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide (LOSS) program has helped thousands of people over the years. Our model of individual counseling by trained professionals and support groups facilitated by survivors has been recognized internationally. Today, Monsignor Boland is joined by Jessica Mead to discuss the LOSS program, and its upcoming fundraiser, Blossoms of Hope.

Catholic Charities’ Safety Net Helps the Unemployed

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Though the nation’s unemployment rate has dropped since the height of the recession, Illinois still has one of the highest unemployment rates for adults. For youth, the rate is even higher, as they face competition for low-wage jobs by adults who are underemployed. Many jobs also do not pay enough to keep families out of poverty. Catholic Charities operates employment programs as well as “safety net” services such as food pantries, shelters, and affordable housing which many families need to make ends meet. Today, Monsignor Boland is joined by Bertel Smith, who heads up Catholic Charities Veterans Employment Program, and Karen Moore, who oversees youth employment programs, to discuss the complex challenge presented by unemployment.

Mental Wellness in Winter

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
In January in Chicago, we typically have 13 or fewer days with significant sun. This can lead to a state of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or its milder form, the “winter blues.” The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 1 in 5 people in the U.S. can be affected by SAD each year. This is one reason that January is designated as “Mental Wellness Month.” Catholic Charities has several programs that support mental health. Monsignor Boland is joined today by two of Catholic Charities mental health experts and counselors, Deborah Major, Ph.D., and Bob Arvidson, LCPC, to discuss mental wellness in winter.

Eating nutritiously on a low budget

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
This past December there was a flurry of media attention on the cost of eating a healthy diet. Time magazine, in an article, “Eating Healthy is Cheaper Than You Think,” reported on the Harvard School of Public Health’s finding that it costs only $1.50 more per day to eat more fruits, veggies and high quality meat and fish. However, for persons with very low income, $1.50 adds up to $550 per person per year. While encouraging for the general public, many of those served by Catholic Charities may not be able to afford healthier foods. Katie Bambacht and Atinuke Isola, nutritionists from Catholic Charities, join Monsignor Boland to discuss how our programs help people eat well on a budget.

New Hope Apartments

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
With foreclosures and unemployment still affecting Chicago-area families, suburban homelessness presents a growing challenge for many communities. Today Rev. Monsignor Michael Boland talks with Margaret Onekmope and Tefamariam Kefle, directors from Catholic Charities New Hope Apartments programs serving suburban Cook County, about how we help families move to self-sufficiency in a tough economy.

Food Insecurity

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Recent budget cuts to the Food Stamp program, now known as the “SNAP” or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, will impact many Catholic Charities clients. We already see so many people struggling to make ends meet at Catholic Charities—everyone from single adults to families to seniors is trying to stretch their limited resources. Catholic Charities offers a wide range of programs that provide nutritious food to millions of people annually. Today, Monsignor Boland is joined by Angel Gutierrez, Vice President of Community Development and Outreach Services, and Stephanie Johnson, Director of Government Relations to discuss how Catholic Charities helps individuals and families facing food insecurity.
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