Strengthening Families. Building Communities. Reducing Poverty.

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“Let’s go.”They wanted to climb the waterfall.“We only have 40 minutes before we need to head home. How about we just hang out by the stream until we go?”There was no conversation to be had. In spite of the fact that the Refugee Youth High School Program participants (14 teenagers) and three brave staff had just climbed up and down a 2,000+ foot mountain on a humid summer afternoon, many of the youth were ready for a new challenge.So they climbed and I climbed slowly behind…up several hundred feet of stairs in just 20 minutes! But it was worth the struggle. By the time “Mr. Patrick” finally reached the observation deck, the kiddos were already happily snapping selfies/group photos and generally enjoying the grandeur of the roaring water pouring over the rocks below. When the Waterfall Expedition finally returned from their sprint up and down the falls, we found the rest of the group relaxing by the stream and enjoying a hard-earned rest.Everyone was a little exhausted (staff mostly, if we are being honest…) but also content. It was Summer Break and the teenagers got to take a moment to relax from the grind of adjusting to a new life. Not
"Consider this, over the past couple of weeks we have had extremely hot weather. Catholic Charities food pantry doors continues to open each Tuesday and Thursday. Families who live under the poverty line have depended on us to help meet their need and feed their families.  Each Tuesday and Thursday, we offer a light snack to food pantry clients to help with healthy nutrition and we also provide nutritional educational materials. Families have increased their interaction and have responded positively to our snack offer. One client stated "I haven't eaten all morning, I am so thankful you guys provided this to me!" and another client said "Do you mind if I have another snack, I am so hungry and thankful that you all gave this to us. I am grateful for Catholic Charities." Throughout the daily interaction with food pantry each Tuesday and Thursday, families are tired, this summer is hotter, school is out, and more and more children come through our doors hungry. According to Feeding America, the overall food insecurity rate for children in Mecklenburg County rates at 17.5 % which is an estimated total of 165,780 children who are food insecure. Food insecurity can lead to poor diet quality, which is linked to numerous health

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World Refugee Day will be celebrated in Charlotte, NC on June 20, 2015, in conjunction with celebrations of refugees around the world. The event will be held from 10 AM-1 PM at The Green in Uptown Charlotte. The event seeks to accomplish the following mission: To increase awareness of refugees living internationally and within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. To celebrate the cultures and contributions of refugees living within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.  In order to accomplish this objective, the World Refugee Day Committee has been meeting regularly to plan, advertise and fundraise for the celebration of this event. The Committee is comprised of representatives from various local agencies that work in collaboration to address the various, and often complex needs, of the refugee community in Charlotte. The program will include musical/dance performances from various ethnic groups and tables surrounding the park where you can learn more about refugees living in Charlotte as well as the organizations that work to connect them to services and resources. The WRD Committee has also received authorization from Charlotte-Mecklenburg County officials to officially proclaim June 20th as World Refugee Day for city and county jurisdictions. If you would like to donate to the event or simply learn more

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As the new Respect Life Program Director for Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte, joining the agency about five months ago, I have already encountered many “firsts” in my new role, and I look forward to many more to come! When I was asked to write something for the CCDOC Blog, I knew this would go on my list of another first. As I pondered and prayed about what to write, various topics came to mind. With the recent celebration of Mother’s Day, I knew I could write something about mothers—thanking and lifting up current mothers, comforting and consoling mothers who have lost a child, and teaching and inspiring mothers-to-be. Then I realized that Father’s Day is approaching soon, so I thought perhaps I could write something integrating mothers and fathers. Both are essential in the creation of life and in the Respect Life mission, and I had just recently been learning more about research indicating the need to focus more on the man’s role and responsibilities within society and how this impacts women and their choices regarding their children. I also considered writing about individuals with special needs, as these individuals are near and dear to my heart. Well, the Lord

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Refugees come to the United States with nothing but the hope of a better future for them and their families. As we welcome them to Charlotte, the first and the major challenge for them is to find a job and to be able to take care of themselves and their families. The employment staff at Catholic Charities Refugee Office assists and guides them in finding employment to become self-sufficient.The first two years for most refugees can be very difficult. Everything is new for them. The lack of transportation and English skills are big hindrances for becoming employed. They go to English language class to improve their language skills. We also train them how to access public transportation to empower them to become more independent.Within two weeks of their arrival, we meet and talk with them about getting jobs. Their faces light up with hope and happiness when they hear that we will help them find jobs. We also provide them orientation about the job application process, the world of work, keeping jobs, and interview skills to make them ready to compete in the job market.We have clients from Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, Cuba, Somalia and other parts of Africa, and some Eastern
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