Strengthening Families. Building Communities. Reducing Poverty.
Like everyone else in the room that Sunday morning who watched the video of Pope Francis addressing the Catholic Charities USA Annual Gathering in Charlotte, I was exceptionally proud to be there in that space and at that time.  It was simply one of those moments that brought clarity and purpose to the work I am privileged to do as part of the Catholic Charities agency here in the Diocese of Charlotte.  It can be so easy to let my focus be trained on the operational side of this work as my days are filled with meetings and emails and documents and financial reports and telephone calls, and, and…  These are legitimate and important tasks which deserve and require my full professional and careful attention.  But the work I do – the work all of us do at Catholic Charities – is not really about ensuring maximum efficiency and effectiveness as though we’re managing just another NGO.  What we do is at its core all about “caritas” or the “love of God.”   In his own words, Pope Francis reminded us that “as Catholic Charities workers, board members, donors, parish social ministers, volunteers and organizations, you bring that joy with each and

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Teen pregnancy is a hot topic in the media. Reality shows about the struggles of teen motherhood have become popular entertainment. Though teenage mothers like these often require a significant amount of attention and assistance, women of every age experiencing an unintended pregnancy need similar support. By age 45, more than half of all American women will have experienced an unintended pregnancy, and over half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended (Guttmacher Institute, 2013). Unintended pregnancies can leave women scared, stressed, and confused. They may need assistance getting food or a place to live. They may desire to come up with a birth plan or an adoption plan. In politics and the media, single mothers are portrayed in a negative light. There are stereotypes that a child born out of wedlock always has an absent father, or that two married parents that have a child will not struggle in the same ways that single mothers do. In actuality, every mother needs support, no matter her lifestyle. There are those that may require extra support because of life circumstances such as homelessness, financial struggles, unpreparedness, and a general lack of parenting resources, among other issues. With the economy in

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Sandy* was brought to Catholic Charities in Winston-Salem one evening about 8:00 by a man who explained he found Sandy walking around in front to his house. Thankfully, several agency staff were still at the office closing up after a meeting.  Sandy told the man she had been living on the streets for a couple weeks. After a conversation with Sandy’s father, who refused to allow her to come home, the man brought Sandy to Catholic Charities. Sandy shared how she managed to continue to go to school, where she hid a blanket and a few possessions, how she got food, and how she charged her IPod and phone without notice. Agency staff quickly went to work to secure Sandy’s safety. After confirming that Sandy’s father would not allow her to return home, staff secured emergency shelter and initiated the process of helping Sandy attain a stable future. According to the National Runaway Safeline, between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth in the United States run away from home each year. Some youth may be forced to leave their home rather than voluntarily running away. Youth run away or are forced to leave their home for many reasons including abuse, neglect, substance

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Did you know that more than half of the world’s refugees are children? In light of the recent influx of unaccompanied minors arriving into the United States from Latin America, CCDOC’s Refugee Resettlement Office thought it might be an appropriate time to reflect on what comprehensive case management services look like for the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM’s) that we serve. Although we are not currently providing services to any unaccompanied children from Latin America, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has recommended that the US strengthen protections for these children and emphasize their best interests rather than the blind enforcement of immigration law. (For more information on this report, please visit the USCCB website.  We are proud to be a part of a complex, international network that serves refugee children who have become separated from their parents and other family members, an incredibly vulnerable population that requires special care and protections throughout the resettlement process. The URM’s we serve have fled from persecution (or fear of persecution) within their home countries to a second country of asylum. Their cases have been processed by such respected organizations as the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees, the U.S. Department of State, and
As we age we have the opportunity to reflect on the different stages of our lives. We turn back to the times of success and loss, happiness and grief and look at the life events that both encouraged and challenged us. Every year Catholic Charities hosts Days of Reflection, an event that creates a time of reflection and renewal for senior adults. This time provides opportunities to encourage, challenge, and support a community of faith while also allowing time for reconnecting with personal purpose. Days of Reflection address the spiritual needs of senior adults in interactive ways by providing an outlet for seniors to gather with one another and share their faith. Individuals, who attend, leave with renewed spirits and a sense of connectedness within a larger faith community. Some may ask whether spirituality and faith make a difference in one’s outlook on aging and studies have shown that they do play a positive role in the aging process. Having had the privilege of working with seniors from around the Diocese for years, I have witnessed the difference faith and spirituality make in times of prosperity and sorrow. Individuals who are active in a church and their communities tend to
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