Strengthening Families. Building Communities. Reducing Poverty.
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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The Newcomers ESL Class introduces basic English to newly arrived refugee youth.  The aim of the class is to prepare the children to begin school in the United States.  Catholic Charities has offered this class since the summer of 2006.  The class meets during the months of June and July for two hours a day Monday through Thursday.  This year the class meets for five weeks, devoting one week to each of the following topics:  classroom objects, the school building, American foods, the human body, and family.  Program participants learn not only English, but also accepted classroom behavior, and they make new friends too.  The current teachers are K’Sang Bonyo, and AmeriCorps members Taneah Bryant and Katrina Hruska.  A typical day at the class might look like this:   2:45 The teachers arrive at the class to prepare for the arrival of the students, only to find one 8-year-old Karenni girl from Burma waiting outside the classroom.   3:00 Two young Bhutanese girls arrive at the class.  All three students begin taking out books to look at the pictures.  Eventually one of the girls deposits her book on the shelf and picks up the Connect 4 game.  She carefully inserts the

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For many, the journey to adoption is about a choice.  It's about a choice to love a child into their family.  Many children are born into families, but there are special ones who are loved in.  Parents who adopt are parents who make a purposeful choice to welcome and grow their family through the love of their new child.  For many of our families, they may have tried several avenues to fulfill that lifelong dream of becoming a mother or father. At times they are successful, and other times they look at additional options, like adoption. It is a journey not to be taken lightly, but also one that can bring so much joy to a family.  Recently, a family was able to bring home their fourth child with special needs, a baby with Down syndrome. They have always been a family who believes in helping their children achieve all they can by focusing on their abilities and not their disabilities. When the call came in about the baby with Down syndrome, they knew he would be the perfect child for their family. They have welcomed him into their family with open arms and cannot imagine life without him. They are grateful
Catholic Charities’ presence in far western North Carolina has been known as the Office of Economic Opportunity, OEO for short, for most of its 15-year history.  The program, housed in the Bishop Begley Center for Economic Development in Murphy and offering services in Cherokee, Clay, Graham and Swain Counties, succeeds through a network of partnerships with other agencies and through a collaborative ecumenical approach.  Shining a spotlight on this ecumenical approach will bring into focus just how Catholic Charities successfully assists in the far western NC region to strengthen families, reduce poverty and build communities. When a tornado struck Cherokee County in March 2012, Catholic Charities and its partner St. William Catholic Church were designated to distribute CCUSA disaster relief funds to victims.  An elderly woman got a new ramp for her mobile home, a young family relocated to a donated mobile home, households received needed appliances, and other households had windows replaced.  Catholic Charities staff worked in tandem with two other Christian disaster assistance groups – Nehemiah’s Neighbors of the Methodist Church and NC Baptist Men to offer assistance. Church partnerships are the foundation of Catholic Charities’ success in far western NC.  At the recent “Stompin’ Out Poverty” event, held

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Hey teens! Do you….   Feel tired for no good reason? Have headaches or unexplained back pain? Eat a lot more or a lot less than usual? Have trouble sleeping? Suddenly have flashes of anger, or fight more with your family members and friends? Let little things bother you? Feel sad, moody or lonely? Have trouble thinking as clearly as you usually do?   If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be overly stressed!   Suggestions for managing stress:   1.  Go easy on yourself.  No one is perfect and gets things right all the time. If you are trying hard and doing your best, that’s all anyone can ask of you. Give yourself credit.   2.  Take one thing at a time and prepare.  Set small goals and break tasks into manageable chunks. Manage your time wisely.   3.  Take care of yourself.  Eat healthy foods. Limit caffeine and get enough rest. Using drugs and alcohol to cope with stress won’t solve anything and will lead to bigger problems.   4.  Laugh or cry a little. Releasing emotion may help to ease feelings and improve your outlook.   5.  Relax.  Making time to relax is vital
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