Stories Of Hope
From Our Lawrence County Office
Former homeless man grateful for the help he received.
"I am writing to first thank your wonderful organization for the help that I received from the Catholic Charities Office in New Castle, Lawrence County. Through the incredible help of your organization, I went from being homeless to obtaining my own apartment here in New Castle. I am so very thankful.
Specifically, I would like to highly commend my social worker. She was instrumental in working tirelessly to help me when I really needed it. She stopped at nothing to make sure that I was able to be placed in an apartment. She was always there when I needed to speak with her or stop in to the office. She is truly the best social worker that I have ever dealt with, by far. There is no comparison as far as I am concerned. Your organization is very fortunate to have such a determined advocate for the poor and homeless. I was very fortunate to have her as my advocate. She is the best!"
From our Butler County Office
Young man gets second change at sobriety and a new life.
During his first experience in our program for young adults who are struggling with addiction, "Ronnie" had to leave, because he was not yet ready to maintain a sober lifestyle. After he left, he was arrested for driving under the influence and spent several months in a local jail. We received a letter from him while he was incarcerated asking for a second chance because being "locked-up" gave him plenty of time to think about his life. Now, he was willing to do whatever it takes to change his situation. He was re-admitted to the program last February, and has shown tremendous progress since that time. He completed intensive outpatient treatment at a local treatment facility and has been asked to speak to the group about his experiences. Despite tremendous odds, he was able to obtain part-time employment as a dishwasher at a local restaurant where he even earned an award for service excellence. Now proven to be such a responsible, valued employee, his hours have been increased. He continues to inspire those around him who have witnessed the steps that he is taking to maintain sobriety and live a responsible life.
From Our Greene County Office
Warming bodies, homes, and hearts.
A family displaced from Florida moved to Greene County last winter, bringing with them only a few items of summer clothing. A father and grandfather were raising five children on a limited income, and they approached us for assistance with winter gear. We noticed that one of the little daughters was very reserved and fearful.
As they had a child under two, we signed the family up for our Pregnancy and Parenting Program (which provides both advice and infant-care items to expectant parents and parents of children up to age two), supplied all the kids with warm clothes and toys, and gave their dad and granddad two pairs of shoes each. Granddad returned later, and we collaborated with the Salvation Army to supply the family with heating oil for the winter. After a few visits, the little girl opened up and wished us God's blessings for all the work we do.
From Our Challenges: Options In Aging Program, New Castle
Stroke victim makes miraculous recoveries.
Serge was only 37-years old when he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed on the right side of his body and affected his ability to read and write. He had to learn to speak, eat, walk, talk, read and write all over again.
Through the years, he had received therapy in many facilities. While he had overcome many of the physical barriers in his life, something was missing. Then in 2007, a friend told him about Challenges in New Castle. From the first day that he entered the Center, he found he found it to be a great place to socialize and make new friends. He enjoyed many of the social and recreational activities that were offered and was most impressed by the staff who continue to "go out of their way to do what they can."
His first goal was to get additional physical therapy. In working with Mike the trainer, Serge received personal program that he still uses three times a week. In the three years that he has been working out at the Center, his balance and strength have increased dramatically. Serge also says that taking computer classes at the Center is the greatest thing that he ever did. It's exercise for the brain. He credits the classes with Tony his instructor with improving his reading ability and hand-eye coordination. In addition, his love of the Internet and learning to use a webcam helps him communicate with family who live out of town.
An inspiration to others, Serge is a regular at Challenges. Now 53-years old, his physical health and outlook have vastly improved since coming to the facility and says, "Without the help of a lot of friends and family none of this would have been possible for me."
From Our Free Care Health Center
Idida is doing "just great"
No longer able to work because of advanced kidney disease that required dialysis three days a week, Idida was referred to the Free Health Care Center in January 2010 by the Allegheny General Hospital Transplant program. It was necessary that Idida continue to receive dental care in order to remain infection-free as she waited for news of an available kidney. Without a job and health insurance, the Free Health Care Center was her only option.
In October 2012, the call came. A match was found! Idida received not one, but two kidneys. Idida reports that she is doing "just great" and is very grateful for the dental care she received while she waited for her life-saving surgery!
From St. Joseph House of Hospitality
Homeless Doctor is Homeless No More!
It's hard to imagine that a medical doctor could be living on the streets and living in his car. But that was the life of "Dr. Fred" because he had never sought treatment for his mental illness.
A friend of his, who also happened to be a donor to our St. Joseph House of Hospitality program, referred "Dr. Fred" to us. At St. Joe's, "Dr Fred" lives in his own comfortable room, enjoys three meals a day and receives supportive services. When our caseworker first saw him, "Dr. Fred" was withdrawn, disheveled, paranoid and very insecure. That was two months ago. The new "Dr. Fred" is walking taller, taking his medications, dressing better and socializing with his new neighbors at St. Joe’s. His story is unfolding in a healthy direction, and for a former physician, that sure seems right!
From Allegheny County Team HOPE
It’s not easy starting over...
...when you’ve just been released from prison.
Bert was a guy hoping for a new start, a job, and a home to share with his teenage daughter. He connected with our Team HOPE program in Allegheny County, and his caseworker helped to provide him with donated furniture and gift cards to purchase necessities for his new apartment.
Once he and his daughter got settled, Bert devoted all of his time to searching for employment. He worked with one of the team's college interns to develop a resume and look for jobs online. It wasn't long before he got a job washing dishes in a local restaurant. He called to let us know and said that it wasn't much, but it's a start...his start!