Stories of Hope

From our Allegheny County Outreach

With the guidance of our Creative and expressive Arts Therapist, long-time client Katey wrote this moving song:

From our Pregnancy and Parneting Services

Meet Mary...

Mary is a 24-year-old woman whose child was one month old. We met Mary when CYS had determined her situation to be high-risk.  She lost custody of her child due to concerns related to active drug addiction issues.  The child’s father was in prison at the time.

In order to gain custody of her child, she was court-ordered to enter a drug rehabilitation program and to learn parenting skills. Catholic Charities provided weeks of ongoing parenting education and supportive counseling.  Catholic Charities also ensured she had a connection to rehabilitation care as well as helping to sensure that she had the ability to attend those sessions by providing transportation assistance. 

Within months, Mary gained custody of her child and continues to be served by Catholic Charities’ Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services.  She  receives supportive counseling as well as tangible assistance like formula, clothing, bottles, wipes and diapers.

From our Homesless Services

Meet Samuel...

Samuel is a 57-year-old man who moved into St. Joseph House of Hospitality when his only income was a welfare check for $205/month which was cut two months after he arrived.  Despite having brief periods where he was able to live with his daughter, he had been essentially transient for two years, living in temporary shelters or on the street.  Samuel had a long history of alcoholism along with being treated for depression and anxiety.  In addition, he has medical issues .  After only a few weeks at St. Joe’s, Samuel decided to pursue his recovery from alcoholism in earnest, attending AA meetings, and eventually attending a weekend retreat for men who have been homeless and are in recovery from addiction.

As part of his individualized service plan, Samuel enrolled in classes at CCAC as a full-time student with assistance from federal aid.  He also became active in St. Joe’s Resident Volunteer program doing things like helping maintain the grounds, and in the summer, working the vegetable garden.  Additionally, as another component in his service plan,  the caseworker helped him to apply for SSI disability benefits.  In August 2017, his application was approved, and he received a lump sum check.  He used a portion of it to help his daughter and the rest for a security deposit on his own apartment in the Homewood area.  Samuel continues to pursue his college degree and to volunteer with his church where he has been active with youth ministry and summer camps.  He says that his goal is to graduate from college, become a drug & alcohol counselor,  and be known as St. Joe’s most successful resident.

From our Basic Needs Services

Meet Danielle, Brittant, Tyler and Jona...

Danielle is a mom with three children came to the Catholic Charities’ Welcome Center indicating that her home had just been condemned and her family was now homeless.  Allegheny County Outreach staff worked with this family in obtaining immediate Section 8 approval through the mayor’s office.  Catholic Charities paid for the security deposit and first month’s rent  as well as  providing the family with emergency food assistance.  Danielle entered our “Incentive to Goal” case management program and continues to work on employment goals and financial literacy skills.

From our Stability Services

Meet Kevin...

When Kevin walked into Catholic Charities Welcome Center in Downtown Pittsburgh he was without a job, a home or hope. The only thing he had in abundance was a debilitating low self esteem that prevented him from moving forward. With no other options, he agreed to partner with one of our case workers in our Incentive to Goal program. His case worker saw hope beginning to creep in as Kevin remained committed to bettering his situation.  Together they created an individualized service plan that addressed every aspect of his situation and worked a strategy plan together.  I

In his conversations with  his caseworker, Kevin shared his desire to travel, so they added researching trucking schools to his strategy.  Hope continued to grow.  After a little research, Kevin decided that driving a truck could be a good career path.  As he continued to work his strategy plan, he earned his incentives and Catholic Charities financed his school applications, the  tools necessary for any job search: a phone and bus tickets to reach his interviews and appropriate attire.  When a local firm agreed to give him a chance, we also took care of the costs for his commercial driver’s license, which he passed with flying colors.  Most importantly, we gave Kevin the encouragement and affirmation he needed most, and we pledged to walk with him as far as he want to go.  We will be there as he tackles his next goal—a search for a home.

From our Counseling Services

Meet Justin...

Carol and Justin divorced after 10 years of marriage. They were required by the Beaver County Courts to complete the TransParenting Seminar provided by Catholic Charities. After six months, the divorced couple continued to fight in Family Court hearings. The Judge imposed another Court order, this time for them to attend CoParenting counseling at Catholic Charities. Their sessions with a therapist addressed the specifics of their communication skills. Once they completed therapy, the couple was able to use these skills more successfully.

Justin, realizing that he still had a number of issues to resolve from his divorce, requested individual counseling for himself. During the assessment process, the therapist identified Justin’s need to move beyond the angry phase of the grieving process over his divorce. Through therapy, Justin was able to talk about his anger with his ex-wife’s infidelity that led to the divorce. He was given various assignments to help him resolve his anger and to stop blaming himself, which was also affecting his self-esteem. Justin now finds it easier to assert himself in appropriate ways when negotiating terms of child custody and visitation.

From our Free Health Care Center

Meet Elizabeth...

When Elizabeth arrived at Catholic Charities Free Health Care Clinic in early September, she was tired. She hadn’t been feeling well for a while. Recently, her memory had been failing, which fatigue only compounded. She quietly explained she needed help. This is often where our volunteer physicians begin – where a patient’s hopes have dimmed. In addition to processing bloodwork, which revealed untreated hypothyroidism, our team worked to ensure she understood how valued she is. We know compassion begins in our hearts first so we can minister to other’s needs. She grew secure enough to share that she had not been able to meet her own health needs, and a personal issue had been worrying her.

Within four business days, we prescribed medication to address her debilitating hypothyroidism; helped find ways to decrease her medication cost; scheduled   overdue gynecological and mammogram appointments; examined her eyes and immediately ordered glasses; and arranged counselling for emotional and mental support. During a recent follow-up visit, she was animated, talkative and amazed at how rapidly her needs had been met.

We are reminded that no part of a person should be dismissed or ignored. We are committed to providing healing that begins when we address the whole person, modeling the compassionate care we find in our faith.


Catholic Charities, Diocese of Pittsburgh

212 Ninth Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: 412-456-6999

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