Our client's success is important to us. Here are real stories of people who have come to Catholic Charities for our programs and services.
Anthony felt overwhelmingly distant from friends and family, and when he did spend time around people, he dreaded it. The thought of who he wanted to become was hazy, and he began to doubt his ability to grow toward his goals. Anthony was suffering from severe social anxiety and struggling with his self-identity. Seeking to make a change, he reached out to Catholic Charities’ Community Counseling program.
Throughout his first few sessions with his Catholic Charities counselor, Anthony was remarkably quiet. Slowly, he started to tell more of his story, including personal challenges with low self-esteem, negative outside influences, and the stress he faces at home. Anthony and his therapist met weekly to elevate his self-confidence, and discussed goals and ambitions he could work toward. He found new interests in music and growing plants. He graduated from college with an Information Technology degree and started a full-time position after practicing mock interviews with his therapist.
Anthony’s therapist is incredibly proud of him for continuing to accomplish the goals he established. The two look forward to their future sessions to catch up about activities that Anthony now has the confidence to pursue. A train ride to visit friends or an overnight professional convention are things Anthony now feels excited to do.
Learn more about our Community Counseling Services
Daniela had little income when her son Jacob was born. An unhealthy relationship with Jacob’s father made matters worse. She began to feel hopeless. Weighed down by a history of substance abuse and mental health issues, Daniela thought, “How will I provide a healthy home for my growing son?”
When Jacob was 3 weeks old, Daniela approached Catholic Charities Supported Parenting Program for help. At first, she felt overwhelmed by the process of goal setting. She shared her feelings of hopelessness and self-doubt with Sarah, Director of the Supported Parenting Program, who served as her family support worker. Daniela was exhausted from sleepless nights alone caring for Jacob.
With Sarah’s help, she worked to prioritize goals, breaking each larger goal into more attainable steps. Daniela received counseling services from a Catholic Charities therapist to help alleviate her feelings of self-doubt and hopelessness. Sarah accompanied Daniela and Jacob to doctor’s visits and provided essential education about childcare and parenting. When Daniela returned to work, Sarah helped complete paperwork for day care services and find access to childcare funding.
With consistent home visits, parenting education, role-modeling and compassionate support from her family support worker, Daniela built her self-esteem and confidence as a woman and a mother. She joyfully and lovingly provides care for her son Jacob, who continues to thrive.
Learn more about Supported Parenting Services.
ADULT DAY SERVICES
James and his wife Bessie have been married for 54 years and have called southeastern Wisconsin home for over fifty years. The couple has dedicated much of their lives to serving people in their communities, sharing love and care with their neighbors.
During his 36-year career at A.O. Smith, James felt a calling to serve people in need. Bessie encouraged him to reach out to others in service and love. James soon became a pastor. He and Bessie became familiar faces to neighbors in need, and supportive friends to many in their community.
When he retired, Pastor James eagerly went back to school. After a two-year program in Human Services, he used his compassion and wisdom as a counselor to young men struggling with substance abuse. James impacted many lives through service, and many more with his loving presence.
In 2016, James was diagnosed with dementia. Before long, he needed more care than Bessie could provide at home. After one of our community partners referred James and Bessie to Catholic Charities Adult Day Center, he joined us in 2018.
James receives care from trained and experienced staff in a home away from home atmosphere that meets his health and socialization needs. Members of the Adult Day Center engage in daily exercise, activities, lunch and nutritious snacks, and personal care services, as well as crafts and games. Bessie enjoys much needed respite during the day and time to care for herself, while James has the confidence of returning home to his beloved Bessie each day.
Learn more about Adult Day Services
Jessica was feeling scared and unprepared when she discovered she was pregnant. The father was no longer in her life. “She thought she was going to go through this alone,” recalls Jen, Catholic Charities’ Director of Child Welfare Services who served as Jessica’s case manager.
Jessica was in her mid-30s and had several complicating health conditions that could lead to a high-risk pregnancy. One week before her due date, a social worker at a Milwaukee area hospital referred Jessica to Catholic Charities for Pregnancy Support Services. Jessica and Jen scheduled a day to meet within a week. Plans quickly changed. Jessica’s baby was on his way.
The first time they met, Jen was helping Jessica check in at the hospital. Jen stayed with Jessica until minutes before an emergency C-Section was underway. Through it all, the baby was Jessica’s No. 1 priority. The words “best interest” were said over and over. Every decision was made in the best interest of the baby. Above all, Jessica wanted to make sure her son would have a supportive and safe two-parent household.
That’s when Anna and Brian came in. As a loving couple who always wanted to be parents, they felt like God led them to adoption — and thus to Catholic Charities.
A week after the baby was born, Jessica met with two couples who were waiting to adopt. Jessica was making the most loving decision for her baby, choosing his future family.
Jessica chose Anna and Brian to be her son’s parents.
After his birth in May of 2022, the baby boy, who Jessica had been calling Beau, remained in the NICU for nearly a month. Throughout that time, he was almost never alone. During the day, Anna and Brian stayed by his side. By night, Jessica would spend hours holding him. Anna and Jessica exchanged text messages continuously.
Soon after, baby Beau went home with Anna and Brian. Jen helped Jessica through the legal process of terminating her parental rights. Catholic Charities Adoption Social Worker, Abby, visited monthly with Anna, Brian, and the baby to ensure he was adjusting well and meeting his milestones, and he was!
After six months, the adoption was finalized in court. Anna and Brian gave their son the name John Beau.
Learn more about our Adoption Services
REFUGEE & IMMIGRATION SERVICES
Zarina is happy to be an American citizen. She is Rohingya and came to the U.S. as a refugee from Myanmar/Burma. For the first time she feels the freedom of being able to say, “This is my country. I can go anywhere now.”
When Zarina came to the U.S., learning the language and becoming a citizen were very important to her. She is a busy mom of four. There just wasn’t enough time to go to school between caring for her family, managing school for her children, and working outside the home.
Working closely with leaders of the refugee community, Catholic Charities understands the challenges that Zarina and others face to find time and transportation to participate in a traditional classroom setting. In response, Catholic Charities RIS program created a volunteer tutoring program that would be flexible to meet individual needs.
When Zarina began asking family and friends where she could find help to prepare for the U.S. citizenship test, she learned of volunteer tutors who could come to her home. That is when she met Kim who was a trained volunteer tutor through Catholic Charities RIS program. They were paired in January 2020. When the pandemic made virtual meetings necessary, Zarina and Kim were able to continue their lessons through WhatsApp. Zarina says that Kim would help to “push her through” and encourage her saying, “You can do it!” Zarina reached her goal of citizenship, and says, “I am thankful to her forever.”
Learn more about our Refugee and Immigration Services.
PREGNANCY + PARENTING SUPPORT
Shida remembered the love she felt and care she received through Catholic Charities during her first pregnancy. When she became pregnant again in her mid-30s, she reached out to Catholic Charities. Suffering from seizures, she had a high-risk pregnancy and knew our agency could support her through this difficult time.
During each weekly home visit, Shida wanted to know everything about the stages of development as her baby was growing and how to prepare for a natural childbirth. Her Catholic Charities Pregnancy and Parenting Support Worker, Erika, provided education, support, and advocacy to improve her chances for a healthy birth.
With Erika’s help, Shida didn’t miss a doctor’s appointment. She also maintained a healthy diet during her pregnancy, making seizures less likely. Following her doctor’s advice, she took vital measures to prevent pre-term labor.
In 2022, Shida delivered a beautiful baby boy, who continues to be doted on by his big brother. Shida is doing well and recently started a new job.
Erika continues her home visits and sees the loving care that Shida showers on her two boys.
Learn more about our Pregnancy & Parenting Support Services
At 90 years old, Marles lives alone and shared that she often feels lonely. She has survived many of her friends and family, and her loving daughter Kelly lives in California. When Marles began to show signs of dementia, Kelly worried about her mother’s safety and well-being.
In May of 2021, Marles was paired with a Catholic Charities homemaker, who keeps in close communication with Kelly. A typical home visit brings light housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry, other assistance, and warm conversation. Working alongside her homemaker, when she is able, brings Marles joy and renewed confidence in her independence.
One afternoon, the homemaker stopped by for her regularly scheduled appointment. She knocked at the door. Marles didn’t answer. She knocked once more, waited, and there was no response. Catholic Charities staff immediately called Kelly.
Kelly asked the leasing office to let the homemaker in through the front door. Inside, she found Marles had fallen in the bathroom and was badly hurt. The homemaker rushed to Marles’ side and called an ambulance. “Without Catholic Charities, my mom would have been hurt and alone for much longer. I am so grateful that they were there to help,” Kelly said.
Marles is recovering well at the hospital and is preparing to return home. When she does return home, Catholic Charities will be there to welcome and care for her.
Learn more about our In-Home Support Services
OUTREACH & CASE MANAGEMENT
When Claudia moved to southeastern Wisconsin with her husband and their five-year-old daughter, she was pregnant with her second child. Immersed in an unfamiliar place, a different culture, and a drastically different way of life, Claudia didn’t know who to turn to for help. The family had no insurance and had not visited a doctor’s office during her pregnancy. Claudia and her husband were uneasy. “Where will we go when it’s time for the baby to come?” they thought.
She was referred to Nancy, a bilingual Outreach Case Manager at Catholic Charities. Although it was difficult to talk about her situation, it helped Claudia to speak with someone in her own language who listened to her story. First, Nancy began helping her find insurance coverage. Nancy and Claudia visited a clinic in the area that week and scheduled an appointment for the following Monday. During her appointment, to Claudia’s surprise, the doctor said it would soon be time for her baby to be born.
That night at the hospital, her son Hugo was born.
In the months following Hugo’s birth, Nancy continued supporting Claudia and her family. Catholic Charities provided baby clothes, a stroller, and other supplies. She is tremendously grateful for Nancy and Catholic Charities for the compassionate care and help she received.
Learn more about our Outreach and Case Management Services
HOARDING INTERVENTION & TREATMENT
For many years, Kathy suffered from hoarding disorder. It was her coping mechanism. Sadly, the impact of hoarding affected her relationships as well as her ability to maintain a routine and feel confident. To help his mother, Kathy’s son Tim and his wife Jennifer reorganized and removed items from her home and helped her clean. Unfortunately, the causes of hoarding go much deeper, involving mental and behavioral health. Kathy’s hoarding continued.
Kathy felt hopeless, and the condition of her home worsened. She was overwhelmed by the sudden passing of her sister, traumatic death of her former husband, and the failing health of her mother who was in hospice care.
Tim and Jennifer decided to contact Catholic Charities Hoarding Intervention Program. Kathy was reluctant but agreed to have a home coach help her evaluate items she was holding onto and decide what she wanted to either donate or throw away. She met with our therapist to process her grief, understand the cause of her hoarding, and find healthier ways to cope. A case manager also helped to assess her needs and coordinate additional resources. Today, Kathy is managing life and her home much better with occasional follow up visits from her home coach.
Learn more about our Hoarding Intervention & Treatment Services