Celebrating Success: Client Stories That Inspire Us
Posted on February 1st, 2012
As we endure the last blast of winter, I would like to share a few “success stories” of Catholic Charities’ clients, which will hopefully warm your heart. Each year, Catholic Charities assists more than one million people in need, of all faiths, ages and ethnicities through 157 programs at 162 sites in Cook and Lake counties. Hundreds of these “good news” stories are periodically submitted by our case workers. I hope our readers, benefactors and volunteers will share our pride in these few stories of hope and courage.
Addiction Counseling Education Services (ACES):
A client completed his outpatient services and brought a figurine of a panda with a suitcase in one hand and a passport in the other to his last session. Hesaid that, when he bought the figurine at the second hand store, it was broken and chipped in many places. When I saw it, it was beautiful and looked new. His explanation was this: “When I first came here, I was broken and chipped in many places. You put me together and helped me find the right path and now I am on a path of recovery.”
Housing Case Management:
John, a 63-year old Hispanic gentleman, came to Catholic Charities for mortgage delinquency and default resolution counseling. A Catholic Charities housing counselor met with John who wanted to avoid foreclosure of his “dream home,” where he and his family had resided for over 14 years. When John requested our services, he was three months behind on his mortgage payments due to illness and unemployment, the family had exhausted their retirement and savings, and they did not know where else to turn. He had received a summons to appear in court and was losing hope. Our housing counselor referred John to a respected Legal Services firm for legal representation and assisted him in completing a home loan modification application with his lender. During this time, John obtained full-time employment. When the modification was completed, the interest rate on the mortgage was reduced by half and John is now able to afford his monthly expenses. Catholic Charities’ housing counselor is providing follow-up services to ensure that John can maintain his budget.
The LOSS Program:
Three months ago, Catholic Charities’ LOSS Program (Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide) started a group in our Cicero office for Spanish-speaking individuals who have lost loved ones to suicide. For decades, monthly meetings have been held at almost a dozen sites for groups of survivors grieving such a loss, but the LOSS program had only been able to offer individual counseling for Spanish-speaking survivors. While helpful for these individuals, they missed the healing benefits and comfort of sharing with other survivors who were going through the same trauma. Although the LOSS program had been brainstorming the idea of a Spanish-speaking group for a few years, it was thought that cultural or legal factors might prohibit Latino participation. Fortunately, courageous families and individuals were willing to seek the benefits of these professional, confidential services in a group led by one of our Spanish-speaking therapists. Today, this group has three Spanish-speaking women who have lost their husbands to suicide. They are able to mourn in the company of other widows in their native language.
In these and many more ways, Catholic Charities lives the Gospel of God’s love every day of the year assisting our brothers and sisters who conquer insurmountable obstacles with courage and grace.