Day 32: The difference a year makesPosted: June 5, 2012
A while back, we shared one of the stories staff members shared when we asked them to recall memories and success stories from their programs. Here is another response from our “Question of the Quarter” to staff members throughout the Catholic Charities System…
A high school principal called to ask if we could help a former student who was struggling. The young man was no longer attending school, was in need of mental health treatment, was recently cut-off from welfare benefits due to his age (19), was homeless and really scared. His extended family had no use for him since he did not have any form of income/benefits that they could use.
The immediate response of the staff at Catholic Charities was – help him first – figure out what program he fits into later. He was assisted with all of the above issues, very gradually building a rapport and trust with a worker. He loosely qualified for Families of Promise, since his father was incarcerated for most of his life, as was his mother (whom he had no contact with). When the weather got cold, he went to a shelter. He ended up being physically assaulted by another resident and needed to be medically treated. Through a local housing program he was able to quickly enter into a ShelterPlusCare program and get his own apartment – a safe place to be.
This basic need of housing, coupled with proper mental health treatment, welfare and food stamps and eventually social security survivor benefits from his deceased father, helped him to stabilize enough to start focusing on his GED. He then entered into the WIA (youth employment program) to address his school and vocational needs. He still relies on the original worker for guidance and advocacy.
He is now 20 and trying to learn how to be a responsible young adult – nothing easy for someone who grew up in an abusive and transient household of greedy caretakers (not his own parents). To this day, the young man is very appreciative of how far he’s come in a short amount of time with our help, and the principal who referred him loves to talk to him about each of his little achievements as he makes them. When this worker met him – he was also suicidal. What a difference a year makes!
-Submitted by anonymous staff member