Monday, January 28, 2013

Pee Dee and Piedmont Reflection

            The Pee Dee office was blessed to work with many like-minded agencies and individuals this year. To meet the employees and volunteers that work in the Pee Dee office, please read these posts. One of our clients from the Pee Dee area shared this with us:

“I would like to express sincere appreciation to you and your organization for making it possible for me to have new beautiful teeth. You have done so much for me, and I am sure many others in need. I have no words to express my gratitude. May God continue to bless you as you advocate and serve humanity, and go forth as a wonderful instrument for His goodness.”

The Piedmont office added new programs and gained new employees in 2012. You may learn more about this office and the employees who oversee it here. This office continued to partner with agencies and businesses in the Upstate of South Carolina to meet the variety of needs that their clients have.

“A woman came into our office one day to ask about the Save-A-Smile program. She shared that her body and face were burned in an accident a few years ago and, due to the severity of the burns, she lost her hair and teeth. When she started the process of getting dentures, we found out that she needed a facial dental specialist due to the severity of the damage in her mouth. She was very sad and concerned about finding a way to pay for the procedures. I told her to put God in front of all and let him take care of the situation.  A couple of months later she called and told me that she found a specialist! She was happy and hopeful again. I spoke with our regional coordinator and we decided to financially help her. The doctor was also very generous and helped her make payment arrangements and gave her a discount. After she had the surgery and got the dentures, she came back to the office. It was like a completely different person was in our office! Even her hair was different and the expressions of her face were bright again. She hugged me and started to cry. This was one of the most wonderful experiences I have had since becoming a Client Advocate for Catholic Charities.”

We hope you have enjoyed hearing these stories from our different offices. 2012 was a wonderful year for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Charleston, Inc. and we are very excited to see what 2013 has in store! If you would like to learn more about supporting these programs, please visit our website.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Carter May Home and Lowcountry Reflections

            The Carter May Home provides care to the elderly and currently has 23 residents living in it. This home is not only a living facility for seniors, but also provides activities, healthcare services, events, beauty services, and more. Administrator Janine Bauder was introduced in this post and shared this reflection on 2012:

“I am very proud of the WWII Veterans that live at our facility. We have three that were in the Navy and one that was in the Army Air Corp. The stories that they tell are remarkable and they definitely have a connection with one another.  One veteran continues to volunteer at the Yorktown once a week so he is still serving to keep the history alive and real. One veteran who just joined us was a POW for 9 months in Germany, so I look forward to hearing more of his story. Having them at Carter-May Home/ St. Joseph Residence gives us the opportunity to honor them for their service and sacrifice to our country.”

2012 saw a change in leadership in our Lowcountry office. Pam Rice began fulfilling the role of Lowcountry Regional Coordinator. Pam now oversees Our Lady’s Pantry, a food pantry that provides nutritious foods to people of need in South Carolina’s Lowcounty. Pam enjoys getting to know her clients and caring for their spiritual needs as well as their physical needs.

 “A woman came from London, England, to live in Beaufort after marrying a military man from the USA. After he passed away, she came close to losing her. To top off her list of troubles she told us she had just been released from the hospital the day she came to see us. She had no money for food. Naturally, we helped her and I knelt down at her feet, held her hands and prayed for her and all the hardship she had experienced in the past 6 months. When I finished praying for her she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, ‘That was even better than the food you are about to give me. Thank you so much.’ ”

We all feel blessed to be able to do this work and are glad to share these stories with you. These reflections on 2012 will continue on Monday when we hear from the Piedmont and Pee Dee offices. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, offices, and getting involved, please visit our website.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Immigration Reflections

            Immigration services saw the most growth in 2012. When the year began, Catholic Charities had offices located in Charleston and Greenville. A new office was opened in Hilton Head and an additional location was opened in Greenville. Clinics were held to help several hundred individuals apply for temporary legal status and work authorization. Additionally, our Associate Director of Immigration Services, Emily Guerrero, received an award in November from the American Inns of Court, Petigru Chapter in Charleston for her philanthropic work. Whew! We’re tired just saying all of this! You can read about these accomplishments and more in past blog posts. When we asked our Immigration employees to share their favorite stories of 2012, this is what they shared:

 “P is a U.S. citizen married to E. We filed for immigration status for E based on her marriage to P. She had to leave the U.S. and process through Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. She took their 1 year old daughter with them. We filed a waiver asking for forgiveness of her previous unlawful presence in the U.S. While the waiver was processing at the U.S. Embassy abroad, E and their daughter were separated from P. P was so upset to be separated from his family, he had to go to a counselor and was diagnosed with depression.  Thankfully, after 10 months, the waiver was approved, and E and their little girl got to come back to the U.S. and be reunited with P.”

 “A long time client of ours from Russia got her permanent residence with our office three years ago based on being the victim of domestic violence by her U.S. citizen husband. He was continually physically and verbally abusive to her while were together. He was particularly physically abusive to her when she was pregnant. Recently, she became eligible to petition for U.S. citizenship and we helped her through this process. She passed the test and became a U.S. citizen.”

To learn more about Immigration services, donating, how you can be involved with this program, or receiving assistance from these offices, please visit our website. We’ll be back on Friday with the Lowcountry and Carter May Home 2012 reviews.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Coastal and Midlands Reflections

            The Coastal office is located in Charleston, SC, and is home to several programs. The most successful programs provide medical and dental care for clients. Another unique feature of this office is that several volunteers and staff members are bi-lingual, allowing them to provide much needed services to the growing Hispanic population in Charleston. The following stories were recently shared by our staff members in the Coastal office:

“O is a hardworking, but uninsured Coastal Catholic Charities client who has never had adequate dental care. O has selflessly used his salary to put his wife’s and his two children’s well-being ahead of his own, to the detriment of his dental health. He has lived for years with constant pain in his mouth, but cannot afford dental insurance or basic dental care. Through the assistance of a local dentist Coastal Catholic Charities was able to help O to receive the numerous dental fillings and extractions that he so desperately needed in order to restore his health and his smile.  O is now able to attend work regularly; support his family with dignity and pride and live a pain free life.”

“We have received very positive feedback from the Tri-County area Latino community for our bilingual client services. This is a rapidly-growing population in the Charleston area, and services for Spanish-speakers are in constant demand. It has been an honor to expand our programs to include these clients!

We have featured many client and volunteer stories from the Midlands office in past series. The Midlands office is located in Columbia, South Carolina. This office primarily provides works with the homeless population, and offers programs such as laundry services, shower facilities, and case management. If you are interested in learning more from the Midlands office, please read the stories our staff shared in September and October from these clients and volunteers.

If you would like to donate to Coastal Catholic Charities or learn more about volunteering, please visit our website. Don’t forget to visit this blog again on Tuesday to find out about the 2012 Immigration services highlights.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2012 Reflection Series

     2012 was a very busy year at Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Charleston, Inc. We opened two new Immigration offices, provided assistance and case management to the thousands of people who passed through our doors, helped hundreds of individuals apply for temporary legal status, received awards and grants from a variety of generous partners, gained some wonderful new staff members, announced exciting new ministries, and more.

None of this would have been possible without the support of you- our donors, supporters, and volunteers. You enable us to provide care and services to improve the lives of South Carolinians in need. Our year also would have looked completely different if we had not had the support of some wonderful staff members. As we wrapped up 2012 and took time to reflect on the past year, we asked some of our employees to share the stories that impacted them the most. We will be sharing their stories with you throughout the coming weeks. You can learn more about the employees who contributed these stories by reading the employee introductions. First up will be reflections by the Coastal and Midlands offices. They will be sharing their stories on Friday.

As always, we would love to hear from you! What were some of your favorite events and memories from 2012? What did you achieve that you're proud of? Take a moment to brag on yourself!