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His and Hers: The tale of two perspectives

By Allison and Jamie

Allison*

I feel that it is appropriate to acknowledge all that Catholic Charities has done in the past two years through the Monsignor Carr counseling services provided to us. Even though we recently ended counseling, our social worker’s advice, guidance and moral support will continue to mend us together in ways that we both never thought was possible.

I, too, was unsure and not confident that our marriage would continue.

However, the hard work of assessing ourselves gave us the confidence we needed to acknowledge our problems, openly explain our own perspective, and listen to the other’s perspective.

This was a game-changer for me and our counselor earned my respect.

I appreciated our counselor letting me speak when it was my turn, and following up with intelligent advice that continued the conversation. What I enjoyed best about counseling was the hints - visual gestures - that guided me in the way I could respond with confidence, rather than backing down.

Our counselor was exactly what we needed to work on our marriage. The calm, non-partial approach was what we really needed.

It is obvious that the professionalism and moral character defines Catholic Charities’ social workers. I personally want to thank Catholic Charities for everything it has done. I am no longer scared of what lies ahead because I know that we both agree that through the encouragement, help, advice, and tools we were given have given, we will be able to work through new and old problems instead of ignoring them. Thank you.

Jamie*

We want to thank Catholic Charities for counseling us for the past two years and to let the agency know that our counselor’s objectivity, insight and support truly helped us in our marriage. Through the education given to us, and how our emotions were managed simultaneously, our counselor helped us grow together when I didn’t think anything could save the situation we were in.

On our first day of counseling, we received reassurance that this was the place that we could come to heal. It was l was exactly what I needed to hear. I also appreciated above all how patient our counselor was with me all the times I was defensive, angry, silent and irritable. I am astounded at the patience and professionalism shown to me - really, I am.

The topics that were most important to us – not our counselor’s own agenda – were followed and helped us both explore our situation.  

I also want to note that the entire feel of Catholic Charities was very welcoming to us. Everyone that we encountered at the agency was professional, friendly and kind. We are also very grateful that we could work on the sliding pay scale when we didn’t have insurance. We will always donate to Catholic Charities.

I am a much happier person because of what I have worked through. Thank you.

*The names of this client couple have been changed to protect their privacy.

In Her Own Words: Catholic Charities helped me find hope

By Marybeth

Five years ago, I found myself in a dark place in life. People around me were suffering, struggling to overcome life’s adversities, some struggling so much that death was the final answer. Each day became riddled with anxiety/depression, panic attacks and a sense of losing control. It wasn’t so much the trauma of losing those friends and loved ones, but rather the fact that I didn’t have any support when I returned home at the end of the day. I realized then that I had hit my breaking point.

That was when I reached out to Catholic Charities. From the moment I heard my counselor’s kind, sweet voice over the phone for the first time, I immediately knew that I was taking the necessary steps to begin my journey toward healing.

My counselor has made it incredibly easy to open up and work through my traumas by providing me with the coping skills needed to combat my anxiety. By helping me regulate my emotional responses, I have learned how to best respond to situations accordingly. I’ve even shared these skills with my daughter, who can also be a bit anxious at times. So not only have my counselors helped me directly, they’re also helping me to become a better mom.

To this day, it is comforting to know that I can contact my counselor and work through day-to-day decisions that some may not think twice about. I can call at any time to ask, “Can you fit me in? I’m having a really rough week,” and they always do their best to accommodate me.

Catholic Charities has been truly instrumental in my life, and I really would not be where I am today without them.

 

 

Nowhere To Go, But Up

Roger is a single father who lost his job, the home he shared with his two children, and the majority of their belongings through a string of bad luck.  

Roger had had a good job and was able to take good care of his two children. He provided a home, their basic needs and the toys and games all kids like to have. When the company for which he worked moved out of state, he lost his job and his downward spiral began.

He felt bad when he lost his job. He felt even worse when he and his children got evicted because he couldn’t pay the rent. He hit an all-time low when most of the family’s belongings and clothing got thrown out before he had a chance to return and pack them himself. 

“I felt terrible knowing that my kids used to have enough food, a place to live and good things that kids want,” Roger said. “I felt even worse knowing I could no longer give them those things.”

He was ashamed of not being able to take care of his family but knew he couldn't let his pride stand in the way. He sought help from Catholic Charities in Dunkirk and was able to get assistance with the immediate needs of food and medicine.   

Roger was able to move his family to the South Buffalo home of his mother and learned about the Bishop Edward U. Kmiec Food Pantry and Outreach from his friend, a volunteer there. When he learned the food pantry also had some donated clothing items available for people in need, he went to see if there were items for his boys. 

He received food and some clothing for his children and himself. Staff at the pantry connected him with the Ladies of Charity which provided school clothes for one child and diapers for the other. The Ladies of Charity also gave him a Fresh Start kit and a microwave.  

“The staff and volunteers always made me feel welcomed,” Roger said. “They’re all nice and I never had any problems.”  

Roger’s luck has begun to change because of the assistance he was given and through the new job he got at a nearby hospital. He’s beginning to feel as though stability and independence are within his reach.  And, for the first time in a long time, he’s happy and hopeful.

“I want to thank Catholic Charities, the volunteers and donors for everything,” he said. “I just thank them because they helped me and my kids to stay a family!”  

 

 

Achieving His Goals, One Step at a Time

Home is Where They Found Help

Karen* and her husband John* returned to the Buffalo area because John had family here and they  hoped to receive some help. With Karen pregnant and unable to get the help they needed from John's family, they soon found themselves living in a hotel.

 

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