Joy, Kindness, Patience, Self-Control, and Faithfulness – perhaps at no other time in the 65-year history of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas have we ever so intentionally lived out our agency values as we have this past year.
We experienced the joy expressed on the faces of our neighbors in need of food, clothing, housing, employment and financial assistance; the kindness demonstrated as we embraced the challenges and prioritized our work as a team; the patience endured throughout the ever-changing health guidelines and provision of services; the self-control required to reinvent the way we served with a limited volunteer workforce; and the faithfulness to one another and our supporters as we strived to serve our community in solidarity. And, perhaps above all, we witnessed the courageous faith, hope and love in action to serve our neighbors in need.
Looking back gives me nothing but hope for fiscal year 2022. The pandemic has shown us what Catholic Charities is truly capable of and our work is far from over! While I want to reiterate the successes of fiscal year 2021, my most pressing intent is to energize our supporters, share our momentum and provide a brief overview of what to expect from Catholic Charities this fiscal year.
Shalom House Expansion & Relocation!
The need to expand transitional living services for men experiencing homelessness continues to grow – especially in Kansas City, Kansas. In order to strengthen programming at our Shalom House Men’s Transitional Living Program, we have decided to permanently close the existing location. Residents have been placed into safe, stable housing and continue to receive services in support of their new living arrangements. Catholic Charities is in discussions with the Archdiocese to identify a site for the relocation of Shalom House. This relocation will offer increased programming opportunities and will increase our capacity from 25 men to 50-60 men served at one time. If you are interested in supporting this new project with time, talent or treasure, please contact us!
Workforce Development Continues to Grow St. Rita and Employment Services!
The St. Rita program has grown from six pilot participants in fiscal year 2018, to 60 participants in fiscal year 2021! This skills training program is designed to eliminate barriers and support low-income individuals and families who seek career advancing opportunities by earning certifications and degrees in the areas of skilled trades, healthcare and information technology. Our academic partnerships have expanded from Kansas City Kansas Community College to now include Donnelly College, Johnson County Community College and University of St. Mary, Leavenworth. Catholic Charities plans to grow to 80 St. Rita participants this fiscal year, and offer programming in Topeka, Lawrence and Leavenworth Family Support Centers.
Asset Development Celebrates $1 Million Milestone and Ready to Grow Cents@Work!
The Asset Development team just celebrated helping families eliminate $1 million in debt as part of its life-changing Family Financial Transformations program! Catholic Charities continues to teach this extensive, 12-month financial education curriculum to help families strengthen financial literacy, budget management and emergency savings. We are also excited to grow Cents@Work, our comprehensive benefit program offered by Catholic Charities to local community partners and businesses. Cents@Work is an on-site program that provides financial education, one-on-one coaching, and resources to support individuals with income management, budgeting, saving for emergencies, finding banking products and resources, investing for retirement, home buying, and more.
Social Enterprise Incubator – Means Business!
Catholic Charities has a history of launching new business initiatives that employ vulnerable populations, mobilize volunteers and support our financial sustainability as an organization. Launched in May of 2021, the Social Enterprise Incubator solicited 19 new business ideas for Catholic Charities to explore. Of the 19, four were chosen to develop into formal business plans with the help of Catholic Charities staff, volunteers, board members and subject matter experts from the Catholic Charities network. Stay tuned for more information regarding the progress of these new business initiatives and for ways that you can contribute to their success.
The 48th Annual Snow Ball is BACK In-Person and Virtually!
We are excited to once again host Snow Ball in person at the Overland Park Convention Center on January 15, 2022. And, this year will feature two event experiences – the in-person event we have all come to know and love and a virtual experience. The annual Snow Ball is the largest fundraising event in Kansas City, and the success remains critical to Catholic Charities’ ability to serve the vulnerable in our community. Please mark your calendars and join us wherever is most comfortable for you!
I humbly express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who served alongside us this past year, donating time, treasure, talents and most importantly, prayers. Without you, we could not have served at the capacity we did. It is only with you that we look ahead with hope about these exciting initiatives in 2022.