Will you help more of your neighbors with the gift of hope?

Love Is the Good News
We have all been rocked by the tragedies that have unfolded in our community and in the nation. One of our programs, funded by a federal grant from the Department of Justice, provides counseling for survivors of crime. Killy Bins, Sr., is just one of our neighbors who has found joy out of the pain of grief and loss. His precious daughter Taylor was murdered in a senseless crime. But her spirit lives on now through her daughter Charli, who is now being raised by her doting grandfather and extended family members. They found love, hope, and healing with the help of our specialty counseling programs designed especially for families experiencing shocking losses.

Highlighting Our Foreign-Born Staffers
One of the highlights of our fun Festival of Hope in April was to shine a light on our many staff members—nearly a third of our 150—who were born in another country. Some of those were actual clients served by this Catholic Charities. They found the best way to give back was to bring their talents and skills to serve others who also were granted admission to the United States and placed in Tennessee.
One staff member, Celestin Ndagije, a refugee benefits eligibility specialist, is a native of Rwanda. He worked his way through Tennessee State University’s computer science program as a certified nursing assistant, and is fluent in English, French, Kinyarwanda, and Swahili. The photo shows many of the staff who were presented at the fundraiser in April. We are also fortunate to bring onto staff a former Ukrainian client, Valeriia Cherednychenko, who is now working with our current caseload of 47 Ukrainians. Amazon wish list here

Household Items Needed
Want to really love your neighbor? Gift them with brand new items for their home. Here’s a list of items that we are running low on: Twin bed sheets, twin comforters, lamps, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, big trash bins, small trash bins, brooms/dustpans, mops, dining room chairs, dining tables, couches, and pillows. All items are listed on our Amazon wish list here

New Hires In Brief
• Paola Beltran joined the staff as communications coordinator. Paola holds a Master’s in Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a native of Bogota, Colombia, and earned a Bachelor’s in Communications from the Universidad Externado de Colombia in 2017. Paola says to remind all of our readers to like us on social media. For Facebook click here / For Instagram click here
• Deanna Webster is our new clinical services director. She has 25 years’ experience in a variety of clinical settings, serving youth, older adults, and many others. She also has college-level teaching experience in the field. Deanna holds LSW, LMFT-T, and PhD credentials. A hallmark of her career has been program development and cultivating community partnerships. Dr. Webster recently relocated to Clarksville from Wichita, but has long deep roots in Ohio.

Please Help Us Raise $250,000
As we work toward our last push for fiscal year-end fundraising, we find that our reputation for excellent service is bringing many more of our neighbors to our doors. Despite a strong labor market, not everyone’s pay has kept pace with their rising expenses. In the last weeks of June, we expect to serve more than 500. To do our best work we need to assist with electric bills, rent and mortgage payments, food, scholarships for counseling and for job training. Please consider a gift of $1,000, or whatever you are able to give, before June 30.

P.S. We are looking for great volunteers and interns! If you know someone looking to make a difference and enjoy amazing work in a vibrant and diverse environment, look no further. Come join us in our mission to bring more love, hope, and healing!

Catholic Charities News – March 2023

From Judy K. Orr, Executive Director

Festival of Hope April 18 at Catholic Charities Headquarters
I am thrilled to announce that our annual fundraiser, Festival of Hope, will take place at our “home” at the Catholic Pastoral Center. The event returns to a breakfast event, following our successful 60th Anniversary celebration last year, El Festival de Esperanza. We have incorporated a lively upbeat Latin feel to our event, in homage to our very first program, working with Cuban children in need of temporary Nashville homes. Who says breakfast isn’t a festive occasion? We are going to celebrate hope, because that is the best thing that you can give to anyone.

To reserve your seat please go to the Festival website. There is no charge for attending, but we hope you will be generous with your support. All proceeds will help provide critical Catholic Charities services that serve 25,000 Middle Tennessee neighbors annually. Thank you to First Horizon for their commitment as Presenting Sponsor. Sponsorships are still available through March 24. More information is at the Festival of Hope website.

Rhori Johnston, WTVF News Channel 5 anchor, will be the master of ceremonies. And you will meet a recipient of our services, a young mother, joined by her husband and two little boys, who will share a moving first-hand account about the transformative effect our counselors had in helping her young son recover from a traumatic event. You couldn’t find a better example of the power of love, hope, and healing.

We are counting on a big turnout when we welcome you to our offices at Briley Parkway and McGavock Pike, in the beautifully remodeled Ascension Hall. If you haven’t had a chance to see the Catholic Pastoral Center, this is a great opportunity. Our program managers will be on hand to answer your questions, and an information table for volunteers will also be a part of our event.

Celebrating Reunification of Families – Film Screening
We had a wonderful turnout at our March 2 fundraiser at the historic Belcourt Theatre, when we viewed our When Pedro Pan Came to Nashville documentary on the BIG screen. Several “stars” of the film—our former child clients who came from Cuba in 1962, and their host families—were in attendance. A stimulating panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Jose Gonzalez. Participants were Dr. Karla McKanders, Dr. Mariano Sana, and Mohamed-Shruki Hassen, all highly respected experts on immigration and the pressing need for family reunification, which is achieved through federally approved refugee and immigration programs. We were delighted to welcome a wide swath of Nashvillians from government, the general public, the academic community, and other nonprofits. Three of our panelists are themselves New Americans. The panel discussion and documentary are available for viewing on our website.

Volunteer Appreciation Celebration
We are incredibly happy with the growing number of volunteers who help at all our locations. To honor their invaluable contributions, on Feb. 24 we revived a long-ago tradition—Volunteer Appreciation Night—the first one in 20 years. Dozens of volunteers from Loaves & Fishes, mentoring, and other programs came together for fellowship, a delicious Mediterranean meal, and a celebration of their achievements in 2022. Four awards were given to stand-out volunteers: Becky Bowman, Martha Custard, Tracy Doering, and Mary Pollman. Working alongside such caring and giving folks is an inspiration and a blessing for all of us.

Daffodils Prove That Hope Springs Eternal
Last fall, dozens of HCA volunteers lovingly cleared overgrown flower beds, then planted 1,000 daffodil bulbs and spread mounds of mulch. Lo and behold, our drab little courtyard is now bursting with life and filling passersby with joy. Thanks to all who helped us start what will be a wonderful annual tradition of fall planting. We hope more gardening volunteers will raise their hands to plant early summer blooms, to keep the courtyard a year-round place to meditate on the beauty of God’s creations.

News In Brief
• Heather Mencke has been named director of our resettlement program. The department has been newly renamed the New Americans Program. Heather most recently was Basic Needs and Disaster Management Director. Kate Pooler takes over Heather’s previous role, as Basic Needs Program Manager.
• The Love, Hope, and Healing Fund has launched to encourage sustaining annual gifts for programs serving those most in need. Many of you have been faithful donors to our past Lenten appeals. This year those donors received a letter to announce the new fund. You can provide Lenten support at the fund’s website. Thank you to all who support us with annual gifts.
• Sewing Training Academy has launched a social enterprise component, and we now can provide jobs for our graduates, fulfilling production contracts for various merchandise, including dog-walking bags.