Can you believe it's already the start of June? Time flies when you're having fun, am I right? Continue reading for updates and testimonies and take a moment to catch up with all the happenings in Catholic Charities!
Also, this marks a full year of sending out the employee newsletter! We would greatly appreciate it if you would fill out the survey at the bottom to help us prepare for the coming year and keep making great content that you enjoy!
The following are reflections from Annette Jankowski, Director of Adult Day Services
A Bittersweet Retirement
After 17 ½ years , Lestine decided to begin the next chapter in her life- retirement. I took this news with bittersweet emotion, as I have had the pleasure of having her on my team for almost 10 years. Lestine has been instrumental in her care and compassion serving our older adults at the center. On March 28th, we held a small gathering for Lestine and presented her with a beautiful teardrop plaque as a thank you for her years of service. In my 10 years, I can count on one hand how many days Lestine missed work due to illness. Her work ethics were amazing! She really loved being a CNA and it showed. So many members and their families developed a great relationship with her over the years. In time, Lestine said she would like to come back as a volunteer. I joked with her that she’d have to sit on her hands so she wouldn’t jump up and start working- that’s just how Lestine is. She has stopped in to say hi a few times and she looks refreshed- enjoying her retirement J We do miss her alot but we are also very happy for her.
A Volunteer's Special Donation
Mary B. has been volunteering with us for years! Twice a month she comes and says a prayer service for our members. She has really developed a great relationship with so many of our members. She describes us as a big family. One day Mary came to me and told me she (and her husband) wanted to give back and do something for the center and asked what we could use. After giving it some thought, I told her our floors were really looking worn down and could use a makeover (they were the original floors when the building was built in 1996). Mary and her husband generously donated $22,000 for the entire center to be renovated. Mary is an amazing person who we are blessed to have as a volunteer and her generosity just touched us in an amazing way. The floors look fantastic!
The Language of Art
Mary, an ADC member, was connected this past semester with Natalie, a volunteer and a student at Mount Mary University pursuing a degree in Occupational Therapy with a minor in Art Therapy. They began to explore art as a way to communicate (Mary has aphasia due to a stroke she suffered years ago). Natalie and Mary spent 1 day a week this past semester working on creative expression. The end result was an amazing display of color, style and even self-portraits. The pictures below are from Mount Mary University's art exhibit earlier this month. When Mary first started attending ADC in Feb. 2017, she would spend much of her day writing. Now Mary is always creating beautiful pieces of artwork thanks to her time with Natalie. The practices and skills Natalie implemented have really helped Mary channel her energy in a positive manner. Volunteers like Natalie have really made an impact with our members and we will continue to building new experiences every day!
Over the last year and a half, Catholic Charities’ Volunteer program has expanded to offer a variety of Volunteer Opportunities within Migrant and Refugee Services and the Adult Day Center. We have also supported internships in Behavioral Health, Pregnancy Support and Adoption and Advancement.
As of May 2018, Catholic Charities currently has 81 volunteers and 3,157.21 hours YTD. This puts us on track to meet, if not, surpass our 2017 hours.
New relationships have been created with St. Francis de Sales Seminary, UW- Milwaukee Services Learners and Cardinal Stritch Franciscan Service Scholars, to name a few.
This May, we finished up with our first semester of Service Learners from UW-Milwaukee at our Adult Day Center. When asked what the highlight of your service learning experience, one student said, “I really liked the coffee/social time we had with them in the mornings. This was when I had the most meaningful conversations and got to know them better.”
“Thank you for allowing me to volunteer at the Adult Day Center. I really enjoyed my time there getting to know the staff, other volunteers and especially the elders. It was not what I expected it to be when I first walked inside. The staff are wonderful, they are all very kind and always there to answer any questions. It was an honor to have met all the elders there. They all have a great sense of humor for their age. I enjoyed talking to each one of them because they never fail to bring a smile to my face. I either hear something funny coming out of them or hear them telling me stories about their old days. Every time I walk in there, there was always something new. Again, thank you so much for allowing me to help. This experience has opened my eyes and brain because I have never done anything like it before; it is one of a kind!” - Chia Thao, UWM Service Learner
Through June 19 - 21st, Catholic Charities will be partnering with Just5days to clean up the garden space next to the Adult Day Center. Just5Days is a week-long mission experience of hands-on service work created especially for middle school youth and their adult leaders from Catholic parishes and schools to learn about their faith while participating in service work.
For the summer, we welcome five new interns that will be working in our LSI office, along with Auri, our new Behavioral Health intern, who will be working at our MAO office!