Catholic Charities on the Road Ahead Fall Employee Newsletter

While the world has changed drastically in the last few months, we have continued moving forward to provide excellent services to our neighbors in need. Leaves change, times change, but Catholic Charities continues on the road that we always have; the road ahead. Thank you to all of you who make that possible!

Socially Distant Adoption Summer Picnic

The 2020 Adoption Picnic looked a bit different than it normally does. But it was more important than ever to remind parents that they still have a support system behind them. The goal of the adoption picnic is to create an environment where parents can get to know one another, feel connected, and form support systems that will help them in the future. These support systems will answer questions, find solutions, and help parents to be able to better meet their children's needs.

Refugee and Immigration Services Garden

This summer the Wisconsin African Community Advocates took over the garden at our Milwaukee Area Office. The chance to dig in the dirt comforts those who are homesick. The chance to grow the same vegetables they grew up with helps them feel more at home in Milwaukee.

Check out our latest newsletter!

An Award Winning Season

Barbara Graham Receives AILA Pro Bono Program Award!

Barbara Graham, Director of Refugee and Immigration services has partnered with the American Immigration Lawyers Association to establish a pro bono program that is now being awarded for the excellent work they have done. Barb describes the importance of the work that Refugee and Immigration services does by saying:

"We are providing thorough, accurate, and high-quality legal immigration services to people who truly need us the most, many of whom would never be able to afford this quality of representation. We provide some of the best representation available at no fee for those who cannot afford to contribute, in a very complex and confusing immigration system even for those of us who do speak English fluently. There are so many stories of immigration applications or cases going wrong, even when people have a credible case to stay in the United States because of misinformation, poor/inadequate representation, or an inability to afford knowledgeable help. We guide people through a very complex system that often makes no sense, helping them navigate through it."

The importance of this team's work has not gone unnoticed. We are proud of Barb and her team, not just for the award but because of the people they are helping everyday and the lives that were bettered because of them.

Catholic Charities Wins Top Work Place 2020!

Catholic Charities has won a Top Work Place Award for 2020. This is Catholic Charities 5th year winning the award.

We attribute our great work environment to you, our staff, who make a difference every day and come to work with a passion for what we do that shows through in those we are able to serve. Thank you!

Lucila Angulo De Araujo Awarded Honorary Doctorate for Service to the Community

Making the journey from Peru to America, Lucy thought being a Spanish speaker would be a barrier between her and her new life. Only 10 years later, she is surprised to find that her motivation to help others and ability to speak Spanish has given her the opportunity to make a difference for people in her new community and has led to unexpected recognition. Lucy was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate and invited to deliver the 2020 commencement speech for Lakeland University, where she received her master’s degree. Lakeland University is one of the top universities in the country for advancing social mobility.

Lucy is the pioneer of our Bilingual Behavioral Health services in the Sheboygan and Fond du Lac offices. Sheboygan and surrounding communities have suffered from a lack of access to Behavioral Health Services especially for those who speak Spanish and anyone without insurance. Catholic Charities is the only agency in the area that offers bilingual behavioral health services regardless of income, the client’s ability to pay, or their access to insurance.

People come from nearby towns and counties to receive counseling services in their language that they do not have access to in their hometowns. Without the service and talent that Lucy provides, the people she helps may never have found a therapist that could communicate with them in a way that is authentic to who they are, and many people’s lives have improved because of her. Lucy is very grateful to be a part of her clients’ lives.

Lucy shares that her clients face unimaginable hardships. They often have ongoing mental health challenges, financial barriers, emotional hardships, traumatic experiences, and many face challenges with immigration, and they are trying to navigate all of this simultaneously.

“Every day is rewarding, I learn from my clients, I see them improve their lives. I see how resilient they are. I see how motivated they are. They go through traumatic experiences but they’re still here, they have not given up, and that inspires me. I learn from them.”

“We all benefit from a strong, emotionally stable community.” Lucy states, which Lakeland University has acknowledged by presenting Lucy with the award. Catholic Charities sees every day the difference that Lucy makes. We are aware of the lives that she changes and the communities that are bettered because of her, but we are glad that Lakeland University sees that too and has honored Lucy and all she has accomplished in the short 10 years she has been doing this work.

Click the link below to watch Lucy give the commencement address to Lakeland University's 2020 graduates. Lucy's speech: 5:48-21:15.

Meet our New Staff Members

Alexis Willis-Paige, Family Support Worker, MAO, August 2020 and Rianna Garza, Communications Coordinator, June 2020

Alexis is a graduate of Mount Mary University in Milwaukee. Prior to joining the Catholic Charities team, she had worked as a Treatment Foster Care Worker at Harmony Social Services. She shares that being a mother is what drew her to work in this profession. She is married and has two children, her five year- old son and four month old daughter. Her family also includes her female Pitbull. Both a fun fact and hobby of hers is that she is a licensed esthetician, and she enjoys doing eyelashes and giving body treatments. What she likes most about working at Catholic Charities is working with her supervisor, Sarah. Alexis shares: “I love the environment, everyone is so nice and welcoming.”

Rianna obtained her degree at Carthage College majoring in English with a minor in Communication. Prior to joining our team, her experience had been in business writing, marketing, athletic event planning, and retail management. She really enjoys reading, photography, and spending time with her family. A fun fact is that she is a 3rd Degree Black Belt and did Martial Arts for 15 years! She shares that what she likes best about Catholic Charities are the people, as well as getting to find, hear, and write inspiring stories about the impact we have on the community!

And Welcome our New Interns!

Victoria Ibiwoye and Jessica Mendez MSP Interns

Victoria is also pursuing her Masters of Sustainable Peacebuilding at UW-Milwaukee. Her time will be spent between the Medical College of Wisconsin and Catholic Charities RIS program with a focus on developing workshops for elementary and middle school students. Her passion has always been to serve communities that are least represented.

Jessica is pursuing her Masters of Sustainable Peacebuilding at UW-Milwaukee. She will be working in the Refugee and Immigration Service program to assist with a variety of projects including our ongoing partnership with Zablocki Elementary. Prior to coming to Catholic Charities, she volunteered with World Relief, Pan-African Association and the Rohingya Cultural Center.

Clare Schultz, Child Welfare Intern and Maria Dassow, Hoarding Therapy Intern

Clare began her time at Concordia University as an Education Major. After one year in the program, she decided it wasn’t for her. After some research, she found that Social Work was a perfect match! She looks forward to learning all she can about Adoption and Pregnancy Support.

Maria is going into her final year of the Master’s of Social Work Program at UW-Madison. Coming into this internship experience, she is excited to engage with different types of individuals and diagnoses than she has worked with. She loves to help individuals and working together as a team to make an impact in her community.

Elizabeth Elkins, Hoarding Intervention Intern and Kaitlyn Larsen, Behavioral Health Intern

Elizabeth attends Carroll University in Waukesha and is currently pursuing her Bachelors in Psychology. The Hoarding Intervention program drew her attention because “it is very unique and provides service for people who may not have very many treatment options”. After graduation, she hopes to pursue her master’s degree in counseling or School Psychology.

In May 2021, Kaitlyn will hold her Master’s in Professional Counseling from Lakeland University-Sheboygan. Her passion is Mental health and advocacy. She looks forward to her time at Catholic Charities to continue to grow as a person and strengthen her passion of helping those who are in need.




Created with images by Patrick Tomasso - "Autumn road" • Chad Madden - "untitled image" • Pro Church Media - "Thankful" • Anthony Lee - "untitled image"