Doesn't it feel like yesterday we were looking forward to warm and long summer days? Time is flying by this year! As fall quickly approaches, here's our most recent news to share with you all!


From left to right: Laura Martinez, Jose Eluvathingal, Laura Ramos, Marjorie Mendoza, Peggy Caceres, and Wendy Mau

At our Racine office, our staff provides bilingual Behavioral Health services and Outreach and Case Management. Jose also provides Behavioral Health services at St. Mark's Parish in Kenosha.


A screenshot of the new RIS website that will be linked to our www.ccmke.org website!

Refugee and Immigration Services is wrapping up the first phase of their website project. They feature a page for every legal process they help their clients with, for example, applying for citizenship or a green card. They have written over thirty pages so far, and have created Spanish translations for each page. With only a handful of pages left to write, the goal is to launch the site in the beginning of October. Afterwards, they will continue to optimize the functionality of the site as well as create new content to be featured on the site, such as videos and blog posts. They are excited to offer the site as a resource to their clients, as well as the larger immigrant and refugee community in the state and ideally, across the country.

Anastassia Christensen and TJ Nixon

Meet Anastassia Christensen and TJ Nixon, two Master of Sustainable Peacebuilding students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee volunteering with Catholic Charities’ Refugee and Immigration Services (RIS) program this year. Anastassia and TJ are learning skills in systems mapping, negotiation, program planning, facilitation, evaluation, conflict transformation, and more.

Anastassia joins the Catholic Charities team as a Refugee Education Initiatives Coordinator for the academic year. Before her graduate studies, she spent time in Jordan and recently completed an AmeriCorps service year with World Relief, a Wisconsin-based refugee resettlement agency. She will be working on a Newcomer Parent Education Program in partnership with a local MPS school, focused on parent-driven goals and helping families better navigate complex American systems. She will also be working on Rohingya women’s education initiatives.

TJ joins Catholic Charities as a Refugee Community Partnerships Coordinator. Prior to graduate school, TJ was working part-time as a project coordinator for African Education Foundation in Togo, West Africa, and full-time as a high school English Teacher at the American International School in the capital of the same country. He will be coordinating volunteer training and matching them with clients in our Be-Friender program. In addition, facilitating the Refugee Community Advisory Board, as well as helping coordinate some Congolese community specific projects.

Claire Reuning, Refugee Integration Specialist, will be out on maternity leave October through the end of the year. Should you have any questions or need to connect with someone regarding refugee services, please contact Anastassia Christensen at achristensen@ccmke.org.


This summer, we had our annual Adoption Picnic held at St. John the Evangelist in Greenfield. On what was probably one of the hottest days of summer, we still had families come out for some food, games, and fun times as the children got to play together! Enjoy some photos of some really cute kids!


In September, we hosted the 2019 Good Samaritan Society Celebration at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. It was a lovely evening where our Good Samaritan Society members (donors who give $1,000+ per year) were able to meet with our staff, volunteers, and two members of a family we serve in our Refugee Integration program! Thank you to all who attended and were part of this memorable night!


We have a few staff members we'd like to introduce in case you were not at our all-staff meeting on Friday, September 27th.

Amber Heller | School Based Case Manager | Dodge Co. | August 2019

Amber graduated from UW-Oshkosh with degrees in Social Work and Sociology. She had interned and then worked for Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services before joining us at Catholic Charities.

Amber is the youngest of two sisters and one brother. She loves watching HGTV & browsing Pinterest for DIY projects (that she says she never gets around to doing). Currently, her favorite quote is Maya Angelou: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” What she likes best about Catholic Charities is the flexibility that she has been given to learn and grow, as well as the ability to make her position as a school based case manager her own!

As a child she knew she always wanted to help people, whether through holding the door for someone, helping the elderly with their bags/crossing the street, or helping care for her aging grandmother. The summer before high school her grandmother passed away, and she was able to get through that summer with the help of her school counselor. She describes that over those four years he had provided guidance and kept her on the right track. She shares that as her high school counselor inspired her, she gained hope that one day she can inspire someone else.

Geoff Malone | Behavioral Health Therapist | WAO | August 2019

Geoff holds his Master’s degree in Advanced Clinical Social Work. Prior to joining us at Catholic Charities he actively interned and provided Case Management within Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Geoff considers himself a “plant geek”, loving all things growing. One of his proudest achievements was the development of a community garden to enrich the Catholic Charities of Chicago’s food pantry with locally grown, fresh produce that the clients may not have otherwise received. When Geoff is not busy helping others at work, you will find him singing and playing guitar with his Irish folk band, or hiking and camping somewhere deep in the woods. What brought Geoff to the social service profession is the accomplished feeling of “doing something good” he gets at the end of each day.

Evan McCarthy | Immigration Attorney| RIS | September 2019

Evan obtained his J.D. from The University of Iowa College of Law this past May. Throughout his time at the University of Iowa Evan was active within the university’s Immigration Clinic providing legal services and representation for applicants seeking asylum. Prior to joining Catholic Charities he was a Law Clerk at the Johnson County Attorney’s Office. Evan was sworn into the bar earlier this month.

In his spare time he likes to read and get to know Milwaukee, since he’s still new here having lived in Iowa his whole life. He was drawn to immigration law because he grew up in a community with a lot of immigrants, and he learned from them and others just how complex and unfair the immigration system is. He knew that he wanted to go to law school and he decided that he wanted to try to help people make their way through that system as best as he could. Evan shares: “I believe very deeply that immigrants add immeasurable value to our country, and that much of what they face here undermines the dignity of every human being, and I want to do whatever I can to change that and make people feel welcome and respected.”

Ninoshka Natal Diaz | Pregnancy Support Coordinator | MAO | August 2019

Ninoshka received her degrees in Social Work and Spanish from Mount Mary University this past May. Prior to Catholic Charities she worked as a Support Staff member at The Guest House, a non-profit organization that offers programs and services to homeless individuals in Milwaukee.

Ninoshka has a four year old daughter and is expecting twins. She enjoys being around her daughter who never fails to make her happy, and she strives to provide the best future for her. In her free time she likes to watch movies, but mostly enjoys helping her daughter learn more about colors, shapes, etc. She has a Chihuahua dog which has been with her since she was first pregnant and has become close to her daughter as well.

What she likes best about working for Catholic Charities is the staff she works with whom are very helpful, comprehensive, and willing to listen. She likes that they can joke around and be serious depending on the situation. Ever since she had started high school she knew that Social Work was the best fit for her. She likes helping people, listening to what they are going through, and being able to provide them with resources. She has known that for some families resources had not always been available and no one was advocating for them. She wants to make the difference for her clients, connecting them with resources available for those in need. It makes her happy when a client is able to accomplish their goal and be willing to reach any goal of theirs that they put their mind to. It makes her want to work hard to change someone’s life as she feels that sometimes what a person needs is someone who is able to listen, properly advocate, and not judge.


We are eagerly anticipating next year as we prepare to celebrate our 100 Years of Service! Our summer design intern, Kendall, designed our 100 Years of Service logo that will be implemented onto our marketing materials from now until the end of 2020. Both the vertical and horizontal versions of this logo can be found on the shared drive here:


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sarah Werner at swerner@ccmke.org.

Created By
Sarah Werner