CATHOLIC CHARITIES 2020 Spring newsletter

Hi everyone! We know that this has been a bit of a turbulent time, in both our professional and personal lives. We have some heartwarming updates to share with you regarding the work we have been doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Our Program Directors and staff have created an internal resource guide for the Catholic Charities agency to utilize. We have been curating resources throughout southeast Wisconsin to inform our staff of the changes happening in the communities we serve. This resource is intended for our staff to use, and is not a public resource. If you have any updates or additions, please email Sue Howland at showland@ccmke.org. Please click here to see the Catholic Charities Resource Guide.


As information was being released about the COVID-19 crisis, the Catholic Charities Leadership Team began to assess the immediate, emerging, and hidden needs that our communities would be facing. One of the needs that was seen was the isolation of the high-risk communities: the elderly and the immunocompromised. A Senior Hotline was created to provide support to isolated seniors and adults with disabilities.

Seniors in need began calling immediately. The Catholic Charities' Outreach team quickly realized the need to have ready access to non-perishable food items. With several food pantries in the area having limited hours of operation and being stretched by the community need, the team found themselves improvising to deliver emergency provisions. To best serve the needs of the community, Catholic Charities is hosting a food drive at the Adult Day Center to create an emergency food resource.

The community's response has been immediate and overwhelming in the best way. Here are some photos of the Adult Day Center currently:

Catholic Charities' Food Drive at the Adult Day Center
Audrey and Louis, some of the first recipients of our COVID-19 Response efforts!


One of the recipients of our COVID-19 services is Pauline, who was in dire need of supplies and was unable to leave her home. Our staff delivered some essentials to her, and we received this letter from her shortly after.

This has been a challenging time, physically and emotionally for many, our staff included. We hope this letter of thanks shows that our work is not going unseen and unappreciated. Everyday that we come into our offices and provide our services, we offer help and hope to those who need it most.


Sarah Matson, Director of the Supported Parenting program, has been continuing to provide services to her families the best way she can, through phone conversations and some in-home visits. Last week, Sarah had to find a way to provide support to one of her clients whose father passed away suddenly.

Yesterday was a crazy day, but it's what I felt I was meant to do. Everyone is coming together and working to make sure that everything is better for this mom and kiddo. It's important to make sure that this mother feels supported and that her child isn't the only person that she feels she can interact with as she's processing her feelings. We're trying to keep things as level as possible while still providing resources that they need.

Thank you Sarah and our staff who are continuing to provide our regular services during this pandemic. We know that it isn't easy, but you are all resourceful, creative, and dedicated to serving your clients. We are very lucky to have you on our team!


Refugee and Immigration Services

The Refugee and Immigration Services team has been hard at work creating online resources and videos sharing up-to-date information that is vital for the immigration population during this time. The RIS Facebook page has also been chosen to act as the central information system for the Coalition for Access to Legal Resources (CALR), a group of legal providers in the Milwaukee area committed to improving access to legal resources for low-income people. The facebook page acts as a resource center for specifically the Milwaukee area, but can also be utilized by anyone in the state of Wisconsin.

The Refugee Integration team has also been busy! They have been working diligently to transition their program online for tutoring and citizenship classes. This has opened the door to many new, skilled volunteers who are interested in working with refugees. As our team moves forward, it's nice to know that there are many people who share in our mission of helping our neighbors.

Child Welfare Services

During this time, we have begun creating informational videos to share with the public. Check out Erika and Leta from the Child Welfare team do their thing!


A note from Nate: the Open Enrollment period for benefits will begin next week (Monday April 27th), so be on the look out for an email from HR later this week with more information.

New Hires:

Taylor Bufton | Behavioral Health Professional | SAO | February 2020

Taylor graduated from Marian University double majoring in Social Work and Psychology. She is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work at UW-Madison. Before joining our team as a Behavioral Health Professional, Taylor was a Behavioral Health intern at our Sheboygan office.

Joseph Ciardo | In Home Case Manager | MAO | March 2020

Joe first joined Catholic Charities as an intern for our Outreach program. He is currently pursuing his Human Services degree at Waukesha County Technical College. A bit about Joe: his immediate family consists of his mother, father and sister, Jessica. He also has a guinea pig named Zero and a dog named Simon, who Joe shares is the greatest ever. He adds: “In my free time I like to hang out with my buddies and hopefully stay out of trouble, and so far I think Catholic Charities is an amazing place. I am surrounded by amazing people who have and are teaching me so much. I really enjoy this because I have a passion for helping people and putting a smile on the face of every single person I meet.”

Ashley Cooper | Family Support Worker | MAO | January 2020

Ashley holds her BA in Psychology which she obtained at Indiana Tech. Before joining the team here at Catholic Charities, Ashley worked as a Child Welfare Case Manager at Saint A’s. Prior to that she had also worked at organizations providing services to youth where she provided crisis intervention and advocacy.

Tedricka Frazier | Outreach Case Manager | MAO | March 2020

Tedricka is a graduate of Mount Mary University where she earned her degree in Social Work. She is the first person in her family to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree, and Fall 2020 she will begin her Master’s degree program at UWM. Outside of work and school, her hobbies are spending time with her lovely family, dancing, working out, and being silly.

When asked what drew her to work in this profession, Tedricka shares: “I lost my father at 17 years old, and my high school social worker helped me through the grieving process. Growing up with a single mother had its challenges, and I knew my life experiences could change others’ lives around me by showing them there is a way out of each life struggle. So, that’s why I’m here today.”

Tedricka likes working at Catholic Charities because she has an opportunity to help people during different crises. She also says: “No day is the same at Catholic Charities. Also, I love working with the wonderful people at the MAO office. We are a team.”

Tasha Isaac-Brown | Office Assistant | MAO | March 2020

Tasha had served as Operations Manager at Hayat Pharmacy for several years. She is a proud mother of her 12 year old daughter Asia, and son, Breyon, who will be 14 in August. Tasha shares some fun facts about herself: “I love to sing, dance, and cook. I have been playing the clarinet since I was in 6th grade (I’m now 33). I love my church family and being in the world’s greatest choir. I’m a comedian in real life. I will have you crying laughing, not even trying.”

When asked what she likes about Catholic Charities her response is: “I absolutely love the family atmosphere. Everyone is so nice, always willing to lend a helping hand. I had lost my mom shortly after starting here. The support that I received from here…I can’t even put into words how grateful I am for it. Keep up the great work ladies and gentleman!”

Erika McDade | Pregnancy Support Coordinator | MAO | March 2020

Erika obtained her BA in Sociology at UW-Parkside. Before joining the CC team, she had worked with Nia Imani Family Inc. Erika shares that her interest in helping pregnant women began through her own life experiences, and that the position within Catholic Charities interested her because of the genuine love to help the community as well as care for their employees.

Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her children and puppy, encouraging other woman to look and feel their best by selling Avon, baking and cooking, reading, and her interests in make-up and fashion. She is very family oriented and enjoys quality time spent with her parents and siblings.

What she loves about working for Catholic Charities is being able to actively help her clients find resources in the community. Erika says: “I love being a part of the process and watching them grow. I’m grateful for a wonderful boss like Jenn and a great work atmosphere. I get excited to come in to work alongside of other people who are passionate about the same things as me.”

Courtney Messplay | Hoarding Interventionist | MAO | March 2020

Courtney obtained her degree at UW-Oshkosh majoring in Human Services Leadership. She also minored in Social Justice with an Emphasis in Prejudice and Discrimination. Throughout her Undergrad, her internship experiences included interning for the Veterans Resource Center and the Winnebago County Veterans Services. Within her internship experiences she created promotional brochures and facilitated “Veterans Week” and provided Case Management to veterans on their day-to-day lives. Prior to joining CC, she had worked at Rogers Behavioral Health as a Residential Care Specialist. When asked what attracted her to Catholic Charities, Courtney expresses that she believed in the mission and all the great things she had heard from people who have been through one of the programs.

Yissel Sanchez | Behavioral Health Professional | MAO | March 2020

Yissel obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Alverno College. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Community Psychology. Yissel first joined CC as an intern within our Behavioral Health program. She states that she was inspired ever since she was a little girl in helping those in need through the acts of kindness of her parents. She states that she wants to improve the quality of life of families, teens and children. She shares: “My life purpose is having a positive impact on those around me, both personally and professionally.” Yissel enjoys practicing self-care through journaling and running.

Jay Sugar | Parish Relations Coordinator | CAO | January 2020

Prior to joining Catholic Charities Jay held numerous Senior Executive positions at firms across Southeastern Wisconsin. Outside of these roles, Jay had served as Co-Chair of the Haiti Food Pack at Holy Apostles. He is also the founder of the La Sagrada Familia Micro Loan Program. Working with Father Juan of La Sagrada Familia, Jay provided funds that were loaned to multiple Dominican and Haitian families that did not have access to financial services.

Sheryleta Yarbrough | Pregnancy Support Case Manager | MAO | February 2020

Leta holds her Bachelor’s in Social Work which she obtained from Upper Iowa University. Leta’s journey began here at Catholic Charities in the Social Work profession because of her passion to break cycles or stop the domino effect of negative learned behavior, and turning it into positive attributes. She also shares: “I have been a foster parent for 10 years. In those 10 years I have seen an implausible amount of resilience. With that being said, I know that change can occur when preceded with faith, understanding, and the courage to bring about something new. My passion for child welfare drives me to work diligently and open hearted at making a difference wherever God leads me.”

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” -Proverbs 11:25


For anyone that did not see this on our social media channels, we wanted to share this special message of thanks with you:

We want to take this time to thank our staff here at Catholic Charities for continuing to provide quality services these past few weeks. Our staff has gone above and beyond in providing new ideas and support to our community members during the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate all that they do and thank them for continuing to provide essential social services!

We cannot do this work without you, so thank you. Together, we will come out stronger!

Created By
Sarah Werner