COLORADO SPRINGS. Five short years ago, Catholic Charities of Central Colorado began providing basic emergency services from a single small office at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Castle Rock, helping a handful of people each week. From this humble beginning, yet with a strong vision of what the office could become, the Castle Rock office has grown substantially and today is doing much more than providing emergency services.
An effective way to illustrate how Catholic Charities is responding to the needs of the Northern Deanery is the story of the Good Samaritan.
When the Good Samaritan came upon the man lying in the road, he felt compassion, and bandaged up his wounds.
“We are finding an increasing number of neighbors ‘lying in the road,’ seeking help with things most of us take for granted, like putting food on the table, gasoline in the tank, taking care of our children’s needs, furnishing our homes, and having a roof over our heads,” said Kathy Bullen, Community Case Manager in Castle Rock.
During the first year of operation, the office delivered emergency and essential services to about 150 unique households. Five years later, that number has more than quadrupled to over 600 families. Many of these families come back multiple times for a variety of services, so you might say Catholic Charities will actually apply a few thousand bandages this year. Even more families will benefit from various outreach programs — getting help for school supplies, winter coats, Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas gifts.
But responding to people in crisis is just the first part, and in many ways the easiest part, of what the Good Samaritan story compels us to do.
The second part of the Good Samaritan story raises the bar. Jesus tells us the Good Samaritan moved the man off the road and brought him to an inn, getting the injured man out of harm’s way and helping him avoid further injury. Getting people get off the road and out of harm’s way is what Catholic Charities calls building resiliency — helping a client improve their situation and avoid the next crisis.
The Castle Rock office does this today through several programs, including individual and family counseling, English as a Second Language classes, family immigration services and client case management. Approximately 150 families are participating in these programs today, working hard alongside Catholic Charities staff and volunteers to make meaningful and measurable changes in their level of resiliency.
The final element of the Gospel story is when the Good Samaritan makes arrangements with the innkeeper to provide and pay for longer-term care of the injured man. This part of the story provides the greatest challenge — helping a client achieve self-sufficiency.
Through a partnership with other “innkeepers” in the community, Catholic Charities staff works with families and individuals to make progress on their specific goals, helping them move from a state of crisis and vulnerability, to stability, safety and — ultimately for some — self-sufficiency. This is a relatively expensive process in terms of both time and money, but it has proven to yield very strong results, with 86 percent of the clients maintaining or obtaining housing, 79 percent increasing employment, and 64 percent fully achieving self-sufficiency.
Paul Narduzzo, Regional Office Director, summed up the work of the Castle Rock office this way: “Catholic Charities will always respond to those in need of emergency services, but just like the Good Samaritan, we will go beyond applying bandages. We are very proud of the work done and the success achieved by many families over the past five years, and look forward to continuing our response to Jesus’ call to help those in need in the years ahead.”
Thank you for your continued support which helped Catholic Charities of Central Colorado establish the Castle Rock office, and will continue to extend help to those suffering in the northern part of our diocese.
(Rochelle Schlorrt is chief communications officer for Catholic Charities of Central Colorado. This story is part of an ongoing monthly series appearing in the Herald throughout 2018 that highlights various aspects of Catholic Charities’ 50-year history in Colorado Springs. )