December 2018 Newsletter
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And just like that, another year is coming to a close! The days seem to go so fast that we rarely take time to stop, step back and reflect. When we allow this time of reflection, we are overcome by the blessings that are right in our midst, every day. We are so humbled and recognize that not one blessing comes through us without your support, your prayers, your service.

Every person who comes through our doors is on a journey. They are on a journey home. A journey to a job.  A journey to citizenship. A journey to well-being and stability. You are on that journey with them. The success of each child, individual or family is tied to the support you provide to Catholic Charities. Thank you for being a pillar of strength and hope for the most poor and vulnerable. 

Because of you, this past year, Catholic Charities served 13,980 individuals across 30 counties of Northeast Iowa. In this newsletter and in our Catholic Charities' 2018 Annual Report, you will find just a few of the journeys you have been a part of throughout the year. 

From all of us at Catholic Charities, we wish you the peace and hope of Christ's birth be with you in this holiday season.

For more information about Catholic Charities' please visit our website.
God Bless,

Tracy Morrison, Executive Director
Healing Broken Places - Words from a  Counseling Client

"It was finally time to give my children and myself a chance to start over.  Having divorced their abusive father, I found myself struggling with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and a household of children who'd been through a veritable war zone, the most contentious and traumatic divorce imaginable.  The abuse didn't stop when the marriage ended.  But it was over now.
Shortly after getting settled, it became clear that a couple of my kids needed therapy.  My son's school, aware of my limited financial resources, referred us to Catholic Charities' counseling services.  Once I got the kids' needs addressed, I was finally able to begin to address my own.  It took a long time to establish rapport and the trust needed to open the painful wounds I had sustained.  Slowly, when I was ready, we began to identify patterns of behavior that weren't healthy.  With my therapist's help, I gained the emotional health needed to handle situations better.  Slowly, my therapist and I are also working through my various triggers, reprocessing them and allowing God to heal some deeply broken places in my heart.
Recently, I experienced a situation where I immediately reverted to being the shattered woman who'd once been endlessly berated.  Using the tools I've learned in therapy, I was able to start to pull myself out of the distraught state I had fallen into.  That afternoon I was able to see my therapist.  Rather than needing help to stop panicking and pull my emotions back into order, I was able to ask for and receive new ideas about how to handle the situation.  I'm no longer full of fear, no longer pre-occupied with the situation, and no longer willing to walk into a situation without a clear agenda. I now feel that I have healthy and helpful options and I am able to work on other tasks, be a good mom, and be at peace, while working for resolution of the various situations life presents.
When I visit the Catholic Charities office, I am warmly welcomed every time.  I feel respected.  With my therapist's help, I am re-learning to respect myself and to navigate life in a healthier way.  I'm so grateful for Catholic Charities!"
"Mil Gracias" (A Thousand Thanks)
Pictured left to right is: Ry Meyer (Immigration Attorney), Claudia Rodriguez De Nunez (Immigration Legal Assistant), Maria (Catholic Charities' Client)

Maria had just finished sixth grade when she found out that in order to continue receiving an education, she would also have to begin working. The situation at home was already bleak; Maria and the rest of her family found themselves without the most basic needs such as food and everyday essentials. Her family did their best by working long days, but even then, all they could afford was a small room for the entire family. Motivated by a desire to learn, and driven by hunger, Maria left her family and her home in Guatemala, and set off on an arduous journey, hoping to find refuge in the United States.

Finally, after over a month of traveling and finding shelters where she could eat and sleep, Maria made it to the land where she had heard dreams come true. After being reunited with her sister in Dubuque, Maria was able to fulfill her dream of receiving an education at Hempstead High School. Maria feels empowered to graduate next year and to continue on to college to pursue a career as an immigration attorney.

Despite what one may hear or read in the news, especially with media prominently covering the "caravan," Maria's story is representative of many, if not the majority, of immigrants seeking safety in the United States of America. Legally, immigrants have a right to seek protection in the United States by applying for asylum or other remedies for which they may qualify. Catholic social teaching guides us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to give to those less fortunate. As a social service organization whose call is to provide help and create hope for the most vulnerable populations, Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services is dedicated to providing professional legal services to immigrants in the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

"I am so thankful, because without the help of my Catholic Charities attorney, I would have not been able to obtain any status here in the U.S. Although my circumstances have greatly improved, I still would not be able to afford my own private attorney. Mil Gracias (a thousand thanks)," stated Maria.
Partnering for the Environment

Congratulations to Catholic Charities Ecumenical Tower residents and staff for becoming a certified partner with The Petal Project. The Petal Project is a regional green business certification program designed to help businesses in the Dubuque area adopt more environmentally friendly practices by reducing energy, water and natural resource use. To learn more about The Petal Project, click here.

Enjoy a Stress Free Holiday Season
by Lisa Turner, LMFT,  Mental Health Counselo r
You might be surprised to learn that stress can be a good thing. Stress is what gets our adrenaline pumping and gives us our get-up-and-go for public speaking, performance of any kind, and taking tests. Without a certain amount of stress and adrenaline, life might be pretty boring. However, there is a point at which too much stress has the opposite effect and we need a break.
The holidays should not be one of those times but all too often, it is. "Stress free" and "holiday" might seem like oxymorons to most people, but it is possible to have both. Here are some suggestions to get you thinking about how to made this season as enjoyable as possible for everyone.
For full article, click here for the Catholic Charities' Mental Health Resource page. 
Back on His Feet  

Back on Their Feet: Part One

Recently, Loras College student, Ben Friedman featured Nick Miller, a  Catholic Charities Jail & Prison Ministry program client, in his series, "Back on Their Feet."  Ben notes, "People with criminal records often face different challenges when it comes to re-entering the workforce. In Part One of a new series, Nick Miller, a local mechanic, talks about his troubled past, his uplifting recovery, the feats he has achieved, and the steps he now takes to keep moving forward."

Catholic Charities' Jail & Prison Ministry volunteers have formed a "Circle of Support" around Nick and have been working with him since September. A deserving spotlight shined on Nick who is very motivated to succeed and takes a lot of initiative to achieve his goals.
Enjoy, and share! 

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