Loving and Celebrating Our Clients

Although Northern Virginia is among the wealthiest regions of the country, thousands of poor and vulnerable people struggle to survive in our communities. They turn to Catholic Charities daily to help them secure the necessities of life.

Recently, at two ministries, we celebrated clients, offering them “a little something special.”

As 350 refugee students, mostly from Afghanistan, successfully completed their academic year as part of the Virginia Refugee Student Achievement Program, Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services honored them at two festive events.

The first, held at the Fredericksburg Nationals baseball park, featured a balloon artist, face painter, magician/entertainer, and a DJ who had all the kids up and dancing.

The second, held at Our Lady of Lourdes in Arlington, offering facepainting, games and free photo sessions for families.

Of these students being celebrated, high school graduates received the gift of laptops for the next stage of their academic career. 

Event organizer Kathleen Renfroe said that refugee parents were profoundly affected as they watched their children laughing, dancing, and engaging with others once again. The effects of escaping the violence and atrocities of war in their homeland over the last few years have taken a toll on their young lives.

One mom confided that her family’s exodus from Afghanistan had been traumatic. Traveling 7,500 miles to America, struggling to learn a new language, finding a home, new jobs, and adjusting to new schools was overwhelming. At times she wondered if resettling in the United States was a mistake.

But then, after the celebration…

“This mom said she had not seen her daughters laughing and dancing in a long time. She knew that in Afghanistan their future would be nothing. Being at the banquet helped her realize that although she misses her country, her daughters will have a future. It was worth the sacrifice,” Renfroe said. “I was really moved by that. It makes all we do so worth it.”

Meanwhile, at the Woodbridge office of Catholic Charities Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinics, staff threw a Patient Appreciation Day for patients and their families. Many of these are Spanish-speaking newcomers to this country.

Some 600 people showed up!

Staff, aided by friends and parishioners from St. Agnes, Our Lady of Angels, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, provided services and activities that many people take for granted. Free haircuts, manicures, makeup services, professional photography and blood pressure checks were offered. Cake walks, face painting, a bounce house for the kids and burgers on the grill added to the fun.

“Thank you for organizing this special event just for us,” said a patient named Edith. “You have no idea what this means to me. You genuinely care for our well-being.”

“Our parishes and volunteers helped us share God’s love and consolation with so many people in our community,” said Catholic Charities President and CEO Stephen Carattini. “I’m so grateful.”

How You Can Help

You can help to support those in need through the Diocese. Your gift to Catholic Charities will help provide the following services, among others:

Food Assistance

Free Medical Services

Mental Health Counseling

Computer and Job Training

Legal Immigration Services

English, G.E.D., and Citizenship Classes

Emergency Assistance with Rent and Utilities

Support Those in Need by Making a Gift
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington | ccda.net
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