Spring 2021 Newsletter
Holy Cross Ministries (HCM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing health, education and justice services to families in Utah regardless of race, religion, income or any other defining characteristic. We hope you enjoy the following updates and stories about our work this spring!
Justice Programming Spotlight
In February, after a complex application process and the assistance of HCM’s legal team, Anthony* received approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to apply for permanent residency without risking separation from his family. Because his wife, Carmen*, is a U.S. citizen, HCM could help Anthony qualify for a special waiver that allows him to attend his required immigration interview at the American embassy in Mexico and immediately return to his family in the United States. Without this waiver, Anthony would risk automatically being barred from reentry for as long as ten years.

The ability to remain together has been a tremendous blessing for this tight-knit family. Carmen and Anthony first met and fell in love while attending a concert in 2003. Soon they began spending all their time together. Anthony says he remembers feeling very fortunate to become part of a family – Carmen had been raising three children on her own. In 2014, the couple decided to marry. But soon after, Carmen was sadly diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo a complete colon resection.

Ever since Carmen’s diagnosis, the family has battled cancer together in the United States. Anthony cared for Carmen daily, driving her to medical appointments, tending her wounds and ensuring she took her medication. He also managed the household chores and cared for Carmen’s three children as his own.

When the family learned that Anthony’s applying for permanent residency could mean years of separation, they sought the advice of HCM’s legal team. HCM reviewed their options and successfully argued to the USCIS that a separation would be devastating for Anthony, Carmen and their children. This positive outcome and the ability to stay together has made a world of difference for the family during an incredibly difficult time.
Health Programming Spotlight
Since fall of last year, our Counseling Program has benefited from the support of three outstanding interns: Savanna Olsen, Juana Jimenez and Miranda Sanchez. Savanna, Juana and Miranda are all graduate students studying social work at the University of Utah, and each has been a wonderful asset for our program and the clients we serve.

These interns offer trauma-informed individual therapy and help conduct support groups for victims of crime of various ages. They are also developing capstone projects that will improve our clients’ access to needed technology for virtual therapy and help our clients find affordable and enriching community activities. HCM Director of Counseling Ivonne Campbell says she truly appreciates the new perspectives and insights these interns have brought as well as their commitment to accessibility and equality.

Our Counseling Program has also been strengthened by a new partnership with Redemption House, an organization that serves survivors of human trafficking. HCM’s therapists are now providing trauma-informed therapy for Redemption House residents, and we’re very grateful for this opportunity to extend our mental health services to human trafficking survivors.
Education Programming Spotlight
Witnessing Michael's* progress over the past few months in HCM’s School Readiness Program has been amazing! The beginning of the school year was challenging for both Michael and our preschool teachers. He was constantly frustrated in the classroom, throwing tantrums and refusing to participate in any activities – even the fun ones like art projects and recess. We quickly grew worried about Michael’s behavioral challenges and lack of academic progress.

However, thanks to our teachers’ careful attention, we were able to intervene and secure for Michael the support he needed. We reached out to a behavior specialist at the Park City School District who came to our classroom and observed Michael. We all wanted him to have the necessary tools to succeed as a future PCSD student. This specialist worked with Michael on his classroom behavior and listening skills and also connected him with a speech language pathologist, who helped Michael more effectively and confidently communicate the big emotions he was feeling. As the months passed, Michael advanced rapidly. He is now happy to be at school, greeting his friends, smiling at our teachers and participating like never before.

Success stories like Michael’s remind us of the real magic involved in the work we do as educators. We love witnessing the difference early childhood education opportunities make in the lives of our students. This progress is made possible through the added support of our fantastic community partners, including the Park City School District and the Early Childhood Alliance. If Michael were not in HCM’s School Readiness Program, his story may have been very different. But fortunately, we are confident he is totally prepared for success in kindergarten and beyond! 
* In order to protect the privacy of those we serve, alternative names and images are used for HCM clients.
Upcoming Events
To honor the heroic efforts of our staff, interns and volunteers over this past pandemic year, Holy Cross Ministries will virtually spotlight these incredible individuals through a Holy Cross Heroes Livestream during the lunch hour on Wednesday, May 19th at noon.

Our Holy Cross heroes have played an integral role in Utah's coronavirus response. We hope you will join us in recognizing their selfless service on the pandemic's front lines. Please save the date and stay tuned for more details on how to watch live!
Follow us on social media!