Winter 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 winter.
Health Programming Spotlight
As a domestic violence survivor, Alma* experiences lifelong physical disabilities and emotional distress, which have prevented her from working or even feeling comfortable leaving her apartment. Alma has two children at home — a teenage daughter and young adult son. While her son, Gabriel*, had been supporting the family, he lost his landscaping job several months into the pandemic. Gabriel applied for new positions, and a local restaurant recently accepted his application. But when he showed up for his first day, the restaurant told him they didn’t have work for him after all.

HCM’s community health workers have supported Alma’s family during the ongoing pandemic in a variety of ways, helping them access the resources they need during this challenging time. We helped Alma’s son and daughter enroll in Medicaid and SNAP (food benefits), enabling them to afford medical care and groceries. And last month, HCM helped Alma’s family qualify for nearly $2,000 in rental assistance through funding from the Park City Community Foundation and the Association for Utah Community Health. The Sisters of Holy Cross also provided the family with additional funding for essential needs items. This financial aid allowed the family to stay in their home, giving them great peace of mind during the holiday season.

Alma has expressed how grateful she is for HCM’s assistance during her family’s time of financial need. She is very thankful to know that she can count on our community health workers’ support in the weeks and months to come.
Justice Programming Spotlight
Last month, an attorney from Holy Cross Ministries’ Legal Immigration Program accompanied Delfina* to an interview required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as part of her application for permanent residency. Delfina first came to Holy Cross Ministries two years ago, seeking legal help after her husband violently attacked her in front of her two young children. Delfina wanted to do all in her power to protect her family and ensure that she and her children would not be separated.

HCM’s immigration team advised Delfina that she was eligible to apply for a visa under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and helped her obtain the necessary police reports, marriage certificates and all other required documentation. The immigration team is trained to assist victims of domestic violence with sensitivity, and Delfina relied on HCM for much-needed emotional support throughout this lengthy process.

When the USCIS scheduled Delfina for an in-person interview, she felt very anxious about attending it and recounting the abuse she and her children experienced. But having an HCM attorney by her side calmed Delfina and helped her feel confident answering the immigration officer’s questions.

We are very happy to report that her application to become a permanent United States resident was granted, and Delfina is no longer at great risk of being sent back to her home country and separated from her children. HCM’s immigration team plans to continue providing Delfina and her family support in the future, and we look forward to offering her legal representation when she is eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
Education Programming Spotlight
The Garcia* family enrolled in HCM’s Parents as Teachers (PAT) Program in April of this year. They were one of the first families to join our program during the pandemic when all PAT “home visits” are held virtually – a new challenge for all of us. 

At the time of the family’s enrollment, Miguel* was six months old. We learned from Miguel’s mother Angela* that Miguel was recently diagnosed with a genetic muscle disorder, meaning he would likely lag behind other infants in meeting normal developmental milestones such as rolling over or sitting up. Miguel’s pediatrician had said he may never learn to crawl. During our initial screening, we confirmed that Miguel hadn’t yet developed the motor skills most infants achieve at three to five months. But Angela said she and her son were ready to work hard, and our PAT staff determined to do all in our power to support this family.

As we got to know Angela and Miguel, we learned that Angela was experiencing mild depression, and we referred her to a mental health support group facilitated by HCM’s Counseling Program. We also supported Angela with her personal health goals, helping her establish a routine to exercise, eat well and lose weight. Our PAT staff has worked rigorously with Miguel too, designing personalized activities to encourage his motor development, language skills as well as social and emotional growth. By August, Miguel was able to sit up and by October he could crawl and stand with support. Several weeks ago, he took his first steps all by himself! 

While Miguel continues to be monitored by medical professionals, his pediatrician is very impressed with his success in the PAT Program and has encouraged the family to continue participating. Angela has expressed that HCM’s individualized support has provided her the skills and tools she needs to help her son live a more normal life. We’re very grateful for the opportunity to help the Garcia family advance one step at a time.
* In order to protect the privacy of those we serve, alternative names and images are used.