Catholic Charities E-News
Serving Southwest Florida 
In This Issue
New Director
Energy Makeover
Employing Refugees
Doctors for Charity
Marian Manor
Baby Shower
Moms N' More
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Spring 2010
We invite you to take a few minutes to learn more about the work of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. If you have any questions, reply and let us know. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your colleagues, friends and family.
We care...You can help by caring too 
This summer Catholic Charities Care Programs are asking you to support the work of teaching essential life skills to people in need.
Many adults and children require a better way of living day-to-day. Catholic Charities provides classes in budgeting and parenting as well as after school tutoring and other programs.
Please consider a donation to these vital programs!
Click HERE to donate.
New director leads with family values  

Naples--Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice announces Armando Galella as the new Director of Catholic Charities of Collier County. Galella comes to the organization with 34 years of experience in non-profit management, institutional marketing, fund raising, and public relations.

Galella recently served as executive director of Eden Florida, a provider of services for children and adults with autism, and prior to that as executive director for Sunrise Community of Southwest Florida that offers services for developmentally disabled children and adults. Galella obtained a master's degree in public administration from Pace University in White Plains, New York, attended the Graduate School of Journalism at Boston University, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. 

Program receives free energy makeover 

Sarasota--St. Martha's Early Learning Center of Catholic Charities received a free energy makeover from Florida Power and Light (FPL) and other community businesses. FPL's Energy Makeover Team, along with One Hour Air, JAM Lighting, and Amana Corporation provided efficiency upgrades to the center. The result is expected to be a savings of up to $1,000 annually.

St. Martha's Early Learning Center, a preschool for children of low-income families, underwent FPL's Business Energy Evaluation. The program received for free a new energy-efficient air conditioner donated from Amana Corporation and installed by One Hour Air. JAM Lighting replaced the old lighting with compact fluorescent light bulbs in three buildings, two of the preschool buildings and Bethesda House of Catholic Charities located next door. Low-flow faucets and programmable thermostats also were installed at the preschool.

Click HERE to see the Center's Energy Makeover on YouTube.
Helping clients gain economic independence 

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice guides many individuals and families on the path of living a better life in America through refugee services. Both Ivis and Ryxe (photo left to right) were young, single mothers who came to the United States from Cuba searching for an opportunity to work and raise their children in a healthy and thriving community. They felt immense relief when they came to the Refugees Employed and Productive Program of Catholic Charities, as relocating to a new country can be overwhelming and isolating.

Catholic Charities assisted Ivis and Ryxe with the process of achieving economic independence and self-sufficiency. Both learned to speak English and gained full-time employment, and their children are enrolled in school. Most importantly, Ivis and Ryxe now have the opportunity to achieve their full potential and claim their own personal sense of pride and dignity.

Catholic Charities offers a variety of services for refugees including Refugee Resettlement, Refugees Employed and Productive, Employability Status Assistance, Career Laddering, and Refugee Youth and Family at offices located in Naples, Fort Myers, Venice and Sarasota. For more information, please call 941-493-8231.
First annual fundraiser supports HIV/AIDS Ministries

Sarasota--The era of poodle skirts, sock hops and drive-in movies came alive at the first annual Doctors for Charity fundraiser that benefited the HIV/AIDS Ministries of Catholic Charities. The dinner dance was held at Michael's On East and featured music and dancing to The Noblemen (photo above), the Sahib Shriners of Sarasota 16-piece 1950s band. Professional dancers hit the floor and fired up patrons to join in.

Dr. Vilma Vega, an Infectious Disease Specialist, was the honorary chair of the event and spoke to the more than 100 attendees about the struggle people with HIV/AIDS endure. Former Bethesda House client Vicki Rhines also addressed the crowd with her success story. The evening featured an auction for a trip to Cancun and more than $5,000 was received in pledge donations. A drawing also was held for those who pledged, and one lucky donor received a handmade quilt from the Quilters of St. Thomas More Parish. 
Bon Secours Fund awards grant to housing program 
Port Charlotte--Marian Manor, a Catholic Charities Housing program, provides affordable, transitional rental housing to low- and very low-income individuals and families. Bon Secours Health Systems Community Grant Fund has awarded Marian Manor $20,000 for rental assistance to people in need.
The Bon Secours Community Grant Fund exists to provide financial support for nonprofit programs that serve marginalized and disenfranchised families served by the Peace River Regional Medical Center.
Quilters lovingly create handmade items for needy

Sarasota--The Quilters of St. Thomas More Parish hosted a Baby Shower for Catholic Charities of DeSoto County, Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities, and Bethesda House of Catholic Charities. The three programs received handmade quilts, afghans, and baby clothes. This event is hosted annually by the Quilters, who come together twice a week to work on projects for those in need. The group also presented each Catholic Charities program with a cash donation.
Andy Herigodt (photo above), Director of Catholic Charities of DeSoto County, and Elizabeth Gibbons (photo right), Volunteer Coordinator for Our Mother's House, were thrilled to accept the donations on behalf of their clients who will enjoy the luxury of receiving these lovingly crafted items. The group also regularly donates items for Catholic Charities fundraising events.
New base station erected in Sarasota
Sarasota--The Disaster Amateur Radio Network (DARN) of Catholic Charities recently expanded to the northern part of the Diocese of Venice with a new base station installed in the Catholic Charities offices located in Sarasota. (DARN members Andy and Steve shown in photo.) 
DARN provides emergency and backup communications for Catholic Charities during a disaster. The network also has UHF/VHF radio stations located in Naples, Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Arcadia and Venice. The station in Sarasota is a UHF/VHF/HF radio station, where the addition of the HF (high frequency) capability will permit transmission and reception of messages outside of the diocese.
Members of DARN recently held their 2010 Annual Meeting at San Antonio Parish in Port Charlotte, where they celebrated the network's accomplishments of opening six base radio stations in six years. The volunteer group formed after the devastating hurricanes of 2003 and 2004.
Click HERE for more information about DARN.  
Sarasota Sally hosts fundraiser for Our Mother's House

Sarasota--Catherine D'Agostino, co-founder and creator of Sarasota Sally, a popular email dining community, hosted Moms N' More, an event that benefited Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities.
A dinner was held at Etrusco Ristorante Toscano in downtown Sarasota where around 200 people attended and about $2,000 was raised for the Catholic Charities program that provides transitional housing for homeless mothers and their children. The restaurant donated the food and drinks, and The Beach Monkeys entertained the crowd with lively music. Sarasota Sally also provided gift certificates to patrons.
"We (Etrusco Ristorante Toscano and Sarasota Sally) jumped at the chance to help this worthwhile charity who needs funds to furnish a new apartment building which is now ready for occupancy," said D'Agostino. Sarasota Sally is a free email dining community. For more information visit
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. serves the ten-county area of Southwest Florida.