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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.  

Mother's Day Gift

Give the gift of a mother's love! Honor your mother this Mother's Day with a donation that will help homeless mothers and their children. Our Mother's House of Catholic Charities provides a safe environment for residents to achieve increased self-sufficiency through education, vocational training, and personal growth. A mother's love can change the world . . .You can help a needy mother succeed!

Venice Veterans Salute
Vietnam Veteran David Shigley sings the National Anthem. 

Venice--The Venice Veterans Salute was held on Thursday, April 7 at the Venice Performing Arts Center. Sponsored by Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., the event was a salute to United States military veterans with a special recognition to soldiers of the Vietnam War. 

About 425 people attended the fundraiser that featured the Beatles tribute act Nowhere Band. Venice High School JROTC and Performing Arts Singers presented the colors and national anthem, and Venice Mayor John Holic, Catholic Charities CEO Peter Routsis-Arroyo, and Venice Diocese Bishop Frank Dewane addressed the crowd. A tribute was paid to veterans at the start of the show. 

The event also showcased muscle cars from the Vietnam era, a silent auction and bucket raffle, and military displays. All proceeds benefited the programs and services of Catholic Charities that assist veterans. 

The Vietnam veteran lapel pin was provided to Vietnam veterans who attended the event. Woody Schiffman shows off the memento for service and sacrifice.

Charity Golf Classic
A record number of 150 golfers participated in the event. 

Fort Myers--The AFCAAM Charity Golf Classic was held April 15 at the Forest Country Club with 150 golfers in attendance. The fundraiser supported AFCAAM of Catholic Charities which offers an After-School Reading Program and Youth Mentoring Programs.

Ernest Graham 
After a team scramble round of golf, participants enjoyed a dinner and prizes were awarded. The special guest for the event was former all-star running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Florida Gators Earnest Graham.

AFCAAM of Catholic Charities Youth Mentoring Programs are dedicated to embracing and empowering young women and men with knowledge, skills, and the abilities needed to make good life choices. The After-School Reading Program encourages elementary students to learn the love of reading through individual and small group reading instruction. For more information, please call 239-461-0233 or watch the video.

AFCAAM of Catholic Charities staff Pam Malafronte (left to right), Roseann Albertario, Manuel Diaz and Veronica Barber. 

Reaching Out to Women 
Diana Kelly Buchanan (left) and Catholic Charities CEO Peter Routsis-Arroyo.
Sarasota--There will be many women in the rural areas of Florida that will be wearing fashionable shoes and scarves thanks to Diana Kelly Buchanan. She is donating $120,000 worth of items from her company to Catholic Charities to distribute in Clewiston, Morehaven, LaBelle, Wauchula, Lake Placid, Arcadia, Immokalee, Nocatee and Bonita Springs.

"This company used to be my baby but now I have two precious children. I love working but it is just on hold for now," said Buchanan. She and her husband Matt have a 19-month-old girl and a five-month-old boy.

Buchanan started the Diana E. Kelly line of shoes, scarves, bags and other accessories six years ago after she graduated from University of Florida. Now women lacking clothing will have access to quality items.

"I am a bit emotional about doing this today," Buchanan said as she assisted Catholic Charities staff with loading a truck with boxes of her goods. "It is not goodbye but just a break from running my business. I know these shoes and scarves are going to women in need and that makes me feel so good."

Buchanan said while growing up she witnessed her parents supporting Catholic Charities and she wanted to do the same. "Catholic Charities has so much outreach and services that fill the void where there is no assistance," she said. 

Family Resource Center  
A rendering of the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities.

Naples--The Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities has moved to a new location in Collier County and has been renamed after Judy Sullivan, a devoted supporter of the agency. The new center will provide much needed space to accommodate growth that enables more effective and efficient execution of programs and services. Extensive renovation of the facility is needed.
"With the increased space that the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center provides us, we are able to offer additional programs and serve more of the working poor," said Catholic Charities District Director Mary Shaughnessy. 
The fundraising goal for the new Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities is $2.5 million. Naming and memorial opportunities are available. For more information contact Mary Shaughnessy at 239-455-2655 or or watch the video.

Caring for Immigrants
Immigration Counselor Marisol Dee (left) and Catholic Charities CEO Peter Routsis-Arroyo.

Arcadia--Marisol Dee has been helping immigrants to achieve self-sufficiency and stability in DeSoto County for 25 years. Dee is a certified Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) counselor at Catholic Charities. 

"Marisol has been a loyal and dedicated employee and a true advocate for vulnerable immigrants in need of guidance. Clients come to Catholic Charities because they trust us and once they meet Marisol, they know they can trust her," said Catholic Charities CEO Peter Routsis-Arroyo. He presented Dee with a plaque to mark the special occasion of her many years of service.

Catholic Charities Immigration Services include personal consultation and application assistance for low to moderate income individuals and families for nominal fees. Catholic Charities is accredited by the BIA and offers family reunification,employment authorization, legal permanent
residency, citizenship, and other immigration services. For more information, call 863-494-1068.

Enriching Youth  
Lee County Senior Librarian Kelly Palma (left) announces the winners of the Bookmobile contest. 

Fort Myers--The AFCAAM of Catholic Charities After-School Reading Program provides over 300 hours of intensive reading instruction to at-risk students. However, reading and homework assistance is only part of the curriculum. 

Recently the fifth grade class entered the Lee County Bookmobile Bookmark Contest and student Dezmond Wallace won first place. Tyre Cunningham and Ashley Vergara also were awarded Honorable Mention. Molina Healthcare paid a visit to the center to teach the students how to brush and care for their teeth. Everyone received tooth brushes and paste.

"Enrichment programs like these are part of the reason the After-School Reading Program is a quality program," said Program Director Pam Malafronte.

AFCAAM of Catholic Charities is committed to educating the youth of the community by encouraging and inspiring them to be life-long learners, community builders and people of service. For more information, call 239-461-0233 or watch the video.

Molina Healthcare visits AFCAAM of Catholic Charities.

Disaster Preparedness
Members of the Disaster Amateur Radio Network (DARN) of Catholic Charities.

Venice--The Disaster Amateur Radio Network (DARN) of Catholic Charities held their annual meeting in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season

Gabe Tischler, who is responsible for assisting Catholic Charities organizations throughout Florida in coordinating emergency management, disaster response and crisis management activities within the state and national emergency management systems, attended the meeting. Tischler reviewed the history and role of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the importance of understanding the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. has eight DARN UHF/VHF stations located in Bradenton, Sarasota, Venice, Arcadia, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers, Naples and Immokalee. Volunteer radio operators plan, construct and run the network in the event of a disaster. DARN provides emergency/back-up communications for Catholic Charities Disaster Response Teams. Volunteers are always needed. 

Click HERE for more information about DARN. 

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. | 1000 Pinebrook Road | Venice | FL | 34285