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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.  

Giving Challenge

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties is excited to participate in the 2016 Giving Challenge! Your gift will support Our Mother's House, St. Martha's Early Learning Center, Catholic Charities Family Haven, and Casa San Juan Bosco. Each and every person can "Be The One" to make a difference during the Giving Challenge.

The Patterson Foundation will provide a 2 to 1 match for contributions from new donors up to $100. New donors are individuals who did not give to Catholic Charities in the 2015 Giving Challenge. The Patterson Foundation also will provide a 1 to 1 match for contributions from returning donors for donations up to $100.

You can participate in the 2016 Giving Challenge by visiting on September 20 and 21 from noon to noon EST and search Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. Or visit

The 2016 Giving Challenge is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation, as well as support from Manatee Community Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, and the Herald-Tribune Media Group. 
Young Artists

Arcadia--The Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities farm worker community offered a summer camp for 20 children living in the neighborhood. The campers had an opportunity to do crafts while interacting with their peers--and bring home plenty of art work to adorn their homes!

The young artists painted pictures, created bulletin boards out of cork, made sun catchers, decoupaged money banks and coasters using old calendars, constructed kaleidoscopes out of paper towel rolls, and more. 

Once a week the camp also included the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) program to help the children understand the dangers of smoking through demonstrations, videos and literature with the goal of prevention of starting the unhealthy habit.

The three-week adventure ended with a fun-filled pizza party and a bunch of lasting memories! 

For more information about Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities, please call 863-494-1068.

Empowerment Program
Jenny with her daughters. 

Naples--A new Empowerment Program was initiated this year at the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities. The mission is to guide clients on the path to self-sufficiency. The program provides financial assistance for transportation needs, rental and utilities, counseling, day care and education as well as referral to other service providers. 

Beatriz and her daughter.
One agency is H.E.L.P. (Housing, Education, Lending Programs) which offers computer instruction and financial literacy education. Catholic Charities enrolled Beatriz in H.E.
L.P. and along with assistance for rent and day care, she secured a full-time job with benefits. Beatriz and her 9-month-old daughter escaped an abusive domestic relationship with limited abilities to care for themselves.  

"We also referred Beatriz to Dress for Success which helped her get ready for the workforce," said Empowerment Program Coordinator Rita Perez. "She has met all of her goals and is on her way to become self-sufficient."

Jenny has four daughters and came to the Empowerment Program from the abused women's shelter. She also quickly obtained full-time employment and housing through financial assistance and referral from Catholic Charities. 

"Through the guidance and resources we are providing our clients, they have been able to overcome so many barriers that they thought would not be possible," Perez said. 

For more information about the Empowerment Program of Catholic Charities, please call 239-793-0059. 

Senior Support 

Fort Myers--The humble service of the St. Isabel Catholic Church Men's Society has afforded low-income seniors to live independently in their homes with dignity. The group of 75 members donated $8,000 to Catholic Charities which will be used for the Senior Support Coordination Program.

"Whenever I have a need, I call on the St. Isabel Men's Society and they come through for me," said Catholic Charities District Director Charles Anderson. "They are incredibly supportive and without their help we could not serve as many clients as we do. I am extremely grateful for their exemplary generosity."

One of the services of the Senior Support Coordination Program is to provide elderly clients with basic personal care products such as adult briefs, shampoo, soap, toothpaste and more. "With our clients living in poverty, they often go without such necessities," said Program Director Alice Del Valle. "The donation from the men's society will allow us to purchase these items for our seniors."

Jim Salzman of the St. Isabel Men's Society said the group has four mission goals which include community service, fellowship, spiritual growth, and parish assistance. "We decided to support Catholic Charities as our community service and strive to make a real impact," he said.

The society raises money through various functions such as a BBQ dinner, raffles, and selling amaryllis bulbs. The group also collects donations by often passing the hat among themselves. "We try to respond to the needs of Catholic Charities whenever we can," Salzman said.

For more information about the Senior Support Coordination Program of Catholic Charities, please call 239-334-2234.

Health Services 
Immokalee--Rural poor families and individuals that rely on Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities for programs and services to better their lives will now be offered free medical and dental screenings. 

The Health Care Network will bring its mobile services to the Catholic Charities agency every first Wednesday of the month. "We brought this assistance to our clients because many do not have any health care coverage or the money to pay for medical or dental services," said Program Director Julian Morgan. "The need is overwhelming," he said.

Morgan said clients will have the opportunity to visit with a health professional and discuss any issues they may have and receive screenings. "If there is a concern, then the client will be referred to the Health Care Network clinic or elsewhere for follow-up care," he said.

For more information about Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities, please call 239-657-6242.

Council of Catholic Women
Members of the new Casa San Juan Bosco Council of Catholic Women.
Arcadia--The Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (VDCCW) have backed the Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities farm worker housing community since before the first family moved into the development. "As soon as we knew about this community, we decided to plan for helping the families," said VDCCW Past President Iris Gomez.

Each council in the diocese prepared welcome baskets with items for the kitchen and bedrooms along with laundry and cleaning supplies. Over time the generosity grew to books and materials and monetary donations for the community center and clothing and furniture and personal care items for the residents.

"Our mission is to support, empower and educate all Catholic women in spirituality, leadership and service," said Gomez. "So we set forth to approve a new Council of Catholic Women at Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities. A new group started this year."  

Members of the VDCCW recognized the need for the new council to generate revenue to attend events in the diocese, so they donated ten sewing machines and materials. "The women are not only sewing items for their homes and families but learning to obtain monetary rewards from their handiwork," she said. 

For more information about Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities, please call 863-494-1068.

Resource Center  
Jennifer and Sandra with their new bicycles. 

Naples--The Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities is living up to its name. Plenty of activity is happening at the agency because of some new community partnerships. 

Bikes for Tykes is now providing Catholic Charities with 10 bicycles every week to distribute to clients. Jennifer and Sandra, who are staying in transitional housing, were both in need of transportation. Jennifer was borrowing a friend's car to apply for jobs and was hired. She will now be able to commute to work on her new bike. Sandra, who found it difficult to look for employment without a vehicle, can now apply for jobs. 

"You don't know how much these bikes will help us," Sandra said. "We are so grateful."

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Office also is joining with Catholic Charities to assist clients at the center. They are providing a six-week cooking class where participants learn to buy healthy food on a budget and prepare it. The student chefs receive food items and a book of low-cost family-friendly recipes.

For more information about the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities, please call 239-793-0059. 

The students learn to prepare chicken with brown rice and vegetables.

Summer Camp

Fort Myers--There were 28 lucky boys and girls that enjoyed the AFCAAM of Catholic Charities Summer Camp this year. The students engaged in learning projects and enrichment activities that improved reading comprehension and quality of life.

Some highlights included bike safety where every child received a properly fitted bike helmet, nutrition information with fresh fruit to bring home, water safety, hygiene instruction along with character-building puppet shows and storytelling from costumed presenters. The horses from Whispering Pines Clydesdales were the favorite with the largest weighing in at 2,000 pounds, drinking 30 gallons of water and grazing on grass for eight hours a day!

For more information about AFCAAM of Catholic Charities, please call 239-461-0233.


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