An excerpt from the script for our Annual Meeting, August 21, 2013
Almost a year ago we responded to the immediate needs following Hurricane Isaac and are now deep into disaster case management doing what Catholic Charities does best—helping families struggling to rebuild their lives. We’ve recently finished converting the TV studio at the Leah Building into warehouse space to stock pile disaster response supplies ready for when—not if—we are struck again. Several times this past year, our staff also responded to help our sister agencies impacted by Hurricane Sandy with the CCUSA Disaster Case Management Contract and to assist the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City following the tornadoes.
We developed and grown new programs that have come our way, like Heart2Heart that pairs youth with mentors who get together for a couple of hours a week for one year and work to develop the teen’s strengths. Also we started offering Parents as Teachers which focuses on early childhood development and helping children get ready to learn.
We’ve reorganized other programs. Now Refugee and Immigration Services combines the work of welcoming the stranger like we have done since 1974 with refugee resettlement, with serving more and more people relying on our immigration attorneys to keep their families together.
And we continue to faithfully implement Transformation 2016, our 5-year strategic plan for service, mission and advocacy. Last year, our board formed the 19:17 Society, an annual giving program. The founders circle now boasts 22 members and has raised more than $50,000.
Our relationship with Capital Area United Way remains stronger than ever, and we are again the most-referred-to United Way agency by its 211 Info Line. We moved up a slot to become the second highest funded agency. We’re looking forward to working with Darrin Goss, its new President and CEO, who is sure to lead the organization into new heights.
Thanks to helpful volunteers and donors, Sanctuary for Life can now house women and their newborns, and by this time next year, we’ll be able to update you on the expansion made possible by the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Also THANK YOU to Price LeBlanc Toyota who donated this brand new 8-passenger van. Now Ms. Anita and Ms. Pearl can drive the women to work and to their doctor appointments.
Last year, we engaged over 1,000 volunteers for 7,200 hours valued at $130,000, in meaningful, often life-changing, service. That’s a record-setting number. We kicked off Just 4 Service, a leadership club for youth to learn about Catholic Social Teaching through service, igniting a life-long passion of helping their neighbor’s in need.
Our relationship with our Catholic Schools continues to grow. This past year, over 200 Catholic school students gave more than 500 direct, impactful service hours, valued at $10,500 and contributed about $60,000 in cash and donations for our programs. But more importantly … learning they can make a difference through action. As a testament to our deepened relationship, Catholic Relief Services recognized CCDBR and Dr. Melanie Verges, School Superintendent, for our innovative Operation Rice Bowl campaign.
Last year, we took a leading role advocating for transit reform and continue to monitor and make recommendations toward its progress. This next year, we’ll partner with the Louisiana Conference of Bishops to advocate against the plaque of high interest personal loans, an end to the death penalty and better conditions for children and families.
We sharpened our outcomes measurement and accountability, but we’re continuing to hone our processes, examining key indicators to assure the true impact of our services.
It takes a hard working team to do this work, and the staff works through some stressful times, so we’ve learned to have a little fun occasionally. Thanks to the Green Team, the employee culture committee, for events like “Who’s the biggest Loser”, Freezie Friday, and Jeans Day. Also, they took the lead with our new on-boarding process for employee enrollment.