The lobby of Catholic Charities of Fort Worth is well-lit and inviting. According to Merryl Carson, Associate Director of Fund Development, this design was intentional. “There’s no second story in the lobby,” she said, “because we wanted the space to open and inviting. It breathes hope.” And when clients come in or call into CCFW, sometimes hope is in short supply.
“Our goal is to end poverty,” Carson told a group of faculty and staff from the University of Dallas during a tour on April 23, 2015. “We prefer to give a hand up, not a hand out.” Working with a $28 million budget, Catholic Charities administers 40 programs that provide housing, transportation, medical care, and refugee assistance to residents in a 28-county area aligned with the boundaries of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth.
A large portion of the Fort Worth facility is dedicated to the care of children. Some children housed at the facility are in transition and awaiting foster care placement, while others are refugees separated from their families during flight. The goal is to reunite these refugee families whenever possible. One of Catholic Charities of Fort Worth’s most innovative programs is called Padua, a researched-based pilot run in partnership with Catholic Charities USA and Notre Dame University. According to Deb McNamara, Vice President of Advancement, the Padua program will provide “supercharged case management” to a group of randomly selected clients. Several data points will be collected and analyzed to determine which services have a lasting effect in breaking the cycle of poverty. According to CCFW’s website, the intent of the program is to define success in a way that can be replicated nationwide and change the face of social services.
Julie Janik, Director of the UD’s Office of Personal Career Development, is working with Catholic Charities of Forth Worth to develop a program through which selected UD students can receive course credit for volunteering with the organization. “The mission and values of CCFW align with those of the University of Dallas. This is a great way for our students to gain solid work experience while helping those in need.” For more information of volunteer service credit, click here.