Friday, September 26, 2014

Golf for a Cause!

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This month we worked on our golf game, all while having some fun with Catholic Charities supporters! 

First up was the In the Name of the Mother Golf Outing on September 12 at Blue Mash Golf Course. The day benefits the In the Name of the Mother Fund, started and run by Kevin McConville (who sits on Catholic Charities Board of Directors) in memory of his wife Megan who passed away from cancer 10 years ago. The fund supports low-income mothers who are battling cancer and trying to support their family. We took full advantage of the beautiful fall weather to enjoy some golf, fellowship and food and raised over $50,000. 

Take a look at few of the moments we captured: 

Second on our list was the Catholic Charities Golf Classic on September 15 at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. The tournament raised nearly $170,000 for our McCarrick Family Center in Silver Spring which provides emergency assistance, parenting classes, financial education classes and emergency food and clothing to families in need.

Below are some photos we snapped:

Stay tuned for photos on Facebook and Instagram from the Catholic Charities Legal Network tournament that's taking place on October 6!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Second Year, Twice the Good!

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From Thursday September 4 until Saturday evening, September 6, you wouldn’t recognize the floor of the University of Maryland’s XFINITY Center, typically where their men’s and women’s basketball teams play in front of thousands of fans.

Instead of a court, benches and hoops, 100 dental chairs covered the floor. More than 400 dentists, hygienists and other dental professionals treated as many uninsured, adult patients as possible. The locker room for visiting teams was turned into a X-ray center. And where fans usually wait in line to enter the stadium, thousands of people waited in line as early as 2 am the night before.

Welcome to our second-ever Catholic Charities Mission of Mercy event. 

Last August, you may remember, we first partnered with the Maryland State Dental Association to hold a Mission of Mercy event. After hearing about its success, the University of Maryland’s Public School of Health wanted to be part of making another event happen.

XFINITY Center transformed into a 2-day dental clinic.
The results speak to the University of Maryland’s support, as it “supercharged” the event. We served 1,185 patients with a wide range of dental needs from routine cleanings to tooth extractions to root canals (eesh!). Additionally, a Health Equity Festival was held to connect patients with community providers offering other helpful services.

Clinical volunteers saw over 1,200 patients in two days.
Still, even with an event seeing patients for two straight days from 7 am to 6 pm, we had to turn people away who we simply didn’t have the time or manpower to see.

“The thing I walk away from this event thinking is, wow, we just did something incredible. And yet, you know there are so many more people out there who are in very real pain and can’t afford to see a dentist,” said Deacon Jim Nalls, who served as the Chair of the event. When he’s not organizing massive dental clinics, Nalls works as the Parish and Schools Outreach Manager for Catholic Charities. “Dental health is just as important as any other part of the body in need of healing. And when you have a tooth ache, it is extremely hard to focus on anything else.”

Including the many dental professionals, along with non-clinical volunteers who showed up to help with registration, setup and breakdown, patient guidance and more, we had 1,451 volunteers help carry out this massive event. And while we’re still crunching the numbers, we are confident to report that the dental services provided were worth well over $1,000,000!

Check out some of the great media coverage of the event!

Catholic Standard

Friday, August 29, 2014

After six years, Joshua has to find new employment. Thankfully, his Job Coach is there.

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Guest Post by Allysha Sneed

I first met Joshua on October 11, 2012. It was a cool day when Joshua, his mother, and resource coordinator stepped into Catholic Charities’ Supportive Employment program’s Prince Georges County office. We had spoken on the phone before when I called to introduce myself as his new Employment Specialist (or job coach). 

Joshua with his Job Coach Allysha Sneed.
Catholic Charities’ Supportive Employment program is specifically designed to assist adults in the community with a Developmental Disability Administration documented disability secure and maintain meaningful employment. Since then, I’ve come to know Joshua for his amazing sense of humor, motivation, and determination. In his eyes, his intellectual disability and speech impediment made no difference, and I absolutely loved the confidence he showed when he spoke of his love for his family and working with his hands. 

For all of my clients, including Joshua, my job is to help each person by teaching them the skills needed to be successful in the workforce and providing on the job support.

Joshua views himself as successful. He has been a full-time employee of Melwood’s employment contract with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, where he serves as a facility grounds man for the last six years.  In fact, Joshua is our longest employed client in the history of our office! Sadly Joshua will have to leave Goddard this fall as the grounds keeping program moves to seasonal work only. While this is an unfortunate turn of events for Joshua, I am determined to help him find additional employment without missing a beat. 

Mr. Jerome Proctor, Joshua’s immediate supervisor, has always praised for Joshua’s performance and professionalism on the job. He says, “Joshua is an integral part of the team here. If it weren’t for Joshua a lot of projects would not be completed. He is very good at his job, a great employee overall, and I couldn’t ask for anyone better.” 

Over the time I have known Joshua, he has proven his diligence and dedication to his job. He volunteers to do the tedious jobs no one else on his team wants to do, makes it a priority to have near perfect attendance and almost never complains. He is constantly working with his supervisor, Mr. Proctor, to ensure he is using job related equipment correctly and his time efficiently. Joshua simply does not let his intellectual disability hinder him from working, and together we have already taken on the task of seeking out another hands-on position for him.  

Joshua says, “My favorite thing to do at work is clean up after we cut the grass. I get to use the blower and carry it on my back which helps with the cleaning, but isn’t always easy because we have to do all around Goddard.”  Joshua adds, “I will miss Goddard, especially Mr. Proctor because he is always very supportive and always pushes me to give my best.”

Joshua is very proud of the work he’s been able to accomplish. He attributes his success to his support team including his mom, staff at Goddard who trained him for his position and Catholic Charities’ PG Supportive Employment program who secured the position for him. I am honored to be able to serve Joshua as his job coach. He is one of the most confident and driven clients I have had the pleasure to work with, and it is amazing to see his success. His story is truly one of hope and inspiration that says we are not defined by our disabilities, but rather the impact we leave on the communities we serve.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

We need You! Dentist or not, we’re going to need a lot of volunteers to provide $1,000,000 in pro bono dental care September 4 and 5!

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Guest Post by Allysha Sneed

It’s a Tuesday afternoon and Dr. Tris Kruger, a dentist and two-time volunteer for the Mid-MD Mission of Mercy, is picking up his phone for the tenth time today, reaching out to colleagues for assistance in a mission he loves dearly.

“Hello and good afternoon. I am calling to find out if you would be willing to help with a free dental clinic we are hosting on September 5 and 6 at the Comcast Center in College Park, MD,” said Dr. Kruger. “I, along with a host of my colleagues, will be serving patients who are uninsured or are otherwise unable to afford dental services and we would love your help.” 
Volunteers and staff held a phone-a-thon to recruit local dentists to
volunteer at the upcoming free dental clinic.
One by one dental professionals throughout Maryland responded by saying yes to volunteering at this year’s Mid-MD Mission of Mercy (MOM) free dental clinic. Mid-MD MOM is a free two-day dental clinic periodically provided by volunteer dental professionals on a mission to enhance the oral health of adults in need.  The MOM service model first began in Virginia in 2000 and has since spread around the county affecting the lives of patients and dentists alike. 

In order to meet this year’s goal of providing over a million dollars of free dental care, over 800 volunteers are needed. Hundreds of professional and non-professional volunteers will be providing adult patients with services such as cleanings, fillings, root canals, and extractions, using 188 chairs spread across the Comcast Center.  Volunteers are asked to serve during one of two twelve hour shifts from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. September 4-6.

“Without volunteers this event wouldn’t even be possible. For me volunteering is all about giving back to the community, especially for those of us that are able to give back using our professions- it’s so easy and so worth it,” said Dr. Kruger. “There is no better feeling than helping a patient and afterwards having them crying with appreciation because they were taken care of. Honestly, I get more out of it than the patients do.”

Catholic Charities’ Parish and School Program Manager Deacon James Nalls, is in charge of organizing and running the event. 

“Dental care is under supported in our culture and as a result the vast amounts of adults ages 18 to 65 are neglecting their teeth,” said Nalls. “This is why this event is so important. It’s a step toward increasing the overall health of adults throughout Maryland.”

For more information on how you can become one of the 800 volunteers needed to help make the Mid-MD MOM on September 4-6 a success (whether or not you are a dentist) or to donate supplies such as food, beverages, paper products, or printing supplies for the event, please contact volunteer coordinator Maggie O’Neill at / (202) 772-1234. 

The following volunteers are needed:

·       Dentists (students welcome)

·       Hygienists (students welcome)

·       General volunteers (patient and volunteer check in/out, hospitality)

·       Set up and break down (Thursday and Saturday evening)

·       IT support

·       Translators 

If interested in becoming a corporate partner of Mid-MD MOM, please contact Deacon James Nalls at