Monday, December 31, 2012

Our Top 12 of 2012

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It's been nothing short of an incredible year here at Catholic Charities.

So, as we wind down the hours until the clock strikes midnight, and we kick off 2013, we conducted a (very unscientific) poll among our staff of what we thought were the very best moments of a great year.
Without further ado...

#12 Better than funny cat videos - Social media gives us the opportunity to reach supporters, friends, and fellow nonprofits daily with news, alerts and more. And apparently you “like” us – literally! In September, we received our 2,500th follower on Twitter AND on Facebook our 600th Like! All of this is for us to simply tell you about the work happening everyday here at Catholic Charities. 

#11 Local sports teams lend a hand – Whether it was broadcasting our PSA video on the jumbotron or adopting families at Christmas, we had incredible opportunities to partner with the local sports teams to both introduce the work of Catholic Charities to many new people and give our clients and staff the chance to attend a local sports game. Big shout outs are due to the Washington Nationals, Washington Mystics, DC United, Washington Redskins, Washington Wizards, and the George Washington Colonials, as well as Comcast Sportsnet and 106.7 The Fan.

#10 A Christmas e-Miracle - If you’ve been following us online at all recently, you already know about our online Angel Tree. So many anxious parents turned to us this year, unable to afford Christmas presents for their children. Combining the incredible response for our Angel Tree and gifts collected at our Spanish Catholic Center, we were able to provide nearly 1,200 kids with a special present to open on Christmas morning. That’s incredible – kudos to all of you! 
    #9 Catholic Charities’ First Annual Youth Service Day - More than 80 local high-schoolers came together in April for a
day of giving back, performing hands-on community service at Catholic Charities sites. “Students can have a huge impact on ending poverty through service – we want to tap into this potential,” said Vince Vaghi, Outreach Assistant. The second annual youth day is already being planned for 2013!

     #8 Do-Gooder Jeep Cherokee Hits 200,000 Miles - Following five faithful years of service to our emergency shelters, our “Hypothermia Jeep” reached 200,000 miles in early October. George Jones, Hypothermia Shelter Coordinator, spends many cold winter nights criss-crossing DC in the Jeep. He depended on the Jeep during “Snowpocalypse," when the region was pounded with snow and our shelters remained open 24 hours a day, ferrying staff to and from work. We’re looking forward to the next 200,000! 
#7 A huge year in fundraising – Led by Mr. William Conway’s generous gift of$10 million dollars, we had a great year raising funds to support the 63 programs we run locally. Two black-tie events have long been critical to funding the work of Catholic Charities: the Spanish Catholic Center Gala and the Catholic Charities Gala. This year, both hit milestones, with the SpanishCatholic Center Gala breaking the one million dollar mark and the Catholic Charities Gala breaking the two million dollar mark.  

#6 Joseph’s Coats of Many Colors Drive – With our new Outreach team in place, we wasted no time in engaging area parishes and businesses. As winter approached, we launched a massive coat drive to help be sure every man, woman, and child had a warm coat this winter. More than 4,000 coats have come through our Joseph’s Closet “store” at St. Francis Xavier Parish in southeast DC, where anyone can purchase a coat for three dollars.

Helping DREAMers Avoid Fraud - Anytime the government announces major changes to immigration law or enforcement, many immigrants are at-risk for fraud. Seeking to prevent the exploitation of immigrant families, Catholic Charities’ Immigration Legal Services held consultations and information sessions and distributed resources to educate immigrants about the Obama Administration’s new Deferred Action policy, issued June 15, 2012. Their popular resources guides are online for the public.

#4 Father John named a Washingtonian of the Year – Msgr. John Enzler was named a Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine, which has been giving the annual award for 41 years. The award recognizes a lifelong ministry by Father John to establish programs for people whose needs are going unaddressed, including his new job as President and CEO of Catholic Charities.

#3 Feeding homebound seniors during Superstorm Sandy – Catholic Charities Enterprises staff rushed into the kitchen to prepare hundreds of meals for delivery to homebound seniors as Superstorm Sandy threatened the area in October. Earlier in 2012, Enterprises received a three year contract to partner with the DC Department of Aging to prepare more than 800 meals daily for local seniors who are homebound and low-income. 

#2 Family Preservation Program keeps 100% families together – In Prince George’s County, our Family Preservation Program works with families who are at-risk of having a child removed from the home. Through an intense 8-week program, we help families communicate, introduce parenting tips, and help with other factors such as food, gifts, or employment counseling that helps parents who are stressed. This year, not a single family who came to us experienced a removal from the home – a major milestone in keeping families together!

#1 Top Tier Ranking for our Mental Health Care -
We were so proud of our staff and clients at our Anchor Mental Health programs when the Department of Mental Health recognized Anchor for their outstanding services, giving them a four-star rating and placing them in the top tier for all providers in DC! For well over 50 years, Anchor has been serving adults with mental illness in the area, providing counseling, medication management, job training, supported employment, and housing.

Did we miss something? Leave a comment. 

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Either way, have a very happy New Year and we look forward to walking with you in 2013 to help more families in need!