By ERIKA ANDERSON, Staff Writer | Published November 10, 2005
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development in the Archdiocese of Atlanta recently awarded grants totaling $120,000 to seven parishes and several community programs. The grants were presented at an awards ceremony held Oct. 18.
CCHD receives its funds from individual Catholics who donate to a nationwide church collection each year. This year, during the weekend of Nov. 19-20, all parishes will have a second collection to benefit CCHD in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
The money raised in 2004 went toward funding the 2005 grants, including $7,000 that went toward parishes in the archdiocese and a specific ministry.
The following parishes received $1,000 each from the CCHD.
The Catholic Center at the University of Georgia, Athens: “Education on Immigration Issues” is the purpose for developing an interactive Web site that allows community involvement in efforts that lead to advocacy for immigration reform according to principles given in “Strangers No Longer.” Collaboration with other groups in the community also working on this issue will help to provide the Athens community with a “Bill Board” for announcements of related events. The site will provide an opportunity to explain and clarify local immigration issues.
Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Atlanta: “Hurricane Ministry and Support” is planned through quarterly team-building events. Parish members and displaced families will connect and work together to provide opportunities for total parish involvement in this ministry of care and transition. The project is coordinated by the parish St. Vincent de Paul group, which works with community agencies and services to provide on-going care for evacuees displaced here in Atlanta.
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Atlanta: “Foot Ministry Training – Connect with the Poor” is a program offered by parish volunteers during the winter season. Collaboration with neighboring shelters for a training workshop and apprenticeship is anticipated. Foot care, health tips and conversation are the services rendered. Relating to persons whose feet walk many streets in a service mode creates a gesture of acceptance, which recognizes the dignity of the person served. This ministry is modeled on Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.
Prince of Peace Church, Buford: “Job Search Ministry” meetings are offered monthly with both coaching and counseling support. Resource speakers deliver training and information along with tips on financial, family and emotional issues. Qualified job seekers are matched with positions available. Those who obtain jobs may continue in the ministry by serving as advisors. Communications are necessary for job search ministry. A display board and LCD projector will serve to engage others in this ministry as seekers and advisors.
St. Mark Church, Clarkesville: “Mobile Home Park Community Organizing” allows residents of the park to discuss common neighborhood needs and develop a plan of action on those matters most important to them. Through a series of community supper meetings, residents will gather and discuss items of concern. Weatherizing needs of the trailers, home improvements and budget and banking issues will be discussed, and Action Days will be planned.
St. Catherine of Siena Church, Kennesaw: “Ecumenical Job Support Services” is open to serve all who come to them for employment assistance. A regular monthly session helps to keep the ministry before the community. Hispanic counselors are also available to work with job seekers. Collaboration with eight additional Catholic churches, several Cobb County agencies and churches of other religious denominations provide a wide array of opportunities.
Corpus Christi Church, Stone Mountain: “Teens Organizing for Home Repair” is a summer youth community service program. Up to 25 youth enroll in the month-long Summer Swarm program, which includes enrichment topics and activities for teens along with community service through maintenance and home repair. A stipend for service is given for hours completed.
A total of $30,000 in community grants was also awarded earlier in the year. The following programs received grants:
The Economic Justice Coalition – Community Leadership in Athens received $4,000. This community group has worked on voter registration and through this experience action teams for outreach and leadership are being developed. Collaboration with other community organizations will allow low-income neighborhood workers to be represented at county commission meetings relative to worker’s rights, wages and conditions.
Agape House Ministry – Work Empowerment Program of Atlanta received $3,000. Recovering substance abusers live in neighborhood residences, developing community living through life skills meetings and work responsibilities. Participants will collaborate with small business professionals by providing low cost carpet cleaning labor in exchange for vocational skills. Community awareness monthly “Let’s Talk” sessions are open to the community.
Crossroads Community Ministries – Atlanta Cooks received $3,000. The project will train formerly homeless men and women to be cooks, and use this skills development to secure full-time employment with a community partner. The program includes training, a housing supplement and one-on-one mentorship.
The Sullivan Center Community Garden of Atlanta received $2,500. This project will train 20 neighborhood residents how to grow and market organic produce year round for their economic gain. The garden aims to bring residents of all ages into a cohesive, supportive environment. Training and a new greenhouse will help to expand the work.
“9 to 5 Working Women”—Family Flexible Policies for Low-Wage Women of Atlanta received $2,500. Small group sessions in neighborhood churches and apartment complexes provide information and training to women working at minimum to low wage jobs. Advocacy for policy changes in the legislature and in the workplace are included in the sessions.
Habersham Family Resources—Prepare Future Leaders of Clarkesville received $3,000. Bi-cultural summer day camp for young children and pre-teens is supported. Anglo and Hispanic students participate in the experience to foster bridging cultural and language barriers while at the same time giving participants small-group leadership opportunities.
SOBCO—Somali Bantu Women Outreach of Clarkston received $3,000. This program provides cultural orientation, civic education and language skills to 45 Somali Bantu women to ease their transition into American society. Continued language experience (ESL) will be offered for half of the participants while the other half organize a cooperative child day care for participants.
Somali Community Radio of Clarkston received $3,000. Broadcasting in the Somali native language is supported. Education and opportunities for employment, training, health care and civic participation are available on Qaran Radio. This radio station serves the growing Somali refugee community, which has difficulty accessing basic health, legal and employment services. Assistance for 18 programming hours is given.
Women’s Watch Afrika—Community Education on Poverty Alleviation program received $3,500. Educational sessions are provided for refugee women on human rights, economic opportunities, and healthcare. Classes aim to economically help refugee women and attempt to evaluate cultural norms. The program is multiplied through the community organizing efforts the women develop to bring the workshops to other communities.
Community Taskforce–Summer Youth Leadership Camp of Powder Springs received $2,500. This comprehensive one-week summer camp program for low-income youth in the Powder Springs area is developed for children ages 8-12. High school students serve as mentors, facilitators and counselors for the camp. Healthy choices and experiences are promoted. Leadership and creativity are emphasized as a means to decrease youth involvement in at-risk behaviors.
St. Vincent de Paul Society—House of Dreams program in Smyrna received $3,000. The House of Dreams is a transitional housing program for up to four homeless women at a time. Community skills are emphasized through living responsibilities, including preparation and maintaining employment and financial skills. Weekly house meetings afford development of internal conflict resolution skills and leadership.
In addition to the parish and community grants, two national CCHD grants, each for $40,000, were also awarded to Georgia programs.
People of Hope of Athens received a national grant. A non-profit organization working to develop Georgia’s first permanently affordable, resident-designed and resident-controlled mobile home community, People of Hope was founded by low-income families who have been displaced as mobile home parks have shut down.
Georgia Avenue Community Ministries also received a national CCHD grant. Georgia Avenue Ministries brings together a diverse group of people in a unique urban Atlanta setting, providing a number of basic but essential services for low-income individuals and families. This includes the Georgia Avenue Food Cooperatives, four food cooperatives, each consisting of about 50 low-income households, who work together to collect and distribute groceries they can afford.