Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Catholic Charities Of Atlanta Programs

Published August 3, 2006

Community Outreach Centers

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Inc. offers a broad spectrum of services to address the needs of low-income families in local communities. The ultimate goal of its Community Outreach Centers is to help low-income families achieve economic self-sufficiency and to enhance the overall quality of their lives.

“Our Community Outreach Centers are in a strong growth phase. We have more people than we can serve. We need more of everything!”

Carmen Quezada, Community Outreach Center program director


Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Atlanta operates six outreach centers throughout North Georgia in Athens, Dalton, Gainesville, midtown Atlanta, Cobb and DeKalb counties. An estimated 95 percent of the people served are Latino and speak Spanish as their first language. All services are offered in English and Spanish and are provided at no cost. Programs include: information and referral to community agencies; English as a Second Language and Spanish computer classes; and assistance with job lists and referrals. Additional services are provided depending on the need of the community, such as Parent School Partnership to engage Latino parents in their teenagers’ scholastic success and a gang prevention program that provides positive alternatives to gang involvement.


In 2005, the Community Outreach Centers served:

  • 904 students through English as a Second Language classes,
  • 2,967 new clients through information and referral services,
  • 4,440 people through office visits, and
  • 17,768 people through phone contacts.

Staff members in the Latino Educational Outreach Program helped nine high school graduates apply for college and scholarships and provided the Parent School Partnership Program to 70 parents.

Current Needs

  • ESL instructors and assistants.
  • Volunteers, including bilingual volunteers, to help with office work, GED and computer classes.
  • Volunteers in Cobb County to help replenish a local food pantry.
  • Computers for classes that teach job skills.
  • Additional funding for financial assistance.

Contact Information

Cobb County Community Outreach Center

  • Information & referral services
  • Employment referrals
  • Support & assistance on social issues
  • English as a Second Language
  • The Center for Family Resources
    995 Roswell St., NE, Suite 314
    Marietta, GA 30060-2151
    Phone: (770) 429-2369, Fax: (770) 792-8002
  • Patricia Henao, Director

DeKalb County Community Outreach Center

  • Information & referral services
  • Employment referrals
  • Support & assistance on social issues
  • English as a Second Language
  • Computer classes
  • 1961 N. Druid Hills Road, Suite 205b
    Atlanta, GA 30329
    Phone: (678) 904-8071, Fax: (404) 321-2911
  • Pedro Martinez, Director

Midtown Community Outreach Center

  • Information & referral services
  • Employment referrals
  • Support & assistance on social issues
  • English as a Second Language
  • Catholic Center
    680 W. Peachtree St., NW
    Atlanta, GA 30308
    Phone: (404) 885-7487, Fax: (404) 888-7816
  • Felipe Perez, Case Manager

Athens Community Outreach Center

  • Information & referral services
  • Employment referrals
  • Support & assistance on social issues
  • English as a Second Language
  • Bilingual counseling
  • 119 Sycamore Drive, Suite 3
    Athens, GA 30606
    Mail: P.O. Box 504, Athens, GA 30603
    Phone: (706) 548-9421, Fax: (706) 548-3897
  • Stella Sailors, Director

Gainesville Community Outreach Center

  • Information & referral services
  • Employment referrals
  • Support & assistance on social issues
  • Immigration services
  • Bilingual counseling
  • The Community Service Center
    430 Prior St., SE, Suite 300
    Gainesville, GA 30501
    Phone: (770) 534-3337, Fax: (770) 534-3332
  • Lana Fuentes-Krummen, Director

Dalton Community Outreach Center

  • Information & referral services
  • Employment referrals
  • Support & assistance on social issues
  • St. Joseph Church
    1775 Haig Mill Road
    Dalton, GA 30720
    Phone: (706) 278-3107, ext. 106, Fax: (706) 278-6902
  • Anthony Rodriguez, Director

Pregnancy, Parenting & Adoption Services

Pregnancy, Parenting & Adoption Services provides free professional counseling to assist individuals and families with making decisions, solving problems and setting goals. Trained and caring staff members offer encouragement, support and guidance as pregnant women carry their babies to term. They also connect clients with needed resources in the community.

“Moms call in crisis and we respond. We have a lot of passion for what we do. We have the experience and skills to provide the best possible service and care.”

Sheila Reynolds Smith, director of the Pregnancy, Parenting & Adoption Services


The Pregnancy, Parenting & Adoption Services program offers intensive one-on-one parent education and support through home visits and modeling as well as mentor relationships. Services are offered to high-risk families in both Spanish and English.

The Adoption Program is a cooperative, open adoption service, meaning that adoptive and birth families have some sort of long-term, ongoing relationship. Adoption services also include ongoing education and support, counseling, support groups and mentoring relationships.

The Wings program is a mentoring program in which a pregnant woman is matched with a volunteer in her community. She receives emotional support, guidance and assistance throughout her pregnancy.


A federal grant made possible a new successful initiative to empower and educate healthcare professionals throughout Georgia on promoting adoption as a positive option to pregnant clients.

The agency placed 19 babies in its open adoption program.

The arrival of two very strong bilingual staff members.

In 2005, about 140 low-income families received baby supplies.

Staff members held 216 home-based parenting classes.

Current Needs

Continued funding of its initiative to educate healthcare providers on how to present adoption as an option for pregnant women to consider.

Increased funding for the Parenting Program to provide home-based services to more families. There is currently a waiting list of families requesting services.

Volunteers to serve as mentors to women during their pregnancies and beyond.

Baby supplies, including gift cards.

Contact Information

To volunteer or for information on Pregnancy, Parenting & Adoption Services, call (404) 885-7275.

Immigration Services

Immigration Services provides low-cost legal representation in front of the U.S. Immigration Services and the Board of Immigration Appeals. It deals with immigration related areas such as family-based petitions, asylum, work permits, naturalization, and immigration relief for abused spouses of legal permanent residents and U.S. citizens, as well as many other areas of immigration law.

“We can’t even begin to touch the need—even if we had 20 lawyers. We have to make some really hard decisions on who to take on. … We have 2,000 open cases for four attorneys.”

Sue Colussy, Immigration Services program director


The Immigration Services office exists to provide legal representation to individuals and families that cannot afford the services of a private attorney. New clients will be screened to see if they financially qualify for services. Services, therefore, are limited to persons only under 125 percent of the poverty level. Fees are charged for most of the services that the office provides and are based on household income.

Please note that the office does not process employment visas or student visas. Student visas are best handled by designated school officers. Individuals living in North Carolina and South Carolina will be referred to services in those states.


The Atlanta Bar Association awarded Sue Colussy, program director for Immigration Services of Catholic Charities of Atlanta, the 2005 Liberty Bell Award.

Catholic Charities of Atlanta’s Immigration Services received funding through the American Bar Association to conduct a program aimed at increasing the involvement of the Atlanta legal community in the representation of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees and applicants for political asylum.

Current Needs

  • Volunteers to help manage files.
  • Bilingual translators, particularly those who speak Spanish, French, Russian, Creole and Chinese.

Contact Information

For information on program offerings or to help in any way, call (404) 885-7454.

Parish & Social Justice Ministries

The mission of Parish & Social Justice Ministries is to connect with the spirit and increase the potential of each community to address economic, spiritual, physical and emotional poverty, as members of God’s family.

“I see the mission of this department as helping connect people with the resources and relationships needed to respond to the divine invitation to love and be loved. This response is vital to our own growth and transformation, our neighbors’ growth and transformation and, ultimately, the growth and transformation of the global family made in God’s image and likeness.”

Susan Stevenot Sullivan, director of Parish & Social Justice Ministries


Parish & Social Justice Ministries is the only program focused specifically on ministry within Catholic Charities of Atlanta. Staff members work to provide resources and educational opportunities to parishioners, archdiocesan and parish staff, and the larger community on many issues, such as immigration, in the light of Catholic social teaching. The staff assists parishes in starting parish social ministries or justice and peace ministries, as well as advocate for social policies that affect poor and vulnerable people in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

The program includes prison ministry and, recently, development of a ministry to senior citizens. The staff manages local efforts in the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which includes a portion of the national collection used as local development grants. Also under its umbrella is directing support and dispersal of information from Catholic Relief Services, the international human development and emergency assistance organization of the Catholic community. CRS’ Operation Rice Bowl collection during Lent is used locally to address poverty, particularly the needs of refugees fleeing to North Georgia.


Parish & Social Justice Ministries organizes the annual Good Friday Urban Stations of the Cross during Lent.

Nine parish teams formed re-entry programs to help those newly released from prison.

Groups within the Archdiocese of Atlanta received funds through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development: two national groups received $80,000; 11 local groups received $33,000; and seven parish groups received $7,000.

Current Needs

Input from parishes with an active ministry for senior citizens. Parish staff and parishioners are encouraged to share their insights in this area of ministry by contacting Regina Harris, who is developing an archdiocesan approach to this important population.

Volunteers with experience in the areas of social justice and Catholic social teaching to serve on a speakers bureau.

Contact Information

For information on the Jail & Prison Ministry, please call Jim Powers at (404) 885-7265. Contact Regina Harris with information or suggestions concerning ministry to senior citizens at (404) 885-7449. For other inquiries, call Susan Stevenot Sullivan, ministry director, at (404) 885-7208.

Emergency Assistance Program

The Emergency Assistance Program came into existence following the devastation incurred from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The experience brought to light the need for the Atlanta Archdiocese, through Catholic Charities of Atlanta, to have an ongoing agency to continue to help those affected by the hurricanes as well as to plan for emergencies that may come in the future.

“A lot of (evacuees) in the area have expressed that there is nothing for them to go back to in New Orleans—no jobs, the economy is bad and their houses have been destroyed. The majority love Atlanta. We hope with our assistance that the Katrina families will live a normal life again and regain their place in society.”

Carolyn Gilliard, manager of the Emergency Assistance Program


The Emergency Assistance Program connects Hurricane Katrina evacuees with services to assist in efforts to rebuild their lives. Programs include the Fannie Mae Housing Program for Katrina and Rita evacuees, which provides qualified clients with a foreclosed Fannie Mae home for 18 months rent free. Clients have the option to buy the property at the end of the rental period. The Katrina families will be offered housing counseling as they approach their 18-month mark, as they will be eligible to purchase the homes. This program often takes 1-2 months to process and is not a solution for people at risk of homelessness in the immediate future. Families with children take priority for this program.

The Emergency Assistance Program also administers the Catholic Charities USA direct assistance money for evacuees who need help with rent and utilities. Other programs include providing counseling for families and children undergoing emotional stress.

The Emergency Assistance Program will also refer the Katrina families to other services they need such as employment, job training, childcare, mental health needs and appropriate services for the aged and disabled. In addition, the Emergency Assistance Program conducts comprehensive case management for the Katrina families and acts as an advocate on their behalf with FEMA. Catholic Charities staff members ensure that the families are fully represented and receive everything for which they are eligible.


In 2005 Catholic Charities of Atlanta assembled staff, resources and know-how to become an emergency relief provider following hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Catholic Charities USA has awarded its local affiliate with $760,000 in grant money to date to aid in servicing the needs of evacuees.

The United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta awarded Catholic Charities of Atlanta a $150,000 grant.

Approximately 6,300 families have received emergency assistance from Catholic Charities of Atlanta.

Current Needs

  • Continued funding.
  • More case workers for responding to and processing requests.
  • More volunteers to provide services to people displaced by natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

Contact Information

For counseling services, call (404) 321-2900. Clients who need appointments must call Sister Jeanne Urschel, CSJ, at (404) 885-7448. Appointments are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Please note that it takes about 10 business days to receive a call back.

Migration & Refugee Services

This program provides resettlement services to newly arrived refugees in Atlanta, as well as a broad range of support services to help empower refugee families.

“We handle only family reunification cases where clients have some family or close friend here, but these anchor families are often just trying to survive themselves.”

Lina Rodriguez, Migration & Refugee program director


The Reception and Placement Program handles the settling of refugees into their new environment, which includes orchestrating their housing, ESL classes, job training and placement and help with the naturalization process, among other things.

A social adjustment grant serves elderly refugees in areas such as transportation, retirement assistance and health-related issues.

The Refugee Children School Impact Grant helps to orient refugee families entering the school system by providing parents with an understanding of the educational structure in the United States and the importance of their children’s education in general.


In 2005, 97 refugees and 15 asylees were served along with clients from previous years.

Migration & Refugee Services received funding through the Refugee Children School Impact Grant to continue serving refugee families in Fulton County with children entering preschool to high school. Its aim is to educate parents on the school system, provide ESL classes as well as basic instruction in parenting.

During the summer of 2006, 25 immigrant children and their parents attended the first summer camp offered by Migration & Refugee Services.

About 150 people, including many clients, attended the first Refugee Day Celebration—a day of food, entertainment and fundraising.

Current Needs

Parishes and individuals to sponsor or help refugee families with the needs of daily living, from finding furniture for their homes to helping children with their homework.

Volunteers to help with administrative needs and who may be able to offer direct support services.

Volunteer ESL instructors and assistants, particularly those in Fulton County where many of the refugees have settled.

Individuals or groups interested in its fundraising efforts.

Contact Information

For information on program offerings or to help in any way, contact Lina Rodriguez at (404) 885-7464.

Village of St. Joseph Counseling Services

The Village of St. Joseph Counseling Services offers individual, couples, family, children, adolescent, and group counseling provided by highly qualified, professional counselors.

Problems that are routinely addressed and resolved include marital and family conflict, adolescent issues, depression, anxiety and stress, as well as the difficulties that are encountered in different life stages.

“Our clients come from many different backgrounds, but in our counseling we try to remain consistent with the Catholic view of the human person, which corresponds with Natural Law and protects human dignity, the institution of marriage and the central role of the family in society.”

Ann Howe, director of St. Joseph Village Counseling Services


The Village of St. Joseph Counseling Services offers bilingual services out of its main office on North Druid Hills Road in Atlanta and at nine outreach locations. Those interested may schedule confidential consultations with professional counselors during the day or in the evening at various parishes located throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area and in North Georgia.

A standard fee is charged. However, adjustments may be made on the basis of personal financial need. Health insurance or employee assistance programs may also apply. No one will be turned away for financial reasons.

Groups may also arrange for seminars and presentations on issues relating to acculturation, parenting, couples communication, substance abuse and on other topics.


Counselors quickly mobilized to offer counseling to those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Later, Village counselors set up support groups and received a grant from United Way to cover some of the costs of counseling evacuees.

In 2005 close to 2,200 clients were served in 29 counties in Georgia.

Twenty-eight parishes and five outreach centers provide counseling services through the Village of St. Joseph Counseling Services.

As most psychotherapists are trained in secular institutions, staff members periodically meet to formally discuss how to provide counseling that is consistent with Catholic teachings.

To further strengthen a Catholic identity at its main office, arrangements are being made to fashion a chapel on the premises.

A $1,000 grant from the Adlerian Society allowed for the introduction of play therapy into the counseling program for young children.

Current Needs

Extending more services, including play therapy, to school-age and younger children.

To be able to offer more services to the west and south sides of the archdiocese.

To increase funding, particularly for offering early intervention programs for drug and alcohol abuse.

Funding for more educational opportunities to address issues such as domestic violence, particularly in the Hispanic community, and handling peer pressure and promoting chastity among the youth.

Contact Information

For information on program offerings or to help in any way, contact the main office at (404) 321-2900.