Called Upon to Improve Lives

Called Upon to Improve Lives

For Matt and Susan Byers, Catholic Charities holds a special place in their hearts and for Susan personally, it’s a piece of a family’s legacy. Susan watched her parents, Richard and Karen Spencer, contribute their time and resources to Catholic Charities when she was young; she worked with her grandmother at the Catholic Charities Food Pantry, Loaves and Fishes, in Southern California for several years as a young adult; her brother, Steven Spencer, sits on the board of directors at Catholic Charities; and Susan herself is an active member and past-president of the Ministers of Presence Guild that promotes and supports the mission and work of Catholic Charities year-round through special events and volunteer service.

(more…)

Donor Stories – Mike and Joan Conway

Donor Stories

Donor Stories – Mike and Joan Conway

Every client, volunteer and donor has a story when they walk through the doors of Catholic Charities. Though all different, they all have one thing in common – a core belief in the importance of helping those in need and the effect it has on one’s life. It’s those core beliefs that bring people together and for Mike and Joan Conway, it’s resulted in a decades-long commitment. (more…)

Impact Story 2

“I was a drug addict in a residential treatment program and came to Catholic Charities in the Fall of 2016 looking for help. It was not an easy path to get there and 2015 was especially hard for me. My 25 year old son died in a motorcycle accident, my boyfriend left me when I enrolled in a treatment program, and I suffered a massive heart attack all in the same year.

With the support from another recovering addict, I enrolled in classes at Catholic Charities and I let my heart and mind be open to the possibilities. In two weeks, I learned basic computer skills and received job readiness training. In two months, I received a certificate for a job readiness course, passed the TAPE assessment test, passed 1 of 4 GED tests, and received a certificate of RADT (registered alcohol and drug technician).

I also started a Facebook support group for those grieving the loss of family members. Now less than one year later, I’ve completed 3 courses at Catholic Charities, obtained my GED, and am looking at taking actual college courses at Fresno City College. I’ve also landed a full time job as a JOB TITLE and can only describe the past year in these simple words… Impossible to I’m possible.”

Impact Story

An Associate’s Degree but no job– that’s what I had before taking the Office Preparation class at the Catholic Charities Career & Education Center. I had graduated from college several years before, and the only work experience I had was as a field laborer. Who would’ve hired me? I lost both my motivation and my direction in life. If not for this class, I would have still been lost. That was before I took the Office Preparation class. I was receiving food services from Catholic Charities and there it was– a flyer posted on the classroom doors. I applied to the class and soon started attending.

I also began volunteering at Catholic Charities at around the same time. Through the class and volunteering, I have gained many, many work-applicable office skills and work experience. I’m glad that I took the Office Preparation class – like the snowball effect, I have gained momentum in my life. Because of the class, I am now attending Fresno City College to earn my Office Professional I and II certificates. I am also working for the Fresno Unified School District as a Classified Substitute. Because of this class, I now have a concrete, positive vision for my future.

Season Changes

Dear Friends in Christ,

As the season changes and the blossoms start to bloom, we feel a sense of renewal upon us here and are hopeful about the year ahead. We have seen many new faces at Catholic Charities over the past 12 months, mainly due to the economy and life circumstances. The face we’re speaking of is one who comes from a hard working class family but has had a difficult time trying to find work and can’t quite make it to the end of the month. (more…)