Catholic Charties Updates

Pictured: Theresa Mormino and Jean Dresley cut the ribbon to open Gabriel’s Closet for new moms and children.

Gabriel’s Closet Opens; New Immigration Specialist & Financial Education Coordinator

It has been a busy summer for Catholic Charities! Our continued growth is allowing us to expand both our range of services and the number of people we are able to help.

In June we had a perfect day for the ribbon cutting for Gabriel’s Closet. Bishop Duca blessed this new program just before Jean Dresley and Theresa Mormino cut the ribbon and officially opened the shop for low-income new moms and their small children. The large crowd enthusiastically entered the beautifully appointed and well-stocked room. The many volunteers, donors and friends of Gabriel’s Closet made this all possible after weeks of hard work and preparation. Two of our earliest and strongest supporters were Dee Allen and her mother, Ann Calhoun. Their gifts enabled us to begin transforming the former chapel with paint, new flooring and store fixtures. One of our most faithful volunteers, Cedric Pickney, along with Michelle Valentine and others, painted, sorted, stocked and got the room looking like a fine infant shop. If you would like to work in the shop, donate items, teach classes, or perhaps even mentor a new mom, please let us know.

Our Immigration Integration Center is also growing and we welcome Briana Bianca as our newest immigration specialist and case manager. She will be working with Guiel Hausen to provide services to even more of our immigration clients. Briana received her law degree from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU, and she also has done post-graduate studies in social work. Her skills, education, and compassion for our clients provide the perfect combination needed for this very special work. We are seeking volunteers who want to work as case managers for our immigration clients, helping them one-on-one.

We also welcome Carl Piehl as our financial education coordinator. Financial education is a key component of our Family Strengthening Program. Carl will be coordinating a series of four classes that cover budgeting, the wise use of credit and beginning asset-building. This is the type of information that many of our clients need in order to have more stability in their home life and more hope for their future and for their children. Carl will also be recruiting and working with volunteers who want to coach/mentor our clients.

We hope to expand these programs throughout the Diocese of Shreveport, so if you are interested in volunteering or supporting these programs, please contact Catholic Charities at 318-865-0200.

by Anita Crafts

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