Catholic Charities Newsletter

May 2017 

From the Director’s Desk

As a licensed mental health counselor for nearly 20 years, I have personally witnessed the tremendous value that professional counseling can offer to people struggling with daily stress, the loss of a loved one or a traumatic event. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I want to take this opportunity to share with you the unique treatment provided by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. 
One in five Americans experience a mental illness in a given year. Research demonstrates that faith can be an invaluable factor in the process of instilling and facilitating positive coping, psychological well-being, and resilience for clients for whom faith is a significant part of their lives. Catholic Charities counselors specialize in integrating faith into their mental health treatment. A counselor may integrate prayer into the counseling session, or encourage participation in religious events or increase visits to places of worship. This is what makes Catholic Charities unique and differentiates us from other mental health providers in our communities. Faith is part of our daily lives, thus part of our coping and healing with mental illness. 
Mental health counseling provides individuals, couples, and families the ability to address challenges before they become a crisis, helping to maintain emotional health and strengthen relationships. Often, major problems can be avoided through early intervention, and discovering new ways to deal with daily struggles. 
If you are interested in learning more about Catholic Charities counseling services or to schedule an appointment, please call 800.772.2758. 
God bless,

Tracy Morrison, Executive Director


Job Readiness Class Launches in Cedar Rapids

Knowing that the most effective way to help an individual move from poverty to self-sufficiency is to increase their income through employment, Catholic Charities has developed a new five week employment assistance program for refugees. This training’s curriculum includes topics such as basic employment language, identifying US currency/colors/numbers, concepts related to work schedules, budgeting, filing and more. Interpretation services are available for participants for this English immersion class.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month 

Catholic Charities has 9 counselors across the Archdiocese of Dubuque that provided mental health counseling to over 4,300 clients last year. Eighty six percent of these clients reported feeling either better or much better as a result of counseling. Catholic Charities provides this service to anyone in need, regardless of faith backgrounds or inability to pay. Eighty percent of our clients who seek mental health services do not have insurance, and therefore pay on an income-based sliding fee scale. Last year, Catholic Charities provided over $529,000 in “Charity Care” counseling to those who had limited incomes. 
Per Lynne Lutze, Clinical Director, “As therapists, we strive to deliver the best possible treatment for those in need and offer a wide range of therapeutic modalities for our clients.”

Thank you to YAPPERS, youth area philanthropists from the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque (pictured below), that awarded our Mental Health Counseling program a $1000 grant this month to fund therapeutic intervention tools for our play therapy room!
Local Businesses Give Back
Catholic Charities was honored to be a non-profit that received assistance during Dubuque Days of Caring. This event provides volunteers to help area charities & organizations and their clients complete service projects that they may not be able to accomplish on their own. 

Alliant Energy’s team worked to trim all the trees at Kennedy Park West, Catholic Charities’ family housing complex in Dubuque. The Alliant Energy Foundation also awarded Kennedy Park West a $1000 grant to fund outdoor furniture for families that live there to upgrade the playground/park area.
Volunteers from Fidelity Bank and US Bank (pictured below) also completed landscaping projects at Kennedy Park West.


Executive Director recognized with Women of Achievement Award  

On April 20th, at the Women’s Leadership Network Women of Achievement Award ceremony, Tracy Morrison (right), was recognized with an award in the “Service & Support of Non-Profit Work” category. There were a total of 40 women nominated in six different categories; only two awards were given out in each category.
Tracy has been the Executive Director of Catholic Charities since January 2009. She has a Master’s degree in Counseling and is licensed in Iowa and Illinois. She is a National Certified Counselor and has spent her entire career working for nonprofits advocating for those in need. Tracy has led initiatives for Catholic Charities to increase outreach services and build partnerships to impact the organization’s ability to reduce poverty, strengthen families and empower local communities.

Catholic Charities Awareness Luncheon held in Cedar Falls


On April 26, Catholic Charities hosted an awareness luncheon that drew over 130 people from local parishes as well as other community organizations and volunteers. Archbishop Michael Jackels was the keynote speaker and Executive Director, Tracy Morrison, shared Catholic Charities services and impact created in the Cedar Valley area. Thank you to Jackson’s International Auctioneers and Appraisers, Cedar Falls, Iowa for sponsoring this luncheon on behalf of Catholic Charities. James Jackson has been on the board of directors for Catholic Charities for 8 years.


Harvest of Blessings Grants Announced 

Through the generosity of many individual contributions this past Thanksgiving season, the Archdiocese of Dubuque is happy to announce funding for 32 parish and Catholic school-based projects ranging from food bank programs to service trips and outreach programs for families in need. Harvest of Blessings has been a positive move towards building bridges between those in need and supportive communities, specifically local parishes.  A total of $19,729 was raised through private donations and will be redistributed as matching grants of up to $500 per parish or Catholic school for projects that demonstrate the program’s main goals of supporting initiatives that address poverty reduction, create systemic change and encourage relationships among those in need and supportive communities. 
Harvest of Blessings has been a program of the Archdiocese of Dubuque for many years and was historically known for holiday season financial support to individuals.  In an effort to refocus the long-standing program toward the original goals of building ongoing relationships between individuals in need and their parish, and to reach a broader geographic area of the Archdiocese, the matching grant program was initiated in 2014.  This approach allows parishes to make local decisions about how to support those in need in their parish and the broader communities they serve.  By pooling Harvest of Blessings funds with the parishes’ own funds, more help may be provided in a more meaningful way.

To see the list of grant projects awarded, please visit our website 2017 Harvest of Blessing Awards are so grateful for the committed volunteers that help us create impact for those in need in all of our ministries. The number of people involved in our volunteer services program has increased by 47% in the past 2 years.Thank you to the over 200 volunteers that contributed over 10,000 hours to our agency last fiscal year. 

Volunteer of the Month Joy Lippstock
Joy, picture with Bill Hickson (Jail & Prison Ministry program coordinator) has served as a volunteer for the Jail & Prison Ministry program with Catholic Charities for almost 4 years. 
Joy states, “I’ll be 85 in October and it is so important to stay active. I enjoy being able to give support to people that have made mistakes in life. They all have so much potential and they need someone to give them a hand in working their way back up the ladder.” 
Joy is a regular at drug court, being there to listen and support clients in the program each week. She has also participated in six different Circles of Support and Accountability groups, which meet regularly to support an ex-offender as they works towards re-entry into community life. Thank you, Joy, for your dedication to helping serve those in need.
If you would like to volunteer with Catholic Charities, please contact Agnes Kress, Volunteer Coordinator, at 319-272-2080 or or click here to see our current volunteer opportunities.