|Camila Valencia (left) and Meg Campos (right) of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky Source: Catholic News|
To help facilitate outreach to women in Hispanic communities across central Kentucky, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Lexington were awarded a grant by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.
“I really believe it is a work of God,” said Camila Valencia, the new bilingual program coordinator for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Lexington. “You feel safe and welcome.”
Catholic Charities Interim Director, Meg Campos, said, “Our goal is to empower women to have more of a voice in their communities, their children’s schools, and when advocating for their families. Many of these women are raising their children in a community or society that’s different from the one in which they were raised.”
The grant will provide funding to the Centro de San Juan Diego, a new apostolate of the Lexington Diocese spearheaded by Deacon Jim and Dot Bennett. Nestled in the heart of a community within walking distance of 10,000 Spanish-speakers the Centro de San Juan Diego seeks to be an inclusive community where all can belong.
“There are additional challenges for immigrants because of language barriers, cultural customs, fears and prejudices, and other differences. The center is a place people can go that is trustworthy,” said Mary Ortwein, a mental health counselor who volunteers her time.
Valencia, who has a background in healthcare, hopes that with the increased funding she will be able to develop a directory of community partners that can provide assistance in empowering families across a diverse cross section of issues such as: physical health and preventative care, social and emotional wellness, faith formation and children’s activities, finance and education, and maintaining healthy relationships and peaceful families.
Valencia said, “A person has to have housing, health care and social services. That leads to good health, employment and stable support.”
By focusing on women, Catholic Charities is hoping to increase the stability of families with young children where women are the primary care providers.
Source: Catholic News