A look at Catholic Charities Haitian Multi-Service Center
Recognizing the complex challenges that refugees and immigrants often face, the Haitian Multiservices Center offers comprehensive support services and case management unique to clients’ needs.
May marks Haitian Heritage Month in the United States, a celebration first held in 1998 right here in the city of Boston. Nearly a quarter of a century later, it’s now a cherished tradition celebrated in cities across the country, resulting in Haitian food festivals, vibrant art exhibits and bustling flag parades.
Catholic Charities Boston has long recognized the importance of honoring both Haiti’s rich culture and history and offering support to our most needy Haitian brothers and sisters. In 1978, the Center multiservices haïtien was founded to meet the needs of a rapidly growing number of Haitian refugees. The center is housed within the Catholic Charities’ Yawkey Center in Dorchester and serves Haitian families in the communities of Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. People of all ages, faiths and backgrounds come to the center for a wide range of services – from pantry and assistance with basic needs to educational opportunities and childcare.
Recognizing the complex challenges that refugees and immigrants often face, the Haitian Multiservices Center offers comprehensive support services and case management unique to clients’ needs. Services range from helping newcomers complete SNAP assistance forms to providing emergency rental, fuel and counseling services. Many people come to the center for a specific need and then discover other programs, all designed to move clients from crisis to empowerment.
One such program is the Adult Basic Education (GED/HiSET) and English as a Second Language (ESOL) classes offered free of charge at the center for those ages 18 and older. Approximately 325 students are enrolled each year and participate in social services, ESOL, math, reading, writing, science, and social studies classes.
“We are committed to meeting the needs of every student and creating an environment where all students thrive,” said Phillip Howard, director of adult education at Center Multiservices Haitien. “So our successes come whenever a student is able to get a new job or promotion because their English has improved or when a student passes their GED. We believe we’ve been successful when they leave the program more ready to meet life’s challenges.”
Entering a new country can be especially difficult for those with young children. Yawkey’s Konbit Kreyol Daycare offers a year-round multicultural childcare program. In addition to a comprehensive program designed to stimulate the creativity, independence and imagination of young students, Yawkey educators also set aside time for children to enjoy nutritious meals and recreational games.
Above all else, Center multiservices haïtien is committed to respecting the dignity of its clients by ensuring that each person it works with has their basic needs met. Whatever it looks like – groceries from the pantry, financial support, or a referral to a shelter – it is, in one form or another, a message of hope.
The Haitian proverb “Lespwa fe viv” translates to “Hope brings life”, while the Haitian expression “Ansanm nou fo” translates to “Together we are strong”. This month, and every month, Catholic Charities Boston strives to be a beacon of hope for those in need, working with our clients to help them live life as fully as possible.
To learn more about how you can help make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in need, please visit www.ccab.org.
SHANNON LYONS IS PR AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER FOR CATHOLIC CHARITIES IN BOSTON.
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