New Partnership Provides Wellness Care for Joseph’s Home Residents

When a resident is admitted to Joseph’s Home, the stress and pain of his situation doesn’t disappear overnight. That’s why mental and emotional health care are equally as important as the medical care Joseph’s Home residents receive. Thanks to a generous grant from the Woodruff Foundation, Joseph’s Home is pleased to welcome the Centers for Families and Children (CFC) as the new contracted provider of wellness care for Joseph’s Home residents.

Counselor Curtis Donald (right) meets with a Joseph's Home resident

Counselor Curtis Donald (right) meets with a Joseph’s Home resident

The Wellness Program provides Joseph’s Home residents with access to high quality mental and emotional health care. CFC Licensed Counselor Curtis Donald is on site at Joseph’s Home a couple days each week to perform assessments, group sessions and individual counseling.

 “Homelessness is a huge stressor in its own right, and frequently compounds pre-existing mental or emotional health issues. Managing those issues is vital to our resident’s ability to succeed in their transition to independence,” said Joseph’s Home Executive Director Georgette Jackson.

 “My mission is to help the residents develop the ability to safely interact with others and to develop a routine for wellness enhancement,” said Donald.

Donald preaches the benefits of holistic wellness and addresses a broad range of topics in his interactions with Joseph’s Home residents. Subjects covered include: stress management, social skills development, resiliency skills building, healthy relationships, coping skills and anger management.

Joseph’s Home is deeply grateful to the Woodruff Foundation and CFC for their partnership in providing residents with the wellness care they need to rebound from homelessness.

A (Veteran’s) Life Transformed

Monday November 11 is Veterans Day. Please remember to honor and thank the brave men and women who have served our country.

Joseph’s Home considers it a privilege to help homeless veterans recover their health and heal their lives. Today we salute one of our most recent veteran graduates.

Mr. Dorgan is a longtime restaurant worker and U.S. Air Force veteran. He lost the job he loved just weeks after the 2008 housing market crash and just two months after the sudden death of his mother.

Unable to find full-time work in a tough job market, he became homeless earlier this year. Compounding his challenges, he had a recurrence of bladder cancer that had been in remission since 1996.

He alternated between a bed in the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center and a homeless shelter for several months while he underwent two surgeries and received chemotherapy. Because of his medical needs, Joseph’s Home was recommended as the right place for Mr. Dorgan to recover his health and heal his life, and he was admitted in June.

Since beginning another round of chemo in September, Mr. Dorgan’s health has stabilized and he has a positive prognosis. The Joseph’s Home staff helped him find an apartment within easy walking distance of the VA Medical Center and he got his keys last week.

Fall 2013 Newsletter

Fall 2013 Newsletter

Residents Keep Their Cool With New Air Conditioning


For years the residents, staff and board of Joseph’s Home have longed for the day when all resident rooms and common areas would have air conditioning. On sweltering summer days, the indoor temperatures in many rooms can become uncomfortably high, which creates an unnecessary challenge for residents who need rest and reduced stress to heal.

Thanks to generous funding support from The Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Foundation, The Higley Fund, a supporting organization of the Cleveland Foundation, and The Nord Family Foundation, that dream is now a blissfully cool reality.

Over the course of a month, a contractor installed necessary electrical upgrades before cooling units were installed in the walls of each room. Their installation required cutting holes through exterior walls for each unit. On August 5, 2013 the units began cooling residents.

See pictures of the work in progress on our Facebook page. Look for more photos and details about this project in our Fall 2013 newsletter.

Joseph’s Home Announces 2013 Benefit Luncheon

Cleveland, Ohio (May 17, 2013) – Joseph’s Home, the only Northeast Ohio organization with the sole mission of helping severely ill homeless men recover their health and stabilize their lives, will hold its signature annual fundraising event Thursday, June 27 at 11:30 a.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel Cleveland Downtown—Lakeside. Dick Russ, former WKYC and WJW television news anchor and current vice president of resource development for North Coast Community Homes, will deliver the keynote address at the event, which is titled “Perseverance in Hope: The 2013 Joseph’s Home Benefit Luncheon.”

In addition to Mr. Russ’ keynote address, Joseph’s Home will present its Community Partnership Award to Catholic Charities and share stories of men whose lives have been changed at Joseph’s Home. The benefit luncheon is open to the public. Tickets begin at $50 and are available for purchase at Sponsorship opportunities begin at $500 and are also available for purchase at

Event: Perseverance in Hope: The 2013 Joseph’s Home Benefit Luncheon
When:Thursday, June 27 at 11:30 a.m.
Where:DoubleTree Hotel Cleveland Downtown, 1111 Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio
Why:The benefit luncheon is the signature annual fundraising event for Joseph’s Home
How:Purchase tickets for $50 at

For more information about Joseph’s Home or the benefit luncheon, contact Joseph’s Home Executive Director Georgette Jackson by email at [email protected] or by phone at 216. 685.1551.

About Joseph’s Home

Joseph’s Home, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, provides a nurturing, caring environment for men without resources who have acute medical needs, helping them heal and achieve independence. It is the only Northeast Ohio organization with the sole mission of helping severely ill homeless men recover their health and stabilize their lives.


Rebecca Gallant
Sisters of Charity Health System
216-696-8408 (office)
216-288-0239 (mobile)

[email protected]

Mural Brings New Life to Joseph’s Home Entryway

When Hawken School students offered to paint a mural at Joseph’s Home, someone had to decide what they would paint.

The students turned to the residents themselves. At a brainstorming meeting in early spring, the residents requested a floral theme. Thinking of themselves as seeds, they suggested that the flowers represent the growth and blossoming that happens in them during their time at Joseph’s Home.

Students from Hawken School and Chagrin Falls Park Community Center completed the painting over a period of several weeks. They were led by Hawken teacher Jack Breisch and his wife Mary Ann Breisch, who is a professional artist and education director at the community center.

The mural has significantly brightened the Joseph’s Home entryway. Joseph’s Home thanks Jack and Mary Ann Breisch and all the students who contributed to the mural project. Their painting is a constant reminder of the beauty that results when we find the right place to grow.

Entryway Mural
Pictured from left to right: Chagrin Falls Park Community Center Education Director Mary Ann Breisch, Chagrin Falls Park Community Center student Deameon Stewart, Chagrin Falls Park Community Center CAAP Coordinator Aaron Cephus and Jack Breisch.

Spring 2013 Newsletter

Spring 2013 Newsletter

2013 Feast of St. Joseph Celebration


On Tuesday, March 19 over 50 supporters and friends of Joseph’s Home gathered at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center to celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph and to recognize over 450 generous organizations, foundations and individuals who supported Joseph’s Home financially in 2012.

Father Neil Kookoothe of The Church of St. Clarence in North Olmsted officiated a Mass in honor of St. Joseph. Father Isidore Munishi of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and Father Michael Franz of St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church served as concelebrants. Danny O’Brien of The Church of St. Clarence served as musician.

In his homily, Father Kookothe looked to the altars at St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal for insight into St. Joseph’s life and legacy. One of those altars – Hope of the Sick – highlights his ministry of healing. Others such as Model of Workers and Consolation of the Afflicted point us to his concern for ordinary people and their suffering. The homily left all who heard it with an increased appreciation for St. Joseph and a deeper understanding of what a fitting namesake he is for Joseph’s Home.

After Mass, the guests enjoyed a breakfast reception with food provided by Metz Culinary Management.

The board, staff and residents of Joseph’s Home would like to thank Fr. Neil Kookoothe, Fr. Isidore Munishi, Fr. Michael Franz and Danny O’Brien for their help with the Mass. We would also like to thank Phil Begalla and his team from Metz Culinary Management for providing a great meal and outstanding service.

Most of all, we would like to thank our friends who support the healing mission of Joseph’s Home through their prayers, donations and volunteer service. We enjoyed our time with you and hope to see you again soon!

Sr. Joan Gallagher and Sr. Carole DeCrane
Sr. Joan Gallagher, CSA (Left) and Sr. Carole DeCrane, CSA, both of Lakewood

Marie and Andrew Hirsch
Marie and Andrew Hirsch of Strongsville

Sr. Sandy LoPorto, Sheryl Smith & Jean Shirtliff
From left to right: Joseph’s Home Staff Nurse Sr. Sandy LoPorto, SSJ-TOSF, Sheryl Smith of Cleveland Heights and Jean Shurtleff of Cleveland
Sr. Regina Fierman
Sr. Regina Fierman, CSA of Richfield
Sr. Jane Lab & Sr. Denise Stiles
Sr. Jane Lab, CSA (left) of Cleveland and Sr. Denise Styles, CSA of Ravenna
Audrey Fellows
Audrey Fellows of East Cleveland
Deb Zemanek and Kathleen Kowalski
Deb Zemanek (left) of Northfield and Kathleen Kowalski of North Ridgeville
Larry Kowalski and Mark Weidt
Larry Kowalski (left) of North Ridgeville and Mark Wiedt of Westlake
Sr.Theresa Bontempo and Teresa Andreani
Sr. Theresa Bontempo, CSA (left) of Cleveland and Teresa Andreani of Lakewood
Kay Vine and Sr. Marian Durkin
Kay Vine (left) of Bay Village and Sr. Marian Durkin, CSA of Lakewood
Frank Loiacono, Fr. Michael Franz & Fr. Isidore Munishi
From left to right: Frank Loiacono of Bay Village, Fr. Michael Franz of Cleveland and Fr. Isidore Munishi of Cleveland
Kathy Heigle, Nadine Ezzei & Helena Oroz
From left to right, Joseph’s Home board members Kathy Heigle (chair), Nadine Ezzie (secretary) and Helena Oroz

Partner Profile: Hawken High School Student Recounts His “Little Miracle” at Joseph’s Home

Adapted from Jacob Dennis’ paper, “A Little Miracle.”

Jacob DennisChilly December air greeted my face—but the cold wasn’t the reason I shivered as I carried my cello and music stand to the door of Joseph’s Home.

The day before, Mr. W., a former Joseph’s Home resident, having learned that I play cello, had proposed that we play some Christmas carols together for the residents. Although he was exuberant about the idea, I was more than a bit nervous. After all, here was this guy I barely knew asking me to play with him. Not knowing many Christmas carols on the cello by heart, I was unsure how we would sound and worried that a poor performance would crush his spirit—and possibly bruise my ego.

But his eagerness had prevailed. So here I was, very unsure of what would happen in the next couple of hours. After a few minutes of anxious waiting, Mr. W. arrived.

“Hey Jacob, where’s your stuff?” he asked brightly. “I brought my guitar and violin along, and some music.”

As we began to set up, Mr. W. couldn’t stop gushing about how excited he was. “Thanks for doing this. Do you have the music? You know, I built this violin myself. Got scrap parts and stuff.”

Getting out an old, cracked, weathered violin, he attempted to tune it. After struggling with the E string for a while, he handed it to me.

Gingerly, I picked up the violin. A large crack had developed along the rough front of the instrument; clearly, it was in dire need of professional care. Perhaps even reincarnation as a doorstop. I was doubtful that it could ever be properly tuned in its current state. The butterflies in my stomach multiplied.

“Ah, well,” I thought to myself. “Might as well try to fix this as well as I can.” I started to turn the peg, plucking as I turned to gauge the pitch. Plink. Plink. Plink. Pliiiaauunnnkk. The peg slipped, dropping the pitch a good half-octave.

“Yeah, you might have to spit in it to get it to stay,” Mr. W. suggested. Resolute, I began tightening the string again. Plink. Plink. Plink. TWANG! The string snapped. Mortified, I started apologizing profusely to Mr. W. “Ah, it’s all right,” he counseled. “I can play on the other three strings.” As he checked the tuning of the other strings, I went back to my cello. Embarrassed by having broken the string, I tried in vain to calm my nerves.

“This isn’t going to work out at all,” I thought to myself. “I’ve messed up his violin. We’re going to sound out of tune… oh, this is going to be awful and embarrassing for both of us.”

Fortunately, I was wrong.

Starting with “Amazing Grace,” Mr. W. and I each began to get a feel for how the other played. As he played a bluesy version of the melody, I attempted to harmonize. Bit by bit, we improved. Slowly, the knot of tension within my stomach began to dissolve. Mr. W., meanwhile, was absolutely ecstatic.

For a good two hours we played away, experimenting with Spanish music, some blues and a ton of improvisation. We made some missteps, but as time passed our styles blended in a way I never expected. Unfortunately, we had to stop when I was at risk of missing my bus. As we started to pack up, Mr. W. approached me, almost in tears.

“Thank you so much for this, Jacob,” he said. “I can’t say how much this means to me. Together, we sounded great. You know, last night I was nervous about doing this. I didn’t know if you wanted to do it or if we might sound bad. But you know what? We sounded great! Thanks.”

A little flustered by the sudden outpouring of emotion, I could only stammer that he was more than welcome, and he should feel free to call me if he wanted to do this again. Still surprised and slightly confused, I hurried towards the door. Had we really sounded that great?

I’m still not sure how we sounded. But I know something beautiful happened on that cold December day.

Jacob Dennis is a senior at Hawken School. He lives in Euclid and is a member of the Hawken Strings Orchestra.

A Life Transformed: Taking Care of Business

When Mr. Pisciotti arrived at Joseph’s Home in August 2012, he didn’t expect much. He was in desperate need of surgery and had no income or resources. He was less than a year into recovery from a gambling addiction that had wreaked havoc on his life. In his situation, any alternative to sleeping on the streets sounded good.

Mr. Pisciotti has spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal that causes pressure on the spinal cord. The condition causes debilitating numbness, weakness and pain. A surgery in 2008 to fuse the vertebrae in his neck was not successful. At 52, after years of work in food service, his body was no longer able to endure the strain of running a restaurant.

Compulsive gambling led to even greater loss, costing him two marriages and relationships with four of his five children. He came to Cleveland in 2011 seeking help from the gambling treatment program at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. Mr. Piscotti said the program saved his life. Because his problem was so severe, he went through the program twice. He then participated in a compensated work therapy program at the VA, where he could work on transitioning back to independent living.

But after a few months, symptoms from his spinal stenosis made the transition impossible. In need of a second surgery and without resources or family in the area, Mr. Piscotti had no idea where to go. His VA caseworker referred him to Joseph’s Home.

Mr. Pisciotti stayed at Joseph’s Home for nearly four months. He recuperated from surgery and planned a transition appropriate for his medical needs. The staff helped him find an affordable apartment on limited disability income. He attended multiple Gamblers Anonymous meetings weekly and continued his after-care program at the VA. A lapsed Catholic, he also resumed regular church attendance.

Today, Mr. Pisciotti lives independently and continues to be very involved in Gamblers Anonymous. He plans to return to college in the summer of 2013 to finish the 12 credit hours he needs to earn his bachelor’s degree in business, which will open a world of possibilities for his future.

Reflecting on his time at Joseph’s Home, Mr. Pisciotti said, “I got the care and direction needed during my recovery to get on with my life.”