It’s said that the best way to get to know someone is to “walk a mile in their shoes.” For Certified Peer Recovery Supporter Will, this isn’t just a saying to live by, but his passion.
Richard M. and Jeanne Colleran Weaver made a visionary gift that has become the seed of the first Joseph’s Home endowment fund, the Sister Joan Gallagher Endowment Fund. The fund celebrates the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine’s enduring legacy of responsive ministry and service to those in need, as well as Sr. Joan’s leadership.
Bishop Nelson Perez recently visited Joseph’s Home to meet with staff, residents and alumni to learn more about its healing ministry for medically fragile homeless men and to prepare for his keynote speech at the Perseverance in Hope fundraising luncheon on June 19.
Dick Clough loves celebrating Christmas and the spirit of giving. He loves both so much he celebrates every year by giving away nearly 9,000 pieces of clothing, toys and gift cards to more than 1,500 adults and children.
As behavioral health director, Michael Biscaro, PsyD, spends a lot of time at Joseph’s Home working with residents. He was only too happy to come in over the holiday break to spend more time with residents serving dinner.
The following article appears in the fall 2018 issue of the Joseph’s Journey newsletter. Read the complete newsletter for additional news, upcoming events, stories of how Joseph’s Home carries out its mission, and more.
Cardboard Campout Connects St. John Neumann Youth to Joseph’s Home
Sleeping in a cardboard box isn’t normally high on the list of how a teenager would like to spend a weekend night. But for a group of 25 teenagers from the St. John Neumann parish in Strongsville, cardboard boxes and the church lawn were home for one chilly night in April.
The group was participating in the annual cardboard campout event, which is a 20-year tradition that offers members of the parish youth group the opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause and gain a deeper understanding of the importance of giving prayers, time and treasure to those in need.
This was the first year Joseph’s Home and St. John Neumann connected for the event, which was facilitated by Trena Marks Pacetti, social concerns director at the parish. The youth group did some volunteer work at Joseph’s Home and decided it was a perfect fit for the cardboard campout.
“We all fell in love with Joseph’s Home and its mission,” said Paul Koopman, St. John Neumann youth director.
During the event, the teenagers, who ranged in age from freshmen to seniors in high school, wrote letters to residents, prayed and ate soup together. They also heard about Joseph’s Home from Executive Director Christine Horne and learned about being homeless from Mike, former peer recovery supporter at Joseph’s Home. Mike spoke about what led him to being homeless, going through recovery and working at Joseph’s Home.
“Mike was struck by the maturity of the teens and their thoughtful questions. One question was, ‘How did you find God when you were homeless?’ The youth were very engaged and willing to put aside any preconceived notions about homeless people,” said Christine.
The group raised $2,000 for Joseph’s Home by collecting money at the masses that weekend. Paul said the event was a big success. “Participants felt a connection to those in need, developing love and respect for them. We look forward to continuing to partner with Joseph’s Home for this annual event,” added Paul.
Christine said she was impressed that the group of youth were taking part of their weekend to devote to learning and advocating for the homeless. “They were willing to step inside someone else’s shoes and that action spoke volumes about their commitment to social justice and following God’s commands to love one another,” said Christine. “I was extremely grateful and inspired to meet these students and share the ministry of Joseph’s Home.”
During the long and hot summer months, things slow down a bit around Joseph’s Home. Seeing a need for summer programming, Joseph’s Home Board Member Debbie Rovito proposed the idea of starting a poetry group with the men.
The following article appears in the spring 2018 issue of the Joseph’s Journey newsletter. Holistic. It’s a word that can have different meanings to different people. For Joseph’s Home new Behavioral Health Director Michael Biscaro, PsyD, holistic has just one meaning: treating both the body and mind to address issues that may have led to […]
Lamont Cox has always been seen as a tough guy. As a former gang member with a seemingly hard exterior, he never backed down from a fight and was never one to discuss his feelings. After suffering from multiple strokes and a heart attack, Lamont’s house was foreclosed and he was left with no place to go. He found himself vulnerable, distressed and looking for help. That’s when he came to Joseph’s Home.
Lamont has been attending the new wellness and art therapy programs offered by Joseph’s Home in partnership with Ursuline College. This past fall, Executive Director Christine Horne attended an event hosted by Catholic Community Connection. Connecting catholic education and social services is one of Catholic Community Connection’s core objectives, so they helped connect Christine with Ursuline College at the event. Ursuline College President Sister Christine DeVinne, OSU then recommended that Instructor and Clinical Director Melissa Hladek reach out to Joseph’s Home in hopes of bringing wellness and art therapy programming to the acutely ill homeless men of Joseph’s Home.
Accompanied by students of the Ursuline College Counseling and Art Therapy program, Melissa leads the residents in creative activities that are meant to encourage thoughtfulness and meditation, reflection on past experiences, healthy coping, and the creation of goals and aspirations as they relate to mental health. This focus on listening and sharing has given some residents the freedom to open up and discuss the challenges and barriers they have faced.
These days, Lamont can be seen participating in yoga, meditation and art projects that provide relaxation and reduce anxiety. “You all have showed me something I have never seen before. When I was growing up, all I saw was drugs and guns. I never had time for this. But now, I’ve got time,” said Lamont.
Lamont has been at Joseph’s Home for just over a month and has enjoyed attending the wellness and art therapy programs because they have allowed him to be creative and regain a sense of dignity. “I feel like I’ve been healed by art because it makes me feel good,” he added.
Melissa said she hopes that Joseph’s Home residents can tap into a side of themselves that is very rarely explored. Whether it be sharing about a traumatic event from the past, meditating to relieve the stress of homelessness and illness, or expressing their emotions through an art project, men like Lamont are experiencing healing that goes beyond medicine. The wellness and art therapy programs are providing homeless men who have lived chaotic and, in some cases, traumatic lives a coping mechanism and a sense of worth they’ve never felt before.
“It’s beautiful because it brings out the good in a person,” said Lamont.
The article above appears in the spring 2018 issue of the Joseph’s Journey newsletter.
I’ve healed, I’m looking for housing, now I need to get back to work.
This is the challenge that many residents of Joseph’s Home face. Perhaps they have a negative work history or have no skills training. Maybe they just don’t have the suit they need to wear to an interview. That’s why Joseph’s Home has teamed up with El Barrio Centers for Workforce Development (El Barrio) to help residents conquer those barriers and more.
El Barrio has forged a path for residents who are willing and able to work to access the training and networking they need to secure employment. El Barrio provides an onsite workforce development program that allows residents to train and receive certifications in four or more weeks in one of several tracks: customer service, hospitality, construction, transportation, pharmacy and teacher assistance. El Barrio then provides case management to prepare candidates to enter the workforce ready and motivated. Once a client has graduated from the program, El Barrio matches candidates to companies looking for diversity in their organization.
Joseph’s Home’s own healthcare navigator, John Mytrysak, is a perfect example of how El Barrio training has made a big difference for residents. John fell ill in 2014. Due to his illness, his kidney function was slowly declining and his cognitive abilities were suffering as a result. The first big sign came when he lost his job due to a decline in his performance. Eight months later he was out of money. He sold his home and lived out of his car. Less than two years after he lost his job, he had also lost his car, was drowning in debt and was living in a homeless shelter. He was then referred to Joseph’s Home. Within two months, he was receiving the medical care he needed and he was participating in the El Barrio workforce development program in the customer service training track.
After working with El Barrio staff who helped him review his resume, learn professional skills for his chosen field, attend a job fair and receive a National Retail Federation (NRF) certification, he got a job in retail. He then had the income to get and keep an apartment. Flash forward to today. John is now the healthcare navigator at Joseph’s Home and is living the dream—an independent and successful life—all thanks to teamwork.
The article above appears in the spring 2018 issue of the Joseph’s Journey newsletter. Pictured above are Joseph’s Home Executive Director Christine Horne and John Mytrysak.
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2412 Community College Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
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It Is Our Mission
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.