Christmas is a time for giving, a time for reflection, and above all else, a time for family. Families come in many shapes and sizes: large and small; natural and adoptive; foster families, step-families, and grand-families. As an organization built on faith, Catholic Charities is dedicated to the sanctity of family and the nurturing of children.
Texas has one of the highest rates of childhood poverty in the nation – roughly one in four. In Harris County, 29 percent of children ages 0-17 live below the federal poverty line. With nearly 342,000 children under age 5 living in Harris County, more than 99,000 of them live in poverty.
Catholic Charities’ Blessed Beginnings program combats these odds by offering education and support to young parents, touching on topics such as: nutrition and health; appropriate discipline; developmental milestones; and nurturing healthy, loving relationships between parent and child. Our ‘Baby Bucks’ program lets parents earn points for attending classes, making doctor’s appointments, scheduling counseling sessions, and more. These points can then be spent on items in our Baby Room, from diapers and car seats to clothes and cribs, all of which are provided through direct donations from our generous donors.
Yessi Lambert found the Blessed Beginnings program after calling 2-1-1. After applying for TANF to help support herself and her young daughter, Xuxa Arlene, she was told she needed to take parenting classes but couldn’t find any that she could afford. Blessed Beginnings was there for Yessi and her daughter, providing parenting classes, support and motivation. Now Yessi is able to balance self-care and motherhood, taking time to attend Bible Study and online classes as she works towards her bachelor’s in business.
“Catholic Charities has done so much for my daughter and me. […] I felt very comfortable in class talking about my personal problems and concerns as a mother. I am learning to take better care of my daughter and myself. I am thankful for Catholic Charities and the help they are giving me.” – Yessi Lambert
With help from Catholic Charities’ Blessed Beginnings, and you, young families facing poverty and hardship can raise healthy children, and improve their lives for generations to come.