The Power of Community Connection

When St. Pius X church encountered a parishioner who needed more than a temporary fix to address underlying issues, they reached out to Doug Karicker from CCANO’s Parish Community Ministries (PCM) to assist “Rhonda.” As a mother of six children without a high school diploma, Rhonda could not secure a job and was living in a neighborhood that was suffering – there were vacant lots with overgrown yards, stolen cars abandoned nearby, buildings still damaged from Katrina, and gang activity.

Doug and Rhonda started by focusing on what strengths and resources Rhonda already possessed. One of the biggest challenges in maintaining work is transportation. After Rhonda’s grandmother passed, she inherited the family car. Additionally, Doug was instantly impressed with Rhonda’s parenting skills. He says, “Her discipline struck me. She’s a conscientious and respectful person. Her personality and mindset showed she could take on challenges with determination.”

The first priority was finding Rhonda and her children a safer living arrangement. Her landlord found another property for her, and Rhonda moved her family six blocks to a more secure environment while maintaining community ties. The apartment did not have a refrigerator, but PCM was able to provide the family with a new one so they could keep fresh food in the house.

Next, Doug and Rhonda worked together to assess her employment situation. With the booming tourist industry, Rhonda was picking up jobs cleaning bed and breakfasts. Through her demeanor and work ethic, Rhonda was able to find more work by word of mouth. However, several of her regular properties did not keep a vacuum on site. To expand her capacity and efficiency, PCM funded the purchase of a vacuum for Rhonda’s business.

Doug is now a part of Rhonda’s extended family, visiting the children for holidays or sending a thoughtful card for Mother’s Day. Doug is hopeful for Rhonda’s future, and their continued relationship is a sign of the power of connection through community. Learn more about Parish Community Ministry here.