October 5, 2017 – Anna Thibodeaux
United Way of St. Charles helps fund two Catholic Charities programs – financial literacy and counseling – in St. Charles Parish. “If it was not for Money Matters Financial Stability Program and Catholic Charities, I would not have been able to accomplish my goal,” Mericka Hill said. “It was a big help to me, and it opened the door that I can achieve more things.”
Chinon Washington agreed.
Her goal was to attend LifeCare CNA training and work in the medical field. With this program’s help, Washington completed it on Aug. 25 and praised the program and Catholic Charities for her achieving it. The program covered the cost of the training.
Both of them praised Case Manager Sherry Rhodes’ encouragement, saying, “I’m your biggest cheerleader.” Rhodes helped them move ahead with their career plans. United Way funding also helps make Counseling Solutions program of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans (CCANO), a mental health program, available to the public in the parish, said Clinical Director Mark Taliancich.
The counseling is available to individuals and couples, as well as families, but also includes mental health services for inmates at Nelson Coleman Correctional Center.
The program operates based on the philosophy of, “Respecting the dignity of each human person, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans collaborates with the wider community to service those in need. Impelled by the love and teaching of Jesus Christ, we offer life giving programs, advocate for the voiceless, and empower the poor and vulnerable to foster a more just society.”
Taliancich said the program is focused on the “believing that every person is capable of developing the insight to make behavioral and emotional changes.”
While insurance is accepted for mental health services, Taliancich said no one is turned away who needs help at the Catholic Charities office, 100 Melanie St. in Boutte.
In individual and group counseling, more than 200 people received services last year, he said. This equates to about 600 hours of counseling in the parish.
Counseling Solutions advises on coping skills and anger management group therapy to the inmates – female and male, he said. A counselor goes to the jail three times a week for three- to four-hour per week group therapy. The groups average 10 to 15 inmates a week.
These services prove critical in a parish that Taliancich said has little mental health services.
“There are some, but not many and there are even fewer for populations who can’t pay,” he said. “There’s just very few options and without public transportation they can’t get to these services even if they were available.”