A passion for charity
One Faith, One Hope, One Love’s five major priorities include a goal of $10 million for Catholic Charities and Social Services. Alisa Berry, an accomplished veteran in the social services field, began work in June as chief operating officer for Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio. We asked her to share some thoughts about her new role and about the mission of the agency.
Question: Would you tell us a little about your background?
Answer: I graduated from St. Ursula Academy in 1994 and went on to finish my Bachelor’s degree at Norfolk State University. After graduating from Norfolk State I returned to Ohio and started working as a case manager for teen mothers. I continued my work with youth at Services United for Mother and Adolescence for five years in various positions with the last being a parent educator for teen mothers in the schools. In 2003 I returned to Northern Kentucky University and received my Master’s in Public Administration with a focus in non-profit management.
After receiving my degree I relocated to Norfolk, Virginia and began working in the homeless field, first as an analyst then as the Supervisor over the Homeless Action and Response Team, the Central Intake for homeless families in Norfolk. After working in Norfolk for 8 years I decided to move back to Cincinnati to be close to my family and started working with Catholic Charities first as the Director of Refugee Resettlementnow as the COO.
Q: What kindled your interest in social services?
A: I have a deep passion for helping people see their fullest potential and ensuring they have a chance to explore that potential. Throughout my life being able to be exposed to different programs helped shape me as an adult. I want to be able to assist in building sustainable programs that provide people the services they need to meet their highest level of success.
Q: What are your goals as chief operating officer?
A: To ensure that we are truly meeting our mission as an agency to Serve, Empower, and Enlighten. I believe this is done through strengthening our existing programs and filling service gaps for the populations we serve.
Q: Which achievements in your career have been among the most satisfying?
A: The achievement that stands out most is reshaping the Homeless Action and Response Team in Norfolk. In the five years that I was there I was able to bring the budget into balance, improve the data quality and increase the quality of services
Q: Why is it important for people to support Catholic Charities?
A: The work we do here exemplifies the Church teachings. We welcome the stranger through our immigration programs Refugee Resettlement and the Su Casa Hispanic Center, we protect the vulnerable through our mental health services assisting people who are dealing with their grief, trauma and mental illnesses, we empower our seniors through the work we do in our Senior Corps programs and we equip parents in developing healthy and responsible children through our parent education and Incredible Yearsprogramming. Finally we serve the poor through our Second Harvest Food Bank and food pantry. Catholic Charities does this not because those we serve are Christians but because we believe in the Church’s teachings.
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