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One Faith, One Hope, One Love

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New Ways to Serve New Parents

Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley is an organization that receives funds from the 1 Faith 1 Hope 1 Love campaign. The 2017 funds allowed CSSMV to provide new ways to serve new parents and enhance its support services. The article below first appeared in the Catholic Social Services Summer 2018 Good News magazine.


Healthy Babies, Empowered Parents, Thriving Families

If you ask someone in the Greater Dayton region, “What does Catholic Social Services do?” they will often name some of the agency’s most high-profile programs, such as the Choice Food Pantry or the Refugee Resettlement program. But they are often unaware of the work taking place through the agency’s Pregnancy & Parenting Support programs. In fact, these services are among the agency’s most impactful, making a tangible difference in new parents’ ability to raise healthy, happy children. In 2017, CSSMV’s pregnancy and parenting program served 444 clients and their families, with the majority of those in Montgomery County.

Starting with Healthy Babies

According to the Ohio Department of Health, prematurity-related conditions – such as preterm birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy – are the leading cause of infant deaths in Ohio. (Infants are defined as those who haven’t yet reached their first birthday.) Montgomery County has the fifth highest infant mortality rate in the state, a statistic that is simply unacceptable. Catholic Social Services has been participating on Montgomery County’s EveryOne Reach One Infant Mortality Task Force to identify and implement effective ways to increase the number of babies who make it to their first birthdays and beyond.

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Cindy Currell, CSSMV’s director of social services in Dayton, is the agency’s representative on the task force. “Through this collective impact approach,” she said, “Catholic Social Services has developed new partnerships for supporting pregnant and parenting individuals. We’ve also raised awareness of how CSSMV can address the social determinants of health – not only through our work in pregnancy preparation and parenting support, but also through our complementary services such as mental health counseling, access to fresh produce through our food pantry, early childhood education, and general family stabilization and support case management and utility assistance. Our holistic supports really help strengthen pregnant mothers and families – which is the foundation for healthy babies and safe and healthy kids.”

Through the county task force, the Ohio Department of Medicaid has recently made investments in six community initiatives aimed at reducing infant mortality by connecting women and infants to quality health care and care management. With this new funding, CSSMV is partnering with the West Dayton Health Promotion Partnership and Sunlight Village to implement the Family Wellness Community Health Worker Program. The program is designed to increase peer-to-peer support that’s tailored to meet the unique needs of the community, and CSSMV now has two full-time Community Health Workers who are doing community outreach, educating young pregnant and parenting moms of infants (up to the age of one) about infant mortality and making connections to services that can help strengthen their families.

Making a Life-Changing Decision

For some mothers, having a healthy pregnancy starts with a major life decision: whether to become a parent to their child, or to make an adoption plan. CSSMV offers birth options counseling 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can provide additional assistance to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth. Agency staff are available to support the birth mother and her family as well as the birth father – before, during and after whatever decision they make.


CSSMV’s state-certified adoption counselor can provide information about the various adoption options, as well as explaining what to expect from both emotional and legal perspectives. If the decision is to make an adoption plan, a counselor can help connect the birth parents with a trusted adoption agency for placement.

For those who decide to parent their child, Catholic Social Services offers a variety of pregnancy and parenting supports. This can start with information and links to community resources for prenatal care, financial assistance, home visiting services, support groups, child care, and other services. CSSMV can also connect expectant parents with its own ParentLink programs, including the Mothers Empowered prenatal care program, Nurturing Parenting education, and Teen Parents Learn.

“Parenting Support” Isn’t Only About the Babies

While promoting healthy births and babies is a key component in CSSMV’s efforts, the agency also understands that a variety of factors in the parents’ lives can help a child – and its entire family – thrive. That’s why CSSMV’s Family Life Coaches work with moms and dads on goals related to their own education, careers, health, and emotional well-being, as well as giving them the knowledge and tools to be confident, empowered parents to their children.

For the past seven years, Catholic Social Services has partnered with Lifestages Centers for Women and the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation to offer the Mothers Empowered program. In this wraparound support program, Lifestages provides CenteringPregnancy® group prenatal care and CSSMV’s Family Life Coaches provide parenting preparation, nurturing parenting education, home visiting, and community resources case management. The program isn’t just for the expectant mothers; fathers are encouraged to participate as well. Once the babies are born, the Family Life Coaches facilitate ongoing group meetings and offer ongoing one-on-one home visits.

Other parenting supports offered by CSSMV include home-based Nurturing Parenting classes with one-on-one support from a Family Life Coach; the Teen Parents Learn program, which helps teenage moms and dads stay in school (or return to school) to graduate with their high school diplomas; and free parenting classes offered at the agency’s Center for Families in Dayton.

Mothers Empowered Finds a New Home

With the closure of Good Samaritan Hospital, Mothers Empowered needed to find a new home. The program will continue to serve clients at Miami Valley Hospital North (formerly Good Sam North) in Englewood, but it was important to all the partners that the program continue serving the west Dayton community.


The search led to the Dr. Charles R. Drew Health Center at 1323 West Third Street, adjacent to the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood. This is one of several facilities operated by Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton, a non-profit corporation with a mission to improve lives by providing quality primary and preventive health care services to those in need, regardless of their ability to pay. As of mid-July, Mothers Empowered has its own classroom space at the center, and services will continue without interruption.

“We couldn’t be happier about this new partnership,” said Catholic Social Services CEO Laura Roesch. “We are committed to serving our neighbors in west Dayton, and we believe that this new location will make the Mothers Empowered program even more visible and accessible.”

Need Assistance?

For pregnancy and birth options counseling, call (937) 296-1007 ext. 2120 during regular business hours. In the evening or on weekends, call (937) 223-7217, press 3, and leave a confidential message. A counselor will return your call promptly.

For information about CSSMV’s other pregnancy and parenting support services, please call (937) 299-LINK (5465).





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Air Conditioning Installed 55-year-old Chapel

Seminarians Grateful for Financial Support

Kevin LeMelle is entering his second year of Theology as a seminarian at the Athenaeum of Ohio. He’s the first seminarian in 40 years from St. Bernard Parish in Springfield. He’s one of the nearly 100 seminarians who are living and studying at the Athenaeum during the fall semester. It’s the time of year when temperatures are starting to drop off, but even with the hottest days of the summer behind him, he still appreciates the central air conditioning installed this past spring in St. Gregory the Great Chapel and the six remaining unairconditioned classrooms.

IMG_9186“It would get really hot in the chapel most days,” said Mr. LeMelle. On weekdays, seminarians spend upwards of 2.5 hours a day in prayer in the chapel. They gather for Morning Prayer and daily Mass, midday praying of the Liturgy of the Hours, a Holy Hour, and Evening Prayer. “We’re all very appreciative of this project given the many hours we spend in the chapel,” said Mr. LeMelle.

At a cost of $768,399, the air conditioning installation was completed thanks to the generous contributions to the One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign. This project is one example of the ongoing capital expenditures needed for improvements and upkeep of the nearly 60-year-old building that houses the main chapel, seminarian rooms and classrooms at the Athenaeum. The east wing of the Athenaeum, which also includes classrooms and seminarian rooms, is nearly 90 years old.

“I am very grateful for all the financial support from the campaign and the Archdiocese overall,” said Mr. LeMelle2017 I Theology 08 Kevin LeMelle seminarians 42

Funds from the One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign continue to foster vocations throughout the Archdiocese. For the current academic year, 49 seminarians for the Archdiocese are in formation at the Athenaeum (total enrollment is 95, with 46 attending from other dioceses). There are 9 college seminarians this year for our Archdiocese; studying at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus or Bishop Simon Brute College in Indianapolis before attending the Athenaeum.

In 2017, the Athenaeum received close to $2.5 million dollars from the campaign. In addition to the air conditioning project, campaign funds were used for endowment growth and tuition assistance for lay students.



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Online Program Provides Flexibility and Faith Formation

Teachers, catechists and their students benefit

Victoria Ryan has been a volunteer catechist for decades. She took traditional classes to learn about teaching the faith and has been working to pass on the Catholic faith ever since. At her local parish, St. Julie Billiart, she teaches 6th graders on Sundays.

3 Prep me 2017 18 clothing driveIn 2017, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati released a new online platform for teachers and catechists to keep up to date on their religion teaching certification. The program is called Vocare, which means “Called to Teach.” This web-based platform was designed and launched with funding from the One Faith, One Hope, One Love capital campaign. The classes involve several forms of media, including instructional videos, graphics, music, and reading material.

“I didn’t expect to like it,” said Ms. Ryan, referencing her concern when she started the program more than a year ago. “Now I really look forward to the next lesson.” The program has also helped to enhance her own faith development, and she is hopeful that others are experiencing the same growth. “The program provides practical tips on teaching, but what I find most valuable is how it focuses heavily on the content we are teaching,” said Ms. Ryan. “Even after 12 years of Catholic schooling, ongoing adult faith formation is very important, and this is a great tool for that.”

Also included in the Vocare platform is content focused on the Theology of the Body. “I found the Theology of the Body content very informative and eye opening,” said Ms. Ryan. “I’m very impressed with just how much content is available.”

It was an adjustment for some teachers and catechists to transition to the web-based learning program, but after the first year of use, organizers are confident that more and more users will become6th Prep Class 4 2018[1] comfortable with the platform. “We have heard feedback from users that once they get over that initial shock of coming into online learning, they actually enjoy the flexibility and convenience of completing courses at home,” said Andrea Patch, who manages the curriculum for Vocare at the Archdiocese.

“Over the years, we’ve heard feedback from our teachers and catechists, asking that our catechetical certification process be reformed, and Vocare was our response here in the Archdiocese,” said Ms. Patch. “We have spent two years building a program that remains faithful to Church teachings, but is more flexible for busy lifestyles, and more affordable for schools and parishes.”

Currently, more than 3,400 users are active on the Vocare system. An increase in users is expected with the start of the new school. To assist new users, support is provided by Vocare staff members at the Archdiocese. For more information or questions about Vocare, call 513-421-3131 or email


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Campaign Reaches $100 Million in Pledge Payments

Thanks to generosity of thousands, the One Faith, One Hope, One Love capital campaign has surpassed $100 million in pledge payments! Check out the bulletin insert below for more details about the continued success of this historic campaign. Click here for a PDF version of the bulletin insert.

FHL_Bulletin Summer2018


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Students’ Skills Improve over the Summer

Congratulations to the students that participated in the Summer School program this year in Dayton!

Dayton Summer School was made possible through donations to the 1 Faith, 1 Hope, 1 Love campaign in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

The Dayton Summer School program completed its 10th year this past summer with 80 students participating. The program runs for 4 weeks and is designed to help struggling students in kindergarten through 7th grade maintain and increase their knowledge in Math and English/Language Arts over the summer break. Contributions from the One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign provided $40,000 to help cover the cost to operate the program. Tuition cost for families is $100 for the first child and $50 for each additional child.

To help measure the program’s effectiveness, students are given a pre-assessment and a post-assessment. This year, 89% of the students demonstrated an improvement in Math and 83% improved in English/Language Arts. Breakfast and lunch are also provided daily, along with bus service from neighboring locations for students needing transportation.

The summer school program serves students from these Dayton Catholic schools:

Ascension School                                 Holy Angels School

Immaculate Conception School        St. Christopher School

Incarnation School                              St. Peter School

St. Helen School                                  St. Anthony School

Mother Brunner School                     St. Charles School

Our Lady of the Rosary School        St. Albert the Great School

St. Benedict School

“Many of our students live in struggling neighborhoods, so this program offers a healthy and productive environment for them to be a part of for a good portion of the summer,” said Lindsey Ropp who runs the program with Monica Haus. Both Ms. Ropp and Ms. Haus agree that the small class sizes, around 10 students per teacher, has a very positive impact on students’ overall growth and well-being. “In addition to helping academically, teachers can also focus on meeting the social and emotional needs of the children. They’re able to develop a healthy relationship where the students see them as role models,” said Ms. Haus.


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Funds helped refugees, new programming needs and more

The following report was submitted by Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley to show the organization’s use of funds from the One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign in 2017.


Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley

2017 Annual Report

Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley received two gift disbursements from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati One Faith, One Hope, One Love Campaign in 2017 for a total of $644,404.10.  The money was used to expand programs and services, support existing programs in need of transitional funding streams, accomplish needed capital improvements to existing buildings, and provide necessary resources to improve outreach throughout our community.

New Program Development

Funding support from the campaign helped CSSMV begin or enhance several new programs in 2017. In the agency’s northern counties region, CSSMV was able to begin delivering 40 lb. staple food boxes to home bound. The program is a partnership with the Shared Harvest Foodbank and is being piloted in three counties.  Additionally, the Sidney office was able to leverage Ohio Department of Transportation funding with matching funds from the campaign to better serve the transportation needs of our rural counties through Ridelink.

Through the Montgomery County/ United Way combined funding application, CSSMV was able to start an expansion program of the Pregnancy and Parenting support program call Teen Parents Learn.  This unique program seeks to assist high school aged students – who are pregnant or new parents – complete their high school degree, while teaching them critical parenting skills.

Another new program initiated by Montgomery County/United Way combined funding application was the Families Forward initiative.  This partnership between CSSMV (case management partner and lead agency), Dayton Public Schools, the University of Dayton, the House of Bread and Dayton Children’s Hospital provides wrap around service for children and their families at Kiser Elementary (K-5), a school which 100% of the students are eligible for free and reduced school lunch.

Finally, the parenting staff was able to allocate important resources and staff time to enhance the Parent Resource Room at Lincoln Academy.  Providing needed hospitality items, educational materials, and technology access to improve the experience for all parents visiting the center.

Total investment in new program development – $162,500

Improving Parish participation and engagement

The campaign continued to fund the position of Parish and Community Relations Manager.  2017 did see some changes to the position which will allow for deeper connections with parish staff, religious, and the parishioners themselves. Volunteer management and stewardship has now been included in the job description for the manager. This will allow for a more seamless transition from outreach to cultivation.

Total investment in Parish and Community Relations Manager – $39,492

Investment in IT infrastructure and capital improvements

The funds from 2017 helped CSSMV make several IT upgrades.  It allowed for the ongoing implementation of the new Apricot case management software, and helped CSSMV launch a refreshed website – Additionally, we were able to make lighting improvements and increase efficiency at the Center for Families on Brown Street and the Eckerle Administration Building on Riverview Avenue.

Total investment in IT infrastructure and capital improvements – $47,500

Program capacity building and replacement for unforeseen loss in public funding

2017 was a challenging year for the refugee resettlement program.  With uncertainty at the federal level and substantial loss in new arrivals, the resettlement program relied heavily on the support of both the Archdiocese and the USCCB.  This bridge support allowed the refugee program to realign its priorities, staffing and goals in several areas, while maintaining its level of service to our newest arriving refugees.

The campaign helped CSSMV grow the Family Stabilization and Support program – the fastest growing program in the Dayton office. This program provides case management support to anyone in the Dayton area, and is operated out of the food pantry.  It also supported ongoing programming in counseling through the SAFE program.  This program works with children suffering from RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder).

Erma’s House received additional support in 2017 from the campaign to continue its important work as the only supervised visitation and exchange services building in Montgomery County.  Erma’s, which was recognized this year by the Council on Accreditation as the gold standard for supervised visitation in the country, celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017.  The funds were used to bridge a gap in new service from the county to combat a rise in children’s services cases.

Finally, the campaign helped support capacity building with early childhood education (opened new classroom), and losses in county and state funding for parenting education, senior service and food contracts for the pantry.

Total investment in program capacity building and replacement for loss in public funding – $447,000 (includes balance used from 2016 campaign funds)

Strategic Leadership Development

In 2017, the One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign continued to enable CSSMV to invest in strategic planning, and professional development opportunities for its staff. Most notably, CSSMV was able to retain consulting services to create a strategy for continuation of health care services in the northern counties region with the possibility of Medicaid eliminating the PASSPORT program.  This program is the largest staffed program at CSSMV and accounts for more than 2/3 of the agency’s total annual budget.

Additionally, three members of the agency staff were able to participate in the CCUSA national conference in Houston, Texas. Due to the conference taking place just weeks after hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area, conference attendees – including those from CSSMV – were invited to join in the recovery efforts.

Total investment in strategic leadership development and consulting fees – $46,500


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Happy Retirement!

IMG_7788If you’ve called the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Stewardship Department in the last few years with questions about your donation to the 1 Faith, 1 Hope, 1 Love campaign, you may have talked to Nancy Dragan. And if you have left a voicemail for the department, she has more than likely promptly returned your call. In fact, she’s returned more than 4,600 phone calls about donations since January of 2016. And she’ll make her final phone calls, on Friday, June 1, 2018, when she retires from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Ms. Dragan has worked extensively on the 1 Faith, 1 Hope, 1 Love campaign from its inception. She’s patiently helped thousands of donors over the years. And that hasn’t always meant assisting with people’s financial donations, but also answering simple questions, taking time to listen to some long-winded callers and at times offering prayers for those who call. And it’s obvious that her patience stems from her faith and is an important part of the work that she is doing. “I thank God every morning for the blessings I cannot see. Those are the most important. I don’t think people have a full understanding of what all the [1 Faith, 1 Hope, 1 Love] campaign is doing for people, but those are the blessings that you can’t always see,” said Ms. Dragan.


Nancy Dragan, Campaign Assistant, with Leslie Odioso, Donor Relations Manager

In addition to Ms. Dragan’s patience and faith that are the foundation of her work, her role as Campaign Assistant, also provides a sentimental connection to her father. In the 1950s, Ms. Dragan’s father, Paul Rauf, volunteered for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s capital campaign to raise money to build several high schools in the archdiocese.  He walked door to door asking for donations to the campaign. “I just find that to be kind of odd that my dad did that so many years ago and then here’s his daughter, a grown woman with a family, and I end up working on the historical campaign,” said Ms. Dragan.


Congratulations on your retirement Nancy from all of us at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati!


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