Guided by God’s love for all people, Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia(CCEVA) provides comprehensive, compassionate services, collaborates with community partners and advocates for those in need in order to empower and enrich lives.
CCEVA primarily serves the poor and the working poor (88% of those we serve live at or below 200% of the poverty level). We serve all people in need regardless of race, ethnicity or religion.
Mission in Action
“I was in need of help. I was rescued by two life coaches.” This was Marcus Thomas’ self-assessment after successfully overcoming several health challenges.
Marcus came to the Sentara Obici Hospital Emergency Department with extremely high blood pressure, he was overweight, in need of dental care, had no transportation and had no medical home. He previously had multiple emergency room visits due to lack of transportation, he had been calling 911 for a ride to the Emergency Room whenever he needed medication or was sick. In the ED Marcus met Life Coach Rene Austin and Program Director Vanessa Dunlap from Catholic Charities. Sentara Obici partners with the Catholic Charities’ Life Coaches to help uninsured and underinsured patients secure primary care services and other resources.
Rene helped coordinate Marcus’ first appointment at the Western Tidewater Free Clinic where he was taking three high blood pressure medications. Marcus weighed 276 pounds and his health status made him unable to work. To make matters worse, he relied on another Life Coach, Vanessa, for transportation to and from his medical appointments.
In about a year as a Free Clinic patient, Marcus’ health condition improved considerably. His blood pressure is under control, he lost 30 pounds, had his oral health needs met and was ready to get a job.
“You need to develop a long-term plan now that your health has stabilized,” Vanessa advised the 26-year-old.
Marcus, who lives in Chuckatuck, needed more independence by arranging for his own transportation to work and medical appointments. Vanessa gave Marcus one of her bicycles, a helmet and helped him obtain a food handler’s permit from the health department.
Marcus was ready to roll, now that he had transportation and the certification needed to start work.
He got a job at the Burger King located 5 miles from his home. He finally had transportation which was also helping him get the exercise needed to control his weight and blood pressure. He is so thrilled to have a job and transportation to get there that he is undeterred by cold or rainy weather conditions. “I bundle up by putting on extra layers of cloths when it’s cold or wet outside.” His positive work ethic led to Burger King increasing his number of hours from 3 to 4 days per week.
Rene said that Marcus really stepped up. In doing so, he is able to help his family pay bills.
Marcus knew he could take care of himself. “I just needed the chance.” When asked about the help received from the Life Coaches, Marcus said, “It is very wonderful! I’m blessed!”
So many of Catholic Charities’ clients just need the help to get their lives back on track. As in Marcus’ case – intervention and advocacy provided by Catholic Charities’ staff members is changing lives and inspiring hope.
Visit our Blog!
Please visit our blog below to read, “You kids are driving me crazy!” written by Kelle Watson, M.A.LPC, CCEVA’s Director of Mental Health Counseling. While it’s usually normal for kids’ behaviors to frustrate their parents at times, this blog explains when it might be a good idea to visit with a professional counselor. If you or someone you love would like to talk with a counselor, please call (757) 467-7707.VISIT THE BLOG
Here I Am Lord
Catholic Charities has been answering ‘Here I Am Lord’ for more than 83 years. View the video to hear how Catholic Charities is inspiring hope and changing lives for thousands of families in our community.
Here I Am, Lord (80670) (c) 1981, 2000, OCP, 5536 NE Hassalo, Portland, OR 97213. All rights reserved. Used with permission.