Last week on the blog we shared the many wonderful programs that our CAPA/PREPARES program offers. This week, we want to share an exciting opportunity that would allow us to expand these programs nationwide. Catholic Charities Eastern Washington has been invited to the final round of the Catholic Charities USA Innovation Challenge!
The CCUSA Innovation Challenge is a challenge to Catholic Charities member agencies across the United States to develop and implement innovative solutions that have the potential to alleviate, reduce, or eliminate poverty. In our application for the Challenge, Catholic Charities Eastern Washington proposed the nationwide implementation of the PREPARES program. This grant from the CCUSA Innovation Challenge would fund a national pilot of PREPARES, a successful Washington program, in four different cities across the US, which are equipped with networking parishes and providers to support parents and families.
Catholic Charities Eastern Washington CAPA (Childbirth and Parenting Assistance) and PREPARES (Promoting Life, Economic Stability, and Health Care for Pregnant and Parenting Families) programs provide a supportive family atmosphere for parents to build their self-confidence to raise healthy, happy children and break generational cycles of neglect and abuse. The PREPARES program, specifically, matches parish volunteers with impoverished pregnant and parenting families to provide them with resources and mentoring.
Catholic Charities Eastern Washington first started PREPARES in 1985. In 2015, PREPARES was then adopted as a program of the Washington State Catholic Conference and the program has thrived in other Washington dioceses and within Catholic Charities agencies. Now, 159 different parishes in the state of Washington work to serve 12,000 families. This experience and growth demonstrate that PREPARES succeeds in regions with vibrant and engaged Catholic communities.
PREPARES programs across Washington State support families through programs such as Resource Closets filled with baby and maternity supplies, and Parent Support Groups, which bring together individuals who bond over shared parenting experiences. Members of the parishes volunteer to mentor these parents and form authentic relationships. The social connections that they build increase their resilience and offer concrete support.
If selected to win the CCUSA Innovation Challenge, PREPARES would be able to expand training to Catholic Charities staff in 4 different cities across the United States. PREPARES would also be able to support families through resources, programming, and mentoring in each of these sites. These life-changing services offered by PREPARES would be offered to more families in our nation and undoubtedly continue to transform communities.
We invite you to watch our final video for the CCUSA Innovation Challenge finalist selection process. The video will be placed on the innovation challenge website and used in part to score our application.
Winners of the Catholic Charities USA Innovation Challenge are set to be announced in October of this year!