Holy Cross Ministries continues 25-year legacy of service

Friday, Oct. 09, 2020
Holy Cross Ministries continues 25-year legacy of service + Enlarge
Holy Cross Ministries CEO Emmie Gardner (center) is shown with School Readiness Program Coordinator Miriam Garcia (right) and Parents as Teachers Program Coordinator Lizeette Zurita (left).
By Special to the Intermountain Catholic

Holy Cross Ministries is celebrating 25 years of service this year. Although our office remains closed to the public to keep our staff and client families safe, our health outreach, counseling, education and legal immigration programs continue to meet needs in the underserved community by serving clients through virtual platforms.

Moreover, we are thrilled to report that thanks to the support of our wonderful community partners, staff and client families, our school readiness program’s preschool classroom safely reopened in September. With the addition of air purifiers, a steam cleaner to sanitize toys, no-touch thermometers, face shields as well as social distancing measures and frequent handwashing, we are able to meet all health department guidelines and continue providing affordable, high-quality classroom education to at-risk preschoolers in Summit County.

Our low-income, immigrant client population has been disproportionately impacted during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Many of the individuals and families we serve have lost their jobs and are struggling to afford groceries and rent. And families in each one of our programs have had family members test positive for coronavirus.

To meet this unprecedented need, the community health workers in our Promotora Outreach Program are referring clients to free COVID-19 testing sites and providing facemasks, hand sanitizer and other personal protective equipment. And staff members from each of our programs are connecting the families we serve to much-needed community resources, including food pantries and rent assistance programs.

Our counseling program is addressing increased anxiety though virtual counseling sessions, primarily serving immigrant women and children fleeing domestic violence like Dolores (Name has been changed to protect privacy.) As a survivor of over 20 years of domestic abuse, Dolores (name has been changed to protect privacy) came to Holy Cross Ministries earlier this year seeking help overcoming symptoms of post-traumatic stress. She had a hard time sleeping due to nightmares, couldn’t concentrate on daily activities and was constantly worried about her own safety. During times of crisis, she even considered suicide.

When Dolores began working with one of HCM’s therapists, she engaged wholeheartedly in the healing process. Before the pandemic, she attended her sessions in person, and she has continued therapy over the past six months using telehealth, never missing an appointment. With time, Dolores reported that she could recognize her own gifts and talents and see how important it is to be mentally and physically healthy so she can care for herself and her children. Her thoughts of suicide have diminished and she feels stronger and less fearful to leave her home. She also knows she is not alone on her journey to healing.

We are very grateful for our ability to serve as a trusted resource and advocate during these challenging times, thanks to the enduring support of our donors, volunteers, board members and community partners. To learn more about Holy Cross Ministries and support our work, visit hcmutah.org. For volunteer opportunities, contact Lauren Fields at lfields@hcmutah.org or 385-257-2413.

To view a video of HCM’s 25 years, visit video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj4oAt6uyx4&feature=youtu.be.

Lauren Fields is a communications specialist for Holy Cross Ministries

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