Catholic Charities Programs in Tucson, Phoenix Receive National Social Innovation Awards:
Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) presented CCUSA Social Innovation Awards to programs run by two member agencies in the state of Arizona during its most recent Partners in Excellence Regional Gathering event. While bringing together Catholic Charities staff, volunteers, and leadership from across the Southwest in Albuquerque, New Mexico, CCUSA recognized the innovative approaches being pioneered by the DIGNITY Program helping human trafficking victims in Phoenix, and the Pio Decimo Center, offering micro loans to those in need in the Tucson area.
The CCUSA Social Innovations Awards recognize socially-innovative programs being run by Catholic Charities agencies in communities across the country, and come with a $5,000 prize to be reinvested into the program.
DIGNITY Programs, operated by Catholic Charities Community Services – Arizona, was founded over a decade ago by a former victim of sex trafficking, who recognized the need for services specifically tailored to this at-risk population. DIGNITY targets women who have been victims of sex trafficking, serving approximately 2,000 clients a year. The agency offers a one-year residential program assists women by providing a place to call home, along with weekly case management, therapy, life skills classes, and employment services. They also offer a 36-hour intensive educational classroom program to help address the individual needs of the women forced into a life of pain and suffering and looking for a fresh start.
Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona’s Pio Decimo Center runs a micro-loan fund, providing small-business education and micro loans of up to $10,000 to low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs. These motivated individuals are able to use the loans can be used for working capital, inventory, and equipment,helping them establish their small business and improve their financial stability. They are currently the only micro-lender in Tucson with a volunteer base of Spanish-speaking business counselors able to connect small business owners to the broader community. Two CCUSA Social Innovation Awards will be presented at each of the 10 regional gatherings taking place across the country in 2013 and 2014. Award nominations were judged by members of the Catholic Charities network based on a set of predetermined criteria. The next set of CCUSA Social Innovation Awards will be presented during the Partners in Excellence event in Honolulu, Hawaii, in February 2014.
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