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Fidelis Care Awards $403,850 Grant for Catholic Charities In-School Social Work Program

By June 1, 2016August 20th, 2021Fundraising & Support

by Stephanie Brown

Wed, Jun 1st 2016 12:00 pm

From left, Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer Dennis Walczyk, Maria Picone, director of Catholic Charities Family and Community Services Department, Sandra L. Hofschneider, RN, director of marketing for Fidelis Care, and Jennifer Lyons, marketing manager for Fidelis Care.

BUFFALO, N.Y., June 1, 2016 – Donna, whose daughter Julia recently experienced a young negotiators program with a social worker through the Catholic Charities of Buffalo In-School Social Work Program (ISSWP), said the opportunity gave her the “chance to get to know her daughter better.” In turn, Julia said she feels like a “different person” and can “hold my ground more and I have more confidence.”

Catholic Charities ISSWP collaborates with 10 Catholic Diocesan elementary and middle schools in Erie and Niagara counties to provide a part- or full-time social worker to address any non-academic barriers to school success. This is the 12th consecutive year Fidelis Care has supported the program, recently awarding Catholic Charities a $403,850 grant to continue its commitment to make a difference in the lives of youth, their families and educators.

The grant reflects part of the funds Fidelis Care made available through its 2015 Community Grant Fund, which are distributed in the eight Roman Catholic Dioceses across New York State, including The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, to nonprofit organizations with similar missions and values of service to low-income, vulnerable individuals.

“Year after year, the Catholic Charities In-School Social Work program has proved to be a proactive and effective method in addressing non-academic barriers that impede the academic success of students,” said Dennis Walczyk, Catholic Charities chief executive officer. “We are grateful for the long-standing, strong investment by Fidelis Care as we work toward our long-term goal of continuing to respond to the social and emotional needs of students of our Catholic schools and their families.”

The ISSWP works to enhance student success by providing counseling and comprehensive character development skill building activities for students through short-term individual sessions, small groups and classroom presentations. Consultation services are also available for parents, teachers and principals, as well as staff development for teachers and principals to expand strategies and interventions for strengthening student character. Based on the assessment of other student or parent needs, linkages to other Catholic Charities’ programs are available, including mental health counseling, emergency financial assistance, food assistance and the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program.

“Our commitment to serve children, families and their local communities reach far beyond health coverage,” said Rev. Patrick J. Frawley, Fidelis Care president and chief executive officer. “We are proud to support the In-School Social Work Program for another year as it continues to positively impact the lives of young people.”

The program currently serves: Notre Dame Academy in South Buffalo, Our Lady of Black Rock and St. Joseph University, both in Buffalo, Catholic Academy in Niagara Falls, St. John the Baptist in Alden, St. Peter School in Lewiston, St. Aloysius in Springville, Our Lady of Victory in Lackawanna, St. John the Baptist in Tonawanda and Queen of Heaven in West Seneca.

Approximately 897 students and their families were directly assisted by the program during the 2015-2016 service year, which runs from April to March.

For more information about the ISSW program, please call (716) 218-1400, ext. 2012 or visit

Fidelis Care offers quality, affordable health insurance coverage for children and adults of all ages and at all stages of life, including products available through NY State Department of Health: The Official Health Plan Marketplace. With more than 1.4 million members in 61 counties, Fidelis Care was founded on the belief that all New Yorkers should have access to affordable, quality health insurance.

As the most comprehensive human service provider serving Western New York, Catholic Charities makes a difference for people of every faith and ethnicity. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives.

In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assess its clients for other needs to ensure long-term success.

Catholic Charities is an excellent steward of the contributions it receives. The Better Business Bureau Foundation of Upstate New York recently presented Catholic Charities with the 2015 Torch Award for Philanthropic Excellence, recognizing the organization for employing practices which generate a high level of trust among employees, donors and communities. It also receives the highest-possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for transparency and sound fiscal management, and the highest ratings from the Council on Accreditation for quality service.

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