In-School Counseling & Support Assistance

Our in-school programs provide extra supports to help students overcome obstacles they may face in achieving success in the classroom.


In-School Social Work

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The In-School Social Work Program (ISSWP) enhances student success by providing comprehensive character-development and skill-building activities for students through short-term individual sessions, small groups and classroom presentations.

The ISSWP program helps address emotional factors and improve family dynamics to reduce high-risk behavior. Outcomes reflect improvement in 10-character development areas:

  • Students’ academic engagement
  • Safe and healthy peer and adult relationships
  • Healthy and effective communication
  • Respect and caring for self
  • Respect and caring for others
  • Cooperation and teamwork
  • Personal safety
  • Self-esteem
  • Solution-building/coping skills
  • Creativity and participation in non-academic activities.

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Group based activities focus on:

  • healthy friendships
  • personal safety
  • non-violent conflict resolution
  • feelings and empathy
  • kindness and respect
  • school success
  • personal responsibility
  • handling peer pressure and bullying,
  • improving engagement in school

Consultation services are also available for parents, teachers and principals, as well as staff development for teachers and administrators, to expand strategies and interventions for strengthening student character. Based on the assessment of other student or parent needs, a referral to other Catholic Charities’ programs, including counseling, is available.

The ISSWP program is offered in Catholic Schools in four counties: Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee and Niagara:

  • Catholic Academy of Niagara Falls Elementary School
  • DeSales Catholic School in Lockport
  • Northern Chautauqua Catholic School in Dunkirk
  • Notre Dame Academy in South Buffalo
  • Our Lady of Black Rock School in Buffalo
  • Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament School in Lancaster
  • Our Lady of Victory School in Lackawanna
  • Queen of Heaven School in West Seneca
  • St. Benedict School in Amherst
  • St. Amelia School in Tonawanda
  • St. John the Baptist School in Alden
  • St. John the Baptist School in Tonawanda
  • St. Joseph School in Batavia
  • St. Joseph University School in Buffalo
  • St. Mary’s School in Swormville
  • St. Peter School in Lewiston
  • SS. Peter & Paul School in Hamburg

For additional information, please call (716) 853-9047.

Closing the Gap Program

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The Closing the Gap (CTG) Program seeks to improve the academic success of students in Buffalo Public Schools by addressing non-academic barriers to learning. CTG began in 2002 in collaboration with Catholic Charities, the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, and the Buffalo Public School District.

Site facilitators function as a liaison between home, school and community. In addition, site facilitators lead the collaborative process and develop a continuum of seamless services for children, families and community members with a school neighborhood.

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Site facilitators pair school-based agency providers with students and families for such needs as clothing, food, tutoring and mentoring, mental health services, grief and loss counseling, parent support, after school and summer programming, behavior and re-entry planning, classroom student support, peer leadership, life skills development, and crisis intervention.

Supported through funding provided by the Office of Mental Health, United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, Department of Education and Buffalo Public Schools, the Closing the Gap Program is offered in the following Buffalo Public schools:

  • BPS # 67 Discovery School
  • BPS # 72 Lorraine Elementary
  • BPS # 93 Southside Elementary
  • BPS # 206 South Park High School

The South Buffalo Promise Zone (SBPZN) Neighborhood began in 2011 as a way for staff members from four schools in the South Buffalo area to share resources and information that would help the students living in this area.

With appreciation for the CTG Site Facilitator Program model, the South Buffalo Promise Zone Neighborhood (SBPZN) was established in 2011. This community of five South Buffalo schools was united under the Site Facilitator Program model to share resources and information unique to the geographic community of the schools. With respect for the reputable service provided to families in the South Buffalo Promise Zone Neighborhood, the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and Department of Education additionally invested funding (October 2015-September 2020) for full-service community school services for Southside Elementary (BPS #93) and South Park High School (BPS #206) community families

The collaboration among the schools has allowed for large scale initiatives against bullying, helping students with the transition into high school, parent engagement and informational events, and has fostered inter-school collaborations among students and programs.

SBPZN site facilitators coordinate mental health counseling, grief counseling, parenting groups, prevention services, skills groups, basic needs, and linkage and referral to individual students and families.

Additionally, site facilitators have created a network which allows students and families in the Promise Zone Neighborhood the opportunity to access services/programs at any of the four partnering schools:

  • BPS # 67 Discovery School (OMH -funded)
  • BPS # 72 Lorraine Elementary (OMH -funded)
  • BPS # 93 Southside Elementary
  • BPS # 206 South Park High School (OMH -funded)

For morel information about either of these programs and contracting with Catholic Charities, please call (716) 853-9047.

Primary Project

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Primary Project is a nationally recognized program that helps children in pre-K through third grade who have difficulty adjusting to their environment overcome these challenges through play therapy. Children who are recommended for the program by teachers and parents receive one-on-one services, both in person and virtually, with a trained mental health professional. This grant-funded program is managed by the Children’s Institute and is currently available at St. John the Baptist School in Kenmore.