Health. Education. Justice.
Three of the hardest social structures to navigate—then add not speaking the language on top of it. For immigrant families, they may be missing out on crucial support they need during the transition to a new country and culture. These supports may be exactly what their children need in order to begin the cycle of generational success. That’s where Holy Cross Ministries comes in.
The nonprofit began more than 140 years ago, when two nuns came to what was then just a territory of the U.S., to set up a hospital for injured miners and railroad workers—basically the population of the area. The hospital grew, bringing more and more sisters to the area to help address other needs—especially those of women and children in the rough-and-tumble West. As the needs of the area changed, so did the mission of the organization. The goal stayed the same—serve the underrepresented and marginalized. But now the group does that through several programs falling under education, health, and justice.
The U.S. medical system can be difficult to manage – even for me, a college-educated, lifelong citizen of this country. I still get overwhelmed by all the red tape, and that’s with no language barrier. The Promotoras program looks to help act as “bridge builders” to help families—especially immigrant families access the programs they need to succeed. According to its website: “Holy Cross Ministries’ Promotoras – bilingual, bicultural outreach workers – strive to ensure that all families are healthy, safe, and can navigate complex health and social systems.” Through this program, it offers prenatal support, assistance in enrolling in CHIP/Medicaid, assistance finding a primary care doctor, a support group for families with children who have disabilities, and resources to help parents talk with their teens about preventing and reducing risky sexual behaviors.
HCM also offers counseling services, focusing on healing from domestic abuse. Many immigrants coming to this country are fleeing violence, sometimes in their country, sometimes in their own home. HCM offers one-on-one and group counseling to help the healing process.
Bi-lingual Holy Cross Ministries focuses on getting young children ready for school. Through its Parents As Teachers programs, it helps parents in the crucial 0-3 year time period, where a lot of language is acquired. Home visits and screening help make sure baby is up to standard developmentally and getting all the support needed to enter school.
The organization also offers the School Readiness Program, which offers daily classes (and transportation) for kiddos 0-3 years. The goal is to “prepare children academically, socially, emotionally, and physically to enter into the public school system.” HCM also ran a successful after-school program but has since turned the operation over to the Park City School District.
Our legal immigration system is complicated and that complication only continues to grow. HCM helps people navigate the system. In fact, it has helped more than 10,000 people since it started offering legal aid in 2000. Many families are fleeing crime in their home countries—domestic violence, gang violence or governmental unrest. HCM focuses on helping those people get everything they need to stay here and, if they choose, get on the path to citizenship.
HCM is a religious organization but it offers services to anyone, regardless of religious affiliation, race, ethnicity, gender or ability to pay. The organization has changed a lot over the years—one of its main goals is to be adaptable to the changing needs of the community. But no matter what, it has and will continue to offer service that will help individuals and families get back on their feet and set them up for success within the community. Click HERE if you would like to donate or volunteer.