I completed my undergraduate internship with HFI, and not a day goes by that I don't think of the staff and clients I was lucky enough to work with, two years ago. HFI truly thinks about the best interest of each individual child that enters their services. I learned what it means to be compassionate. Thank you HFI, for a real, life changing experience. I would not be the person that I am today without Miss V and Mr. Bart.
Review from The Pittsburgh Foundation
I mentored a girl at Holy Family Institute for three years and during that time I saw how effectively the staff cared for those entrusted to them. They worked to help the children take responsibility for their actions while encouraging and loving them. Through the on campus school, the children were educated in an environment where their special circumstances and needs could be addressed.
Their off-campus programs are excellent from what I know. However, their on-campus residential homes leave little to be desired. I "volunteered" 5 days a week at HFI as an AmeriCorps member and the way the agency worked with the on-campus youth was disturbing. It seemed that to make the kids happy, supervisors would just give the kids what they wanted--not what they needed but what they wanted. The staff working the units are often left to work alone or understaffed and overtime. There were many times that, as an AmeriCorps member, I was asked to do things that were against my contract and were unsafe (i.e. driving youth around, remaining on the unit alone with youth). I believe HFI has heart and wants to the best for the youth but I worked individually very, very close with 10-12 of the youth and what they needed and what HFI was giving them was not matching up. Maybe things have changed in the past year since I was there but I would not feel comfortable supporting HFI.
I have been volunteering at Holy Family Insitute for almost 2 years. I have seen such a wonderful care for children who are committed to their care. They provide so many opportunities for the kids, both in entertainment and education. I personally am involved with providing a Bible Study once a week with the boys, and I have seen how caring the staff is on a regular basis when I come. The sports, activities, entertainment, and religious opportunities afforded the kids has impressed me. It seems a great destination for foster kids, and I would recommend it to others.
Holy Family is dedicated to helping children and families deal with the difficult issues that arise from problematic family situations. They do so with a clear focus on making children feel safe, loved and important. As a volunteer it has been a privilege to work with Holy Family and be a part of making at least one young man feel loved.
I have been impressed by the leadership's practice of assessing the effectiveness of Holy Family Institute in the delivery of the multitude of services it provides. Holy Family in all its endeavors I have observed has remained true to its mission "to support and nurture families" both in its long-term track record working with families locally and now with the quality programming provided for international students. An example of Holy Family's standing at the ready to offer loving support where its needed is the Institute's assuming care for 12 Haitian Orphans after the earthquake struck. Holy Family recruited volunteers and additional staff to address the children's needs such as making certain that the children were able to retain their Creole language. Holy Family open its arms to the 12 children offering them a loving home that sought to meet special needs the Institute perceived existed. Judith Griggs
I have been involved with Holy Family for nearly 15 years, and I have personally witnessed the difference it makes in children's lives who do not have much to look forward to given the lack of attention from their families for one reason or another. Each person is treated with dignity and respect, and there is an honest attempt to set boundaries to start to instill responsibility and accountability. Each of our own children and my wife have been involved in Holy Family through volunter work, and frankly they have received more than they have given.
I've been involved for many years with the organization and seen the good works first hand when the regulatory agencies can't fill a need due to funding, this group is often filling the void on a "shoestring" budget! At-risk youth and families in the community are given the support needed. The staff of the organization from the leadership to the teachers and counselors provide positive role models for their clients. This group demonstrates positive outcomes in their communities.
During the last 8 years I have participated in Holy Family starting from a United Way day of Caring event to finally serving on committess and the Board . What started as a comiitment to our community has now become a lifetime committment to teh organization and the children it serves. Our world has become much more challenging for Children with a weak economy , family stress, and a world of other issues. It is only because of organizations like HFI that these kids have a hope in many cases for a normal life. As a father and comunity activist I feel it is a personal responsibility to help these children succeed.... and the rewards of helping others have only enriched my life . There is no price to put on the value of a child that has been rescued, helped and given hope. The reward is the happiness/ sense that we are making the world a better place and it comes back a thousand times over. Another great aspect has been the outpouring of help from our associates at Eaton and the teaming that has occured. Giving to our comunity via HFI and it 's tremendous staff is one of the best things I have ever done . Dave Tallman, VP Eaton Corp.
Jesus said when you care for the least of by brothers you care for me. The inspirational work done by Holy Family Institute for the past 100 plus years serves as living testimony to the direction we have been given. I have see the lives of people changed by the love and expertise of the Holy Family staff. The flexabilty of the staff in helping children from Haiti, Visiting Chinese students,troubled youths and families in crisis demonstates the impact of a versitile and committed organization. I am humbles and proud to be associated with them..
As a member of the Employers Advisory Board, I have worked with HFI to prepare their students for the 'real world' in terms of filling out applications and interviewing for positions. These are essential career skills that will benefit the student for life. HFI instructors and administrators really care about these children and work very hard within the community to prepare them for their futures.
I have been a member of the boards and committees of Holy Family Institute in one role for about 30 years, with perhaps a couple years off here and there. It has been a privelege to see the growth that has taken place at HFI over these years. There have been many exciting new programs developed and some ended, but every step of the way has been a challenge that has been surmounted by one of the best group of leaders I have ever worked with. The mission of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, of service to families, has been lived out for more than 100 years and it shows in the number of families and children who are able to live better lives.
My name is Carl DiFiore, I have had the pleasure of being a volunteer at Holy Family for the past 8 years, during this time I have met many wonderful children & staff with residential service. Over the years I've seen children arrive with various temperments, attitudes & family situations. As one of many examples I can provide, a specific child Justin arrived several years ago angry and unwilling to listen. Through caring & devoted staff he improved and matured eventually being discharged. This year he graduated from high school, is working 2 jobs this summer and will be attending college in the fall. None of this would have been possible without the care & dedication of the wonderful staff at Holy Family Institute. I believe in the cause of Holy Family, it's staff, the value it provides to the community and above all the children whose lives it alters. I am proud to be a volunteer and will continue to be one for many years to come.
I have volunteered for this wonderful organization for over ten years. The work they do helping children in Pgh is outstanding; I support every event and fundraiser possible. Their employees devote timeless energy, and not for the pay, but simply for the betterment of a child's life. These kids may be a number in a bureaucracy, but at Holy Family they get proper attention and help, with lots of love added for extra measure. I enjoy working with both a caring staff and the kids.