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.
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.
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.