Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) recognizes that violence is a key public health concern. For the past five years, CHI has reached outside the walls of its member hospitals and other health care facilities to support violence-prevention efforts in the broader community.
Through its program of violence-prevention grants, CHI is currently working with partners in 43 communities. The Dominican Sisters of Peace was one of the first groups to partner with CHI in this initiative five years ago. The grant enabled the congregation to seek ways to actively address the pervasive violence and create community empowerment in a trailer park not far from the Columbus motherhouse. After two years of pre-planning, the congregation moved to the implementation phase, where they continue to work with about 250 primarily immigrant Latino families, 90 percent of whom have experienced some form of violence. For each area of violence (domestic violence, youth bullying, adult family-to-family violence, etc.) the group set goals for reduction and has met, exceeded or is on track to meet each goal—all within just three years of the implementation process for the grant.
Sisters Shawn Fitzpatrick, Robin Richard, Roberta Miller and employees Lisset Mendoza, Donna Vroom and Alice Black have been working on this project. They formed a coalition which focuses on activities to build leadership skills, increase health and wellness, provide a safe physical environment and empower trailer park residents to become individual, family and community advocates. Meetings and workshops have addressed topics such as police-community relationships and immigrant rights.
Residents are reclaiming their community from gang and drug activity and building positive social relationships that will support the long-term health of their community. Children have been able to attend summer camp at Shepherd’s Corner, and youth of all ages are experiencing more hope for
their future. Women are becoming empowered and positive outcomes are being achieved for those
who are marginalized by society. In this ongoing process, much has been learned about serving those
who are most in need. Please continue to keep this community in prayer.