While many organizations choose to help with education in the school system, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gary has chosen to approach programs on education from a different angle.
In 2014, Catholic Charities began a program called Educational Opportunities for Families in Crisis. This program was funded by FEC and was made available to needy families living in East Chicago.
The types of educational opportunities offered by this program were designed to help families become more self-sufficient by addressing various life skills. There were three types of curriculum that were offered: nutritional education, financial education and information technology.
The courses on nutritional education emphasized healthy eating habits. They discussed the consequences of not eating healthy, balanced meals and the impact that a healthier lifestyle could have on an individual. The courses also taught children about how to be healthy and what being healthy could mean for them and their future.
The financial education courses discussed various aspects of finances such as money management, saving, homeownership and housing laws. Some participants in these courses who were facing eviction at the time were also offered rent assistance so they could have more time to review their financial situation.
The information technology courses offered education on accessing online programs, services and opportunities. These classes were taught in a computer lab so that the participants could actually practice what they were learning. Use of the lab also gave participants without a computer at home the chance to get some computer work done. Many completed the course having learned valuable skills such as online shopping and bill pay.
Educating the community is not all that Catholic Charities has done for East Chicago. The organization has also provided assistance for those who have faced having their electricity and heat turned off. This was done by providing financial assistance in conjunction with public education on money management. For more information on how Catholic Charities has helped the people of East Chicago, visit foundationsec.org.