Annual Catholic Appeal helps youth on the journey to adulthood

Since 2003, Catholics in our diocese have been faithful to our neighbors in need with financial gifts to the Annual Catholic Appeal. More than 100 programs are supported, including those that help youth and young adults.

Julie Rhoten, left, and Julie Ros at Stanford Neighborhood Settlement Center in Sacramento.

In the rough neighborhoods of Sacramento’s Garden Land, 60 children as young as three through high school age find safety, love and mentoring at Stanford Settlement Neighborhood Center’s after-school program.

“The kids have a lot of challenges” says Assistant Director Julie Rhoten, who has been with the center since 1989. “They don’t have the words to say, ‘This is what’s going on in my life and I feel sad or mad.’ We help them develop coping skills, talk about their feelings and make better choices instead of acting out and getting into trouble.”

31 year-old Julie Ros came to Stanford Settlement when she was 8 years old. “It was tough as a kid growing up. My parents were drug addicts. I had to deal with gangs at school. I knew my life wasn’t normal”. Now married and a mother of four, she’s grateful for her time there. “Stanford taught us that you could be a part of something and it doesn’t have to be negative.” While most kids remembered their home phone number, Julie knew Stanford’s number. “They were always there for me…they always answered my calls.”

Catholic Charities of Yolo-Solano provides on-site counselors to local schools. Nearly 4,000 students can reach out for emotional support to avoid crisis in their lives. The organization also provides adults and families with access to food, counseling and legal services.

Northern Valley Catholic Social Service helps young parents face many challenges.

Northern Valley Catholic Social Service helps young parents to confront drug addiction or face an unexpected pregnancy. They gain the ability to work through the challenges of adult responsibility and raising a family. Programs provide case management, work and personal skills, access to healthcare. Some are helped with housing.

Through community partnerships with Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, fresh produce makes its way to students of all ages. To many, these programs are a life-line.

Appeal-supported organizations also give youth in our schools a chance to experience charity face to face.

Madeline L’Engle and Lilly Jenkins are eighth-graders at St. John Notre Dame School in Folsom. Once a month, they and fellow students visit Friendship Park, a gathering place for homeless men and women operated by Loaves and Fishes. Breakfast is prepared by younger students and served by fifth to eight graders.

Tristan L'Engle drives the students from St. John Notre Dame School to their monthly visit at Friendship Park.

“It’s really humbling to have this connection with people.” Madeline says “God wants us to support them because we are all God’s children.” “I like being able to give face to face, instead of just handing things off to charities” said Lilly. Tristan L’Engle drives the kids to the monthly visit. “Coming here gives all the kids a beautiful perspective that this is our community, these are our friends, our brothers and sisters that we need to care for.

Charities rely on the Annual Catholic Appeal every year to continue their mission to help men, women, children and families in our neighborhoods. Most parishes will invite parishioners to make a donation in March.

“St. Augustine’s message that ‘The pain of one, even the smallest member, is the pain of all’ brings home the mission of the Annual Catholic Appeal. When we give ourselves through the Annual Catholic Appeal, we join with Catholic charities…and our own parish outreach…to bring the mercy of Christ to those who suffer on the margins.” +Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento

To watch a video about the ACA, visit

To make a secure donation online, visit our Giving page