Monthly Archives: February 2023

The Impact of Mental Health Support: Erasmo’s Story

Erasmo, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and experienced homelessness multiple times due to his illness, was stabilized at Meadowview Hospital before being admitted to the Catholic Charities/Mount Carmel Guild residential program in Union City. 

While in the program, he attended groups for education about his mental health, learned the importance of taking medication, and developed skills to cope with his feelings. He graduated from the Partial Care program in 2018 and has served as a role model for other residents at Union City residences. In the eight years Erasmo has been a resident in the group home, he has not been hospitalized for another mental health crisis.

This is what he says about his home at the Union City residence:

“This place has brightened up my life and eased the pain of being homeless,” he said. “I feel braver about my life. I have people who help me. I know that I can utilize my counselors, staff, and doctors.”

Erasmo credits Catholic Charities/Mount Carmel Guild for providing him with care and support and allowing him to face realities without experiencing another mental health crisis.

Are you or someone you love experiencing a mental health crisis? Our partners at Catholic Charities are available to help. Learn more about this dedicated agency at

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The Power of Supporting Young Mothers: Veronica’s Story

When Veronica Artis-Bryant was a 20-year-old sophomore at Stevens Institute of Technology, she discovered she was pregnant. Scared and unsure of her future, she found support and guidance through the Essex YCS Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) program. 

Her NFP nurse, Karen Burton, provided support and care for Veronica and her baby for two years. YCS offers this free program, connecting first-time, inner-city mothers with compassionate registered nurses.

Not only did Burton help with medical concerns but also provided emotional support, enabling Veronica to get a paid internship at a hardware production business. This opportunity boosted Veronica’s confidence and motivated her to pursue a major in mechanical engineering and design.

In the end, Veronica is proof that with a little support and encouragement, young mothers can make it.

When you donate to the Holiday Fund, you help organizations like YCS provide support and services to families in New Jersey.

Will you donate today? Visit and select ‘donate’ (or link in bio👉 @holidayfundnj)

Every contribution makes an impact!

Original story taken from

Take Control of Your Finances with the Help of ULEC’s Financial Opportunity Center

It’s every person’s dream to be financially free, and Anthony Bygrave is proof that it can be done. With the help of the Urban League of Essex County (ULEC) Financial Opportunity Center, Bygrave went from unemployed and discouraged to financially independent and inspiring. 

After losing his job as a forklift operator in July 2015 and facing unemployment, Bygrave found himself in need of assistance. He was referred to ULEC by a family friend and after attending some initial training sessions and meeting with a financial coach, Kamilla Johnson, his life quickly changed for the better.

Bygrave increased his credit score by 90 points, opened both checking and saving accounts, moved into an apartment on his own, purchased a used car, and decreased his debt by more than $11,000. 

He now feels financially independent, thanks to the services provided by ULEC and Johnson. Bygrave’s success story serves as an inspiration to others looking to take control of their finances. Here’s what she has to say about her client’s achievements: 

“I am elated every time a client commits to coaching and reaches their goal; I feel privileged to be a change agent in the process,” she said. “However, I constantly remind my clients that they are the masters of their own lives, and I am just a facilitator helping them.”

Will you give ONE donation this year and support the work of ELEVEN critical agencies like ULEC? Visit and select ‘donate’.

Original story taken from