"Rising Strong" with Community Partners

On May 4-5th, Catholic Charities and the Empire Health Foundation hosted a group of distinguished partners for a work session and tour of the Holy Names campus that will be the home of the new Rising Strong program, as well as hundreds of new units of affordable family and senior housing.

Rising Strong will provide a safe alternative for families at risk of separation due to neglect stemming from parental alcohol and substance abuse. It will offer treatment services for parents, along with housing and wraparound support for the whole family. By keeping the family together with supervision and services, trauma is reduced for children and parents are much more likely to succeed in treatment.

The group included representatives from Children’s Administration, Excelsior Youth Services, Spokane Family Court, and Children and Family Futures. Our guest of honor was Dr. Kathryn Icenhower, who shared valuable lessons learned as CEO of Shield for Families in Los Angeles. They have provided family centered treatment with housing in South Central Los Angeles for 25 years, and are both an inspiration and a mentor.

L-R: Heather Cantamessa, Shannon Selland, Jill Gresham, Annie Kurtz, Nadine Van Stone, Kathy Icenhower, Alisha Fehrenbacher, Teri Kook, Janell Grubb, Mike Yeaton, Andrew Hill

L-R: Heather Cantamessa, Shannon Selland, Jill Gresham, Annie Kurtz, Nadine Van Stone, Kathy Icenhower, Alisha Fehrenbacher, Teri Kook, Janell Grubb, Mike Yeaton, Andrew Hill

We tackled a number of key design questions and have laid out clear next steps on our path to launch. We are so lucky to have this committed and collaborative group of people at the table to shape this work!

The Holy Names property itself boasts 35 acres of spectacular wooded grounds right along the Spokane River. The main building is an 86 room convent and in excellent condition, however we expect some kid proofing will be required. It was exciting to walk through the grounds with our partners and see ideas starting to turn to solid action items through our collaborative conversations.

As Commissioner Michelle Ressa of Spokane Family Court puts it: “The children, families and community in Spokane would greatly benefit from increased options for keeping kids safe AND families together. We need more options to keep kids safe while families address the issues that led to court involvement."