Oscar, a soft spoken 55-year-old man, got released from the police department in Flagstaff, Ariz. He went out of the poice department’s front doors into the cold November morning—no one was there to meet him. He didn’t have money or shelter for the night. Originally from the Navajo reservation, now in Flagstaff, he faced homelessness alone.

Diane DeLong, senior program manager of North Star Youth Partnership, started her journey with Catholic Charities 20 years ago.  In that time, DeLong not only managed the program, but also built it from the ground up.

The first five years of a child’s life are extremely important.  So important, in fact, that 90 percent of their brain is developed by age 5!  Every word that a child hears will help them to develop vocabulary, put concepts together and build stronger brain connections. 

The vocabulary, attention span and general knowledge in a child ages 3-4 is a good predictor of how well a child in 3rd or 4th grade will do with reading comprehension.  Luckily, there are many things parents can do to help children with those reading skills.

The Loft, a drop-in day center serving the homeless, will be closing and transitioning into Manzanita Housing to serve vulnerable women. Catholic Charities will continue to provide support to the homeless through coordinated entry at its office and through other programs of homeless outreach and veteran services.

Everything changed that night. I couldn’t sleep. I went on the internet and typed in “Travis Taylor Missing.” Why, I still don’t know, but there it was; “Travis Austin Taylor Search” with his picture. Travis’ family in Salinas, Calif., was searching for him.

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