Catholic Charities in the News

As the charitable arm of the Diocese of Phoenix, we help the most vulnerable in seven counties in Northern and Central Arizona.


Catholic Charities Receives $20,000 Grant From the Board of Visitors for Westside Head Start Mental Health Services

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Feb. 25 2021): The Board of Visitors has awarded a $20,000 grant to Catholic Charities Community Services for Westside Head Start Mental Health Services to address adverse childhood experiences and behavioral health challenges.

“To effectively mitigate the negative impacts of adverse childhood experiences and behavioral health challenges, it is imperative that we address mental health and well-being at an early age,” said Yatin Dua, Executive Director of Westside Head Start. “The Board of Visitors desire to fund programs that serve the healthcare needs of children in the greater Phoenix community will help ensure the mental health needs of our community’s youngest residents are met and prepare them for a successful and healthy future.”

The grant will fund a new mental health program that provides families access to mental health services and increases both the understanding and awareness of mental health issues, Karen Bisko, Catholic Charities Vice President of Philanthropy said.

Westside Head Start has been promoting lifelong success for economically disadvantaged at no cost to children ages birth to five and their families for more than 40 years in Avondale, Buckeye, El Mirage, Glendale, Palo Verde, Tolleson and Peoria. The program is expected to serve 900 students and their families during the 2020-21 academic year toward its goal of improving learning and developmental outcomes.

In the western Maricopa County communities served by Westside Head Start, 26 percent of children ages birth to five live in poverty, nearly double Arizona’s statewide rate of 14 percent. Nearly 80 percent of Westside Head Start students are living in poverty and more than six percent are experiencing homelessness.

“Addressing the needs of children in our community, especially those whose families struggle financially, has been The Board of Visitors mission for more than 100

years,” said Board of Visitors Co-Chairs Katie Chester and Shannon Jones. “Providing access to critical services and resources for these children and their families is vital in putting them on a path to self sufficiency and healthy lives.”

Students and families eligible to enroll in Westside Head Start include expectant mothers, children ages 0-5, and children with special needs, foster children and homeless children. Enrollment, other than for families with a member who has attended Westside Head Start or expectant mothers, can be done online at Expectant mothers and families with members who have attended the program should call 623-486-9868.

About Catholic Charities:

Founded in 1933, Catholic Charities provides care for the vulnerable of all faiths in central and northern Arizona through programs in foster care, early education, veteran services, refugee resettlement, and homeless outreach. Housing for Hope, a separate 501c3, is an affiliate of Catholic Charities and provides affordable housing. Learn more by visiting or Social connections include and

Jean Christofferson
Catholic Charities Community Services