Catholic Charities North’s Education Center named finalist for annual award

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Catholic Charities North’s Education Center, an innovative program of the Archdiocese of Boston, was one of 10 finalists chosen from among nationwide nominees for a Catholic Charities USA’s 2007 Family Strengthening Award.

Supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Catholic Charities USA’s Family Strengthening Awards recognize exceptional programs in the Catholic Charities network that take a holistic approach to providing services by working to support healthy family relationships, improve the overall financial situation of client families, and enhance their communities.

As a community service center of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Boston, Catholic Charities North is able to serve individuals and strengthen families in more than 30 communities in Essex and Middlesex counties through its main offices in Lynn, Salem, and Gloucester.

The Catholic Charities North’s Education Center offers a range of education and employment services, including English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) and General Educational Development (GED) Test instruction, employment preparation, and computer skills training for those leaving welfare for work. By increasing self-sufficiency through skill building and sustainable employment, the education center empowers and strengthens families by providing them a seamless transition and access to needed education and/or employment programs in the Greater Lynn area.

“The education center and others like it are good for families, good for communities and good for our nation because they provide critical assistance to those in need, strengthen families, and help reduce poverty in America,” said Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA.

Fran Troutman, director of the Catholic Charities North’s Education Center, said educational services that are offered by the education center serve to strengthen connections between families and community assets.

“Our collaboration with many area organizations, particularly those that share a common focus on family strengthening through education and employment, helps us to create an environment where families can access the help they need to successfully build strong family bonds and succeed in the work force,” Troutman said. “Rooted in our mission to serve those most in need, our programs combine case management, education, job training, and ongoing support to aid the families in becoming self-sufficient. They also serve to motivate the individuals as well as help them to identify the obstacles that might inhibit their success.”

The 2007 Catholic Charities USA Family Strengthening Award winners are El Programa Hispano of Catholic Charities of Oregon, Catholic Social Services of Charlotte’s Office of Economic Opportunity, The Thorpe Family Residences of Catholic Charities of New York, and the Southside Family Center of Catholic Charities of Hartford. The awardees will be formally honored at Catholic Charities USA’s annual gathering in Cincinnati on Sept.16.

To learn more about the 2007 award winners and the other finalists, visit