Caring Network

Caring Network

The Caring Network makes a positive difference in the lives of moms, babies, and families. We help pregnant moms deliver healthy babies, develop positive parenting and lifestyle behaviors, and transition into self-sufficiency and stability. We are located in the Van Domelen Center at 1441 South Westnedge and available via phone at 269-381-1234 anytime! Please read below to learn more about our services and how we might be able to assist you or someone you know. We also encourage you to get involved and help us in this important work of love!

Services are confidential and there are no fees!

Case Management

We have staff trained to help women find the community resources they need in order to have a healthy pregnancy and birth. We offer case management to set goals, help with housing needs, provide support for women in crisis and more. Pregnancy case management usually occurs from before birth until the child is one year old.

Parents as Teachers

Parents as Teachers Educators actively work with parents and their children helping parents to prepare their children for lifelong learning. Our Parent Educators meet parents in the home or in the office working to accommodate parents' schedules as best as possible. This program typically works with parents from before or just after the child's birth up until the child is three years old.

Mother-Friend Volunteers

Teen moms and pregnant women receive one-to-one emotional support, friendship and mentoring from mature women who have experienced pregnancy and parenting.

Perinatal Depression and Infant Mortality Risk Assessment

Women who receive services are screened for perinatal depression and risk factors which may lead to infant mortality. Education, counseling and support services are offered when needed.

Classes

Caring Network's Mama Academy offers classes most Wednesday and Thursday afternoons from 3:30-5:30 PM. Offerings include: Childbirth Preparation and Parenting for Teens (six week series), Baby Basics (four week series), Get Your Grown Up On (parenting class series of seven weeks) and special classes on parenting, breastfeeding, and "Talk It Out Wednesdays" (bring any issue you want to discuss) among others. Call us at 269-381-9800 to learn more or to register.

Mother Friend Connection

Every month Caring Network hosts a mid-morning program aimed at supporting mothers in different ways. One month we may discuss taking care of yourself; another month the focus may be on an upcoming holiday. All Caring Network clients are invited to attend these monthly events.

Adoption Services

For women who aren't sure if parenting is their best choice, adoption options can be discussed confidentially with an adoption counselor.

Maternity and Baby Needs

Resources are available for Caring Network clients, including maternity and baby clothes, blankets, diapers, furniture, toys, and books.

The Warm Line

A 24/7 telephone line is also a lifeline providing emotional support and practical assistance from trained volunteers. Call anytime day or night for help!

Lending Library

Caring Network has a lending library available to all Caring Network clients. We encourage parents to read to their children even before birth.

Would You Like To Help?

  • We always welcome volunteers!  You can help in the Resource Room, Caring Closet, assist in the office, serve as a Mother-Friend mentor, be a Warm Line volunteer, or help with special events and projects!
  • We always accept donations!  You can donate up-to-date maternity clothes, diapers, onesies, baby clothes, receiving blankets, playpens, and many more items which are desperately needed by our moms and their babies!  You can find our baby registry at Amazon.com/babyregistry--just type Caring Network in the last-name field.  
  • Give a financial gift in person, by mail, or on-line.  Visit smile.Amazon.com to choose Catholic Charities Diocese of Kalamazoo as your charity of choice.  
  • Do you know someone who could use our help?  Please refer women to us if you think they may benefit from our help!
  • Invite us to speak at a special event, meeting, or even an informal gathering of people eager to learn more about our many services and how we could use your help!
  • Pray, pray, pray.  We welcome all prayers for our moms, their babies, and our agency.

 The Ark Shelter

The Ark Shelter

If you or someone you know is homeless, has run away from home or needs immediate help, call our 24 hour crisis hotline at 1-800-873-8336.

We are excited to share these videos with you:



Want to learn more about the range of Ark Services?
- Check out this video (click here).

Want to learn more about The Ark Shelter?
- Check out this video (click here).

We also encourage you to call or e-mail us if you have specific questions.

Staff are ready and able to meet your immediate needs at our Drop-In Center. Stop in at one of the times and locations below to receive crisis intervention, food, access to resources, and personalized support.

Calhoun County Kalamazoo CountyAllegan County

Alternate Weds - Virtual Academy
35 Hamblin Ave (Inside Full Blast)
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

 Monday - VanDomelen Center
1441 South Westnedge
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

 Alternate Weds - Portage Comm Center
325 East Center
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

(School Year Only)
 First Thurs - Fennville Star Program
5 Memorial Drive
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Alternate Weds - Calhoun Comm HS
15 Arbor Street
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

 Thursday - The Ark Shelter
990 West Kilgore
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

(School Year Only)
 First Thurs - Allegan High School
1560 M-40 North
12:15 PM - 2:00 PM

Want directions to The Ark Shelter from your community? Click here.

What is The Ark?

The Ark helps youth and families who are in crisis become stable, develop strong and healthy relationships, and develop positive, achievable goals for the future.

The Ark is physically located in Kalamazoo, but serves youth and their families in nine counties across southwest Michigan. The Ark Shelter is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is always available via the crisis line (above). The Ark works with runaway youth, homeless youth, and youth in crisis, as well as their families. Youth may stay for up to 21 days and receive individual case management as well as two daily group sessions. Family members are encouraged to participate in sessions and counseling is available through our Bridges program, if desired. Services are also provided in the community and any family can request a remote assessment, with staff coming to you to discuss the program and see if we can help!

The Ark seeks to provide a safe place for youth and families to work on their goals, to reunite youth with their families, to empower youth to identify healthy life style behaviors and to develop positive decision-making skills.

What happens when a youth or family calls The Ark?

The youth, family, and staff work together to understand the challenges/issues (as well as family skills and strengths) through completing an assessment -- this also helps us determine if The Ark will be able to help the youth and family. Both the youth and the family have to agree that the youth can participate. All services are voluntary to eligible families.

Once the youth is admitted into the program, the youth, family members, and staff develop an individualized person-centered plan with specific goals. Staff work with the entire family to make progress on those goals while at The Ark -- and for up to 90 days afterward. If needed, Ark staff make referrals to partner agencies and help youth and families get the help they need to succeed.

To learn more about the range of services we offer to youth, please click here to watch an informational video.

If you (or someone you know) is in crisis, you can always call us (24/7/365) at 1-800-873-833

Outreach and Prevention Services

Youth and families in crisis can access up to 90 days of prevention and outreach services. Staff travel to the youth's home in any of the nine counties we serve -- Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St Joseph, or Van Buren. Staff provide personalized and intensive services and help connect the family to long-term resources. The youth (and family) develop specific goals and work with case managers to achieve those goals, builgin stability and self-sufficiency in the process.

Youth Independent Living: Transitional Living Program

Youth ages 16-21 who are homeless or precariously housed can access transitional housing and supportive services through this program. Serving youth in Kalamazoo County, staff provide intensive case management and focus on building life skills and educational and employment resources while youth live in one of the five units (eight beds) in the program. The goal is to help the youth become independent and self-sufficient as they transition into adulthood.

A study funded by the federal government is being done to determine how Catholic Charities Diocese of Kalamazoo helps youth attain housing, education, and employment, and live independently. There will be more applicants than spaces available in this program. Youth who are eligible for the program and agree to participate in the study will be selected into the program based on a lottery, so some youth will get into the program and some will not.

Community Outreach

Staff members are available to come to your school or organization to provide information about all the services offered by The Ark. We can personalize these sessions to any audience and encourage you to call us to learn more.

How We Help Youth

Case Management & Counseling

Case managers support youth on an individual basis, helping them to establish person-centered plans, developed around their personal situation and needs. Professional mental-health counseling is provided through our Bridges program.

Life Skills and Educational and Employment Assistance

Support services are offered to help youth develop essential independent living skills, such as money management, household maintenance, interviewing and resume skills and locating safe and affordable housing. These skills are learned through weekly groups and through one on one relationships.

Drop In Centers

Every Monday from 3 PM to 5 PM Drop In Centers are held at The Van Domelen Center (1441 S. Westnedge Ave in Kalamazoo). Every Thursday from 3 PM to 5 PM they are held at The Ark Shelter (990 West Kilgore). Homeless youth between the ages of 16 -21 may stop by for free food, personal care items, shower and laundry facilities, access to computers, one-on-one consultation with a case manager and referrals to community resources. Drop-Ins are also offered in Calhoun County and Allegan County -- contact us at 269-381-9800 to learn when they will occur as times and locations vary each month.

Emergency Supplies

Youth receive personal hygiene supplies such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap and lotion. Some clothing and nonperishable food items are also available on a limited basis. Referrals are provided as needed to ensure all youth receive necessary supplies.

Housing Opportunities

Housing Opportunities

Transitional Housing Opportunities -- Scattered Site

We have a variety of Transitional Housing Opportunities for homeless youth ages 16-21. Please contact us at 269-381-9800 or attend a drop-in (see schedule above) to learn more about these options.
The Ark Cottages -- Permanent Supportive Housing

The Ark Cottages include nine units for older homeless youth, ages 18-24 when entering the program. Youth create a housing plan and receive services to help them be successful in their new home. Contact us at 269-381-9800 for more information.
The Ark Shelter

The Ark is a only short-term, voluntary shelter serving nine counties in southwest Michigan. Youth ages 10-17 who have run away, are in danger of becoming homeless or who are in a crisis situation are eligible. Counseling and support services are offered to youth and their families. Contact us at 269-343-8765 for more information.
Caring Network Apartments

Transitional living apartments for pregnant and/or parenting women who are participating in the Caring Network program. Contact us at 269-381-1234.

Home Heating Assistance Available Through Catholic Charities

What is the Diocesan Heating Assistance Program?

The Diocesan Heating Assistance Program will be available for assistance starting on Monday, January 4, 2016.

The Diocesean Heating Assistance Program (DHAP) provides emergency heating assistance to needy persons residing within the nine counties of the Diocese of Kalamazoo (Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St Joseph, and Van Buren counties). The program begins January 4th, 2016 and ends March 28th (or earlier if no funds remain). Services are performed by Heating Assistance Volunteers at Catholic Charities. The program helps needy persons defray heating expenses and obtain heating resources (fuel oil, natural gas, electricity, firewood, etc).

The DHAP is funded through a special collection taken one weekend in November -- with funds contributed from more than 50 parishes and missions across the Diocese of Kalamazoo. Parishes/missions may keep 20% of the funds collected for local use, serving the poor and vulnerable. The remaining 80% is contributed to the DHAP Fund and given out to families in need.

To apply for assistance through this program, call your local parish/mission Heating Assistance Volunteer (HAV) between January 4, 2016 and the end of March 2016 (exact date will be posted here as funds are used). To obtain the name of your local HAV, contact Catholic Charities via e-mail at info@ccdok.org and include your address in the e-mail or call 269-381-9800 during business hours. A maximum of $250 is set for each eligible family

What is the Michigan Energy Assistance Program?

The Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) is funded through a grant and managed by the St Vincent de Paul Society in Detroit, Michigan.

An applicant can access both MEAP and DHAP assistance through the Housing Assistance Volunteer (HAV) at their local parish. To obtain the name of your local HAV, contact Catholic Charities via e-mail at info@ccdok.org and include your address in the e-mail or call 269-381-9800 during business hours.

The HAV will screen the applicant to determine if they are eligible and, if so, will schedule an appointment to complete the application. During this meeting, the applicant should bring the State of Michigan photo identification, proof of all household income, the current utility bill, a DHS decision letter (if applicable), and a shut-off notice (if applicable). The completed application will be sent to St Vincent de Paul and processed within 10 days.

Information for Parishes, Missions, and Heating Assistance Volunteers

Thank you for your partnership in the DHAP and MEAP programs. Neither of these programs could successfully serve our Diocese without your support. Please contact CCDOK via e-mail at info@ccdok.org or via phone at 269-381-9800 if you have any questions or need any assistance.

Both the DHAP and the MEAP programs will begin operating at CCDOK on January 4th. A packet will be mailed to all volunteers, parishes, and missions on December 1st with originals of all documents, related procedures, and contact information to support you in your work. If you do not receive this packet, please contact CCDOK and another will be sent to you. If you would prefer to receive any of the forms electronically (via e-mail) contact Kerry Williams using the e-mail or phone above. In your e-mail, please specify which forms you would like.

Bridges Mental Health Counseling

Are you (or someone you know) dealing with any of the following issues?

Depression, anxiety or panic attacks, addiction, gay, lesbian or gender identity issues, relationship conflicts, anger, fear, sexual abuse, grief or loss, child behavior problems or any other family or relationship issues

Baraga Manor Apartments

Welcome Home to Baraga Manor Apartments

Baraga Manor Apartments, located just north of Kalamazoo in Otsego, MI, offers 48 one bedroom apartments for seniors 62+ and mobility impaired adults. We are located on a beautiful and natural setting but close to shopping and restaurants. If you'd like to know more -- or take a tour -- give us a call at 269-694-9711. Our printable brochure is also available by clicking here. We are always accepting applications and welcome you to visit our community!