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I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.

Pope Francis, Address to Congress, 9/24/15

Why Volunteers Choose to Support Catholic Charities Arlington

Michelle and Tom Danna volunteer their time with St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Housing.


Volunteering time to help the disadvantaged and to remind them of their inherent God given dignity is so rewarding for the families we serve, and so rewarding for our volunteers as well.  So we like to ask our volunteers and donors why they choose to support Catholic Charities: The Dannans bring games and one-on-one attention to kids at St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residence.

How did you get involved in Catholic Charities?

Tom: I have to credit Michelle. When we were newlyweds, she kept saying “we’re so blessed, we need to give back!” We saw an ad in our church bulletin for Catholic Charities, and well, that was two years ago, so I guess the rest is history.

What activities do you do with the kids at St. Margaret’s?

Michelle: We own My Gym, a play gym for kids. On Wednesdays, we come to St. Margaret’s with hula hoops, mini trampolines, play mats, parachutes and fun games to help the kids expand their motor skills, get exercise and build self-confidence.

Each Wednesday night, while the kids are playing and learning with Michelle and Tom, their parents are taking Life Skills classes across the hall. The classes address many topics, from parenting skills to financial management to group counseling.

Each Wednesday night, while the kids are playing and learning with Michelle and Tom, their parents are taking Life Skills classes across the hall. The classes address many topics, from parenting skills to financial management to group counseling.

How do you find the time?

Michelle: We schedule this into our week and really look forward to it! I would much rather spend an hour doing volunteer work with Tom, than say, watching TV.

Tom: It’s easy to think we don’t have enough time. We work long hours like a lot of people in this area, but I wouldn’t let that be a deterrent. It’s just an hour of our week, but the impact on the families is so tremendous.

What is the most rewarding part?

Michelle: I love to see the kids become more confident in what they can do. You can see the improvements they have made, maybe they have gone from a standing roll to a dive roll. You can see in their smile how pleased they are with themselves.

Tom: It’s great to give them one-on-one attention and try to be a good role model for them. While we are there, the kids really buddy up with us and look for our validation. We are grateful for the opportunity to be such an enormous impact on their lives.

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Get Involved!

We need you to join Catholic Charities in making a difference in the lives of the poor! To volunteer with Catholic Charities, please contact Sally O’Dwyer at 703-841-3838 or SOdwyer@ccda.net.

To make a financial donation, please visit www.ccda.net or contact James Michels, Vice President for Development, at 703-841-3841 or JMichels@ccda.net.