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New Pope Francis Center to serve in hope of a better tomorrow
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Chicago continues its fight on poverty with the opening of a new social service agency called the Pope Francis Center. The Center, named after Pope Francis for his relentless crusade for the poor and vulnerable, helps provide lasting systemic change in the lives of people who come there for help.
The Pope Francis Center, located at 2815 North Kimball Avenue in Chicago, serves the SVdP District IV and District VII service areas – individuals and families who live north of Fullerton Avenue in Chicago. Those who live outside these areas are referred to programs closer to their home.
"We are looking to service people whose needs are chronic in nature with an aim to assist those in a position to transition out of poverty using our Systemic Change Hope-in-Action program," Voice of the Poor Chair Pamela Matambanadzo said. "It is our hope that through the Pope Francis Center, the SVdP Chicago Council will be better equipped to provide lasting change in the lives of the people we serve."
The Center works in conjunction with the SVdP Conferences to provide services to those clients in which the conferences are not equipped to provide such as financial literacy, job search and resume help, computer and internet assistance, landlord issues, help with applying for public benefits, and much more.
"We are here to help families learn about ways to improve their lives," Case Manager Angelica Irigoyen said. Irigoyen has ten years of experience helping low-income, minority and teen clients. "I want to empower people and teach them their rights and knowledge of resources that sometimes they don't know exist."
Irigoyen works full-time at the Center alongside Hospitality Manager Yollima Brito, who provides clients and visitors a comfortable and welcoming experience. "I plan on doing this by listening first to understand. I believe that my calling in life is to help others in need. I want to help people do better for themselves, their families, and their communities," Brito said.
The Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Funding for the Pope Francis Center is provided by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago; therefore, financial donations are always needed and greatly appreciated.