News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

January 14, 2014

Organization does what it can as well as it can

United Way agency profile: Catholic Charities

TERRE HAUTE — Before David Linton began taking his grandson Corbin to the preschool program at Ryves Youth Center, Linton had never been involved with Catholic Charities in Terre Haute.

But when he and his wife found themselves raising their grandson from birth, Linton said, they looked for help to give Corbin the support he needs to be successful in school and in growing up.

“These people are very good to him,” Linton said of the United Way agency, “and he’s learned a lot since he’s been coming here. I bring him all the way in here from New Goshen, where we live, because these people are really good to him.”

While waiting to pick up the little boy, who will turn 5 in May, Linton spoke about the assistance that his grandson receives at the Ryves Youth Center. The Ryves staff teaches him responsibility, and he looks forward to the Christmas program, Linton said. But the growing boy particularly likes the bag of take-home snacks he receives at the end of each week and the books that he likes to read with his grandfather.

“We have two or three shelves of books that he has brought home from here,” Linton said, “and he’ll crawl up into my lap to read with me.”

Like many between ages 3 and 17 who find a “second home” at the Ryves Youth Center, Corbin can be described as “at-risk” because of economic factors. His grandparents rely on Social Security for their income.

“Without this place, it would really put a pinch on my wife’s and my budget,” Linton said. “I can’t say enough good things about this place.”

Ryves Youth Center at Etling Hall – located at 14th and Locust streets –  is one of the many charitable facilities and programs offered by Catholic Charities in Terre Haute. Other services include Bethany House, Catholic Charities Foodbank, Christmas Store and Household Exchange.

As a member agency of the United Way of the Wabash Valley, Catholic Charities has relied on that affiliation since 1977.

“We’ve enjoyed a tremendous run of successes, not just with our programs, but with our ability to affect a lot of collaborative efforts,” said Catholic Charities director John Etling. “Our goal is to try to do what we do as well as we can. The calling for our Catholic faith is to be the best version of us as we can be as children of God and to continue to look for the face of Christ among those we serve.”

Etling said that without the funding support of United Way, the local charity would not have near the success that it has had.

“We wouldn’t be anywhere close to where we are, that’s for sure,” Etling said. “I sign up each year for the United Way’s annual campaign for no reason other than I believe in what they do.”

The Terre Haute community definitely benefits from the United Way, he said, as does the Wabash Valley at large. And not only financially. The board members and volunteers with the United Way are people who find solutions to problems, rather than people who just throw money at a problem.

Some Catholic Charities programs are intended to direct people on how to lift themselves out of poverty and into financial responsibility and sustainability.

“There’s a ‘disposable’ component to our culture these days,” Etling said. “Older generations saw a great value in buying a house and a car and having them last a lifetime. We need to teach people that again. The quest for ‘want’ is unquenchable and it self-perpetuates. And, that doesn’t make anybody any happier.”

On the other hand, cast-offs such as used furniture, appliances, desks and other household items are a mainstay of the Household Exchange, which provides needed items to people who are homeless, low-income, fire victims and others in dire need. The donated items are cleaned and repaired if needed.

The Christmas Store provides new gifts to about 1,000 families each year through the contributions of individuals and businesses.

Bethany House provides safe shelter, meals and clothing to homeless families. It also operates a soup kitchen.

The Food Bank distributes the equivalent of about two million meals each year to about 75 other charitable agencies in seven west-central Indiana counties.

The agencies are soup kitchens, food pantries, senior citizen centers and housing facilities, day care centers, church camps, youth residential facilities and other non-profit agencies that help feed people in need.

Back at the Ryves Youth Center, director Jim Edwards said anywhere from 80 to 150 children will walk each day through the doors of Etling Hall, with services reaching 1,500 youths.

The preschool serves homeless children who would otherwise get no educational help toward starting school, let along meals each day. The after-school activities provide children a safe place to go after school, along with an afternoon meal. There is a computer lab, college tutors who coach children in math and reading, and sports leagues organized for basketball. The center also hosts meetings for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts troops.

“We have a lot of kids who go on to be successes,” Edwards said. “One girl is now an assistant professor at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Another boy went into the military and now he flies for Air Force One.”

Some youths come from families who don’t believe in education or have a work ethic. Children in those families can feel lost without direction. But just giving them structure and an example can turn a lost child into a productive adult, he said.

“Recently, I saw a young man who grew up here, and he told me he had held the same job for 15 years, and he has three sons with two of them in college,” Edwards said. “He’s a good loving father who grew up in a family that is not like what he is now teaching his children. Those are the success stories.”

Trying to change a culture of educational drop-outs is not easy. Many people in a cycle of generational poverty are afraid to change their own culture. That is why, Edwards said, it is important to have the college mentors come in to work with the youths, so children can see education is fun and provides opportunities for a better life.

During the recent snow storm, Edwards said, a young mother came in to the center with her children to get something to eat. If the center hadn’t been open, that family likely would not have eaten that day because they could not travel and were out of food at home. Luckily, the family knew to come to the youth center, where the staff was ready with meals to share.

“I like us to feel like we’re an extended member of their family,” Edwards said of the people who receive help. “We’re someone they can look to if they have problems.”

For more information about the programs and services offered by Catholic Charities of Terre Haute, or to make a contribution, go online to or call 812-232-1447.

For more information about the United Way of the Wabash Valley, go online to, or call 812-235-6287.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • MET071114  St bens ellis.jpg Annual St. Ben’s community festival kicks off

    The St. Ben's Community Festival kicked off Friday night and continues from 5 p.m. until midnight today.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 071114 DELISH GREENE.jpg Adding to the mix

    The mix of local food choices will get a fresh stir in the near future, as a café opens a second location, a pizza place moves downtown and a national chain sprouts in two more spots.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET071114 guard bennett.jpg Shift from jets to intelligence

    Loud, impressive fighter jets once zoomed regularly across the sky in Terre Haute, their roars drowning out the sounds of televisions and telephones all around the area.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos 2 Stories

  • MET 071114 MANN P.C..jpg Candidates’ views clash over more education testing, vouchers

    Indiana needs to change direction to improve education, said Democrat Jim Mann, who will face incumbent Rep. Robert Heaton, R-Terre Haute, in a rematch race for Indiana House District 46.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET071114bad check.jpg Fraudulent checks with an extra ‘t’

    A Terre Haute woman who received a large check in the mail this week wants to warn others that though the check looks legitimate, it is a scam.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Truck, van collide, stopping some U.S. 41 lanes for an hour

    Northbound traffic on U.S. 41 south of Terre Haute was blocked for about one hour Friday because of a two vehicle crash.

    July 11, 2014

  • Indianapolis closing nightlife street on weekends

    Indianapolis officials will close the main street through a nightlife district to motor vehicles on Friday and Saturday nights to reduce violence there.

    July 11, 2014

  • Man revives 3-year-old who was face down in pool

    Authorities in central Indiana say a man revived his 3-year-old son after spotting the boy face down in an apartment complex pool.

    July 11, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 11, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.

    July 11, 2014

  • New exhibits set to open at Red Skelton museum

    VINCENNES (AP) — Events are being planned for the opening of new exhibits at the museum celebrating the career of the late comedian Red Skelton in his southwestern Indiana hometown.

    July 11, 2014

  • Solar Roadways_Morg.jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • council mtg 013.JPG Mayor: City will not file bankruptcy

    The Terre Haute City Council took well more than  an hour to ask questions and discuss the health of the city’s finances with top city officials in a special meeting Thursday night. A few councilmen expressed grave concern about the financial picture, while Mayor Duke Bennett said things were improving.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • State official threatens prosecution of city leaders who talk about audit

    A state official has threatened to pursue the prosecution of city officials if they violate a confidentiality agreement signed last month.

    July 10, 2014

  • MET 071014 181 02EXPO.jpg ISU, 181st Intelligence Wing show off capabilities at expo

    Communication and getting unmanned eyes in the sky can be vital parts of responding to a natural or man-made disaster.

    July 10, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • Feds relent: Military to restore equipment program for fire departments

    An agreement has been reached to keep surplus military equipment rolling into rural fire department bays in Indiana and 47 other states.

    July 10, 2014

  • united way.jpg UW kicks off pilot campaign

    Dottie King remembers the day she saw a young man leaving St. Ann’s Dental Clinic after having 17 teeth pulled. He had not received sufficient dental care before that day so his need was dramatic. That was unlike King, who had visited the dentist regularly since childhood, but still found getting a tooth filled not on her list of fun things to do. “I thought to myself, ‘I never have thought about the blessing of dental care,’” King recalled, sharing that story on Thursday morning with other volunteers for the United Way of the Wabash Valley.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 071014 181 HILL.jpg Indiana’s director of homeland security sees unmanned systems’ potential

    Integrating unmanned flight systems into use for domestic surveillance can provide first responders with key information in responding to fires, earthquakes and man-made disasters, said John Hill, director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Stunt performer scheduled to be at Wigwam

    A celebrity stunt man named Jim “Crash” Moreau is scheduled to perform at Terre Haute’s Wigwam Skate and Event Center on Saturday.

    July 10, 2014

  • Rain barrels offered for sale

    The Vigo County Soil and Water Conservation District is taking orders for 55-gallon rain barrels.

    July 10, 2014

  • Ash.jpg Tips lead to meth lab bust

    Two people were arrested after police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab Thursday in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • 071014 meth lab items.jpg Police bust meth lab in Terre Haute

    Police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab today in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • UPDATE: Ethics panel approves $5K fine against Bennett

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s State Ethics Commission has approved a $5,000 fine against former state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett for using state resources in his 2012 campaign.

    July 10, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 10, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on jail records.

    July 10, 2014

  • Group: 5,000 same-sex marriages in Illinois

    A survey indicates thousands of same-sex couples are marrying in Illinois.

    July 10, 2014

  • Study: Hunting restores forests in state parks

    A study by a Purdue University research team has found that regulated deer hunts in Indiana state parks have helped restore forests damaged by too many white-tailed deer.

    July 10, 2014

  • MET070914 house exterior.jpg Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie

    Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story

  • Detour ahead

    A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 barrels.jpg MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers

    We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • City Council to take up city finances tonight

    The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.

    July 9, 2014

  • Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement

    Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.

    July 9, 2014

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Chimp-attack Victim Lobbies Congress Soft Robot Fish Lead New Wave of Robotics Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration FIFA Rejects Suarez Appeal Against Biting Ban WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Art of Haitian Machete Fighting Revived Thousands Attend NYC Firefighter's Funeral
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010