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“Steadfast, Diligent, Humble, Compassionate, Down-to-Earth”

Posted on October 12, 2016 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

From the Catholic Charities USA Annual Gathering

That’s how staff described Catholic Charities Director of Case Management Debra Presti in this video just-aired today, October 12, when Catholic Charities USA honored Deb with its Excellence in Management Award at its Annual Gathering in Boston.

And that is exactly the Deb we met in this powerful video.

“Every day when I see our clients I learn something about how to live a life of dignity,” she says. “We’re supposed to be bringing dignity to them and showing them that we respect them and actually the converse has happened. I think our clients and really all the staff here at Catholic Charities have personally and professionally enriched my life and taught me how to live better.”

Catholic Charities USA’s Annual Gathering is the pre-eminent gathering for Catholic Charities professionals, volunteers and partners to advance our work, strategize about poverty reduction and celebrate our shared identity.

Not only does Deb impress staff and those we serve but she impresses her supervisors as well with what our Community Services Executive Director Beatriz Diaz-Taveras calls her “forward, out-of-the-box thinking.” 

In the wake of Super Storm Sandy, for example, she realized that senior citizens trapped in high rises without running water or working elevators needed help just like those with flooded ground-floor homes. So she helped mobilize Catholic Charities Disaster Case Management effort to  serve these stranded seniors as well.

She also helped develop ComUnidad Juan Diego, a community outreach program that empowers Latin American immigrants through education and support to live independently in their adopted homeland.

A licensed certified social worker, Deb holds a master’s degree in socialwork from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work and joined us at Catholic Charities in 2008.

“Deb inspires staff by the way she does her job and they see in her a model, an example all staff should follow,” said Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan.  “She always goes the extra mile…trying to figure out how a person with a hurt, with a need can be helped by Catholic Charities.”

View photos of the event on our facebook page