Catholic Charities has tripled the counseling services it offers in Austin.
That boils down to Paul Bartemes working three days a week from his office in St. Augustine’s Church at 405 Fourth St. N.W., up from one day in the past.
He began the three day a work schedule on June 20.
Bartemes is a clinical social worker with Catholic Charities, based out of the Winona Diocese. He provides personal theaputic counseling, help for grandparents serving caregivers for children, pregnancy planning, adoption information, immigrant aid and addiction care.
“It is not well known that it (Catholic Charities) does provide in this area and that we serve people of all faiths,” he said.
While there are still many slots open for people seeking counseling, Bartemes says the expansion of his offerings in Austin and the region grew out of an awareness of a geographic gap in the Diocese’s coverage of the area.
“The idea is that Catholic Charities has larges offices in Winona, Rochester and Owatonna,” she says. “But services were thin in the central part of S.E. Minnesota.”
As part of the beefing up of offerings in Austin and the area, St. Augstine’s has remodeled two rooms for the use of Catholic Charities and Bartemes.
“That was somthing the church took on,” he said.
While the addional time and facilities are great, Bartemes says there is still a key component that needs to be worked on.
“We have a number of openings right now. We just want people to know about the services,” he said.