Decades of Dedication
Decades of dedication from staff have helped the St. Vincent Catholic Charities Children’s Home prosper. Desmond Tutu once stated “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” At the St. Vincent Catholic Charities Children’s Home, we strive to create a sense of family amongst our children and staff in order to provide a safe, welcoming home that brings stability that many of our children have lacked.
One individual has been an integral part of our work family for nearly 35 years – Dr. Andrew J. Homa, MD, one of our two clinical psychiatrists. Along with his partner Dr. Louis Anstett, MD, these psychiatrists specialize in providing medical and psychiatric services to the children at the STVCC Children’s Home and in our Child Welfare programs. To new residents at the Children’s Home, Dr. Homa is one of the first faces our children see when they arrive.
“Kids aren’t admitted by virtue of diagnosis; kids are admitted who need psychiatric and counseling care,” said Dr. Homa. “These children have needs that are unable to be cared for simply by outpatient care. To put in perspective how great their needs are, usually kids have been in three to ten foster care placements over a two-year period before arriving at the Children’s Home.”
When the children arrive, they see a kind, soft-spoken, welcoming man who originally became a doctor with the simple intent to help children. Two days a week for 35 years, Dr. Homa has provided the initial medical and psychiatric evaluation for over 2,000 children. For kids who have experienced trauma and abuse, Dr. Homa provides the foundational help that creates hope in their lives.
Dedication to Service
Being a psychiatrist is more than just prescribing medication. It’s talking to each child and listening to their stories. It means asking about their emotions, their happiness, anger, anxiety and sadness. It’s learning more about their family. Their hopes, dreams, and the important people they value. All to help remove any pain the child is feeling.
“The most rewarding part of my job is any sense that the stress and suffering from a kid is alleviated,” said Dr. Homa. And sometimes years later Dr. Homa is reminded of those he’s helped.
“A very pleasant thing that happens occasionally is when we have a graduate come back. Last year a graduate came back here in uniform with his wife and daughter. He was in the infantry and had served our country with several tours in Iraq. It was amazing to see the success he’s made in his life.”
Much of what sticks out to Dr. Homa about his career are the staff who have been like family to him.
“At Catholic facilities, it’s more than a job for those people who stay for a long time. There is a sense of community among the co-workers. Shared mission ideals, a concern for the kids and each other. So for me, it’s the staff and family-type atmosphere. For a number of us, it’s unlike any other work place.”
Speaking for all members of the St. Vincent Catholic Charities family, we agree. Thank you Dr. Homa for your continued service to our agency.