Catholic Charities Community Services will host its annual Breakfast With Friends at the Hyatt Regency in Rochester this Friday, March 2 beginning at 8:00 a.m.

The annual event spotlights the important work CCCS does in our community to assist those with developmental disabilities and other challenges achieve their goals of independence, individuality and inclusion.

CCCS Executive Director Lori VanAuken discussed the event Tuesday during News 8 at Sunrise. “We work with folks with all kinds of challenging conditions, chronic conditions like HIV, folks with developmental disabilities, and when you think about the disability, you don’t realize that often people with disabilities also have other challenges, for example maybe like alcoholism, anxiety, mental health issues. And so this year we’re very pleased to be bringing in Elizabeth Vargas who will be our keynote speaker and she’s going to talk about her recovery and her challenges with anxiety and how she’s managed that throughout her career.”

Breakfast With Friends is sold out, but VanAuken said a wait list has been established to address the overflow demand. There will also be a companion session right after the conclusion of the breakfast. “It’s called Emerging Epidemics,” VanAuken said. “We are working with Trillium Health, our partner. We have a wonderful panel of doctors who are going to be presenting issues around the opioid epidemic. And in communities like ours, where we do have a high prevalence of opioids, there are also other epidemics that come with it, whether it be HIV or hepatitis C, and so we’re really looking to put together a conversation about what we can do with the community to combat that.”

Catholic Charities Community Services has served the Rochester community for nearly 40 years. “We work to support people’s independence, their inclusion in their communities, their individuality, and so it might look like for one person who is living with a developmental disability maybe residential housing for them,” VanAuken explained. “It might be support in the community. How do they navigate their community, matching them up one on one with an individual who can help them do that. Care management is a very, very popular service for many of our clients who are dealing with complex chronic conditions who need help navigating the medical and human services system. How do we connect them to services that support their independence? So, we do serve about 3,000 folks every year throughout 12 counties, so we have an office in Penn Yan in Yates County and one in Rochester.”

For more information about Catholic Charities Community Services and this year’s Breakfast With Friends, click here.