Julie Trebtoske grew up with Catholic Charities. Her dad, Peter Trebtoske, first worked for the counseling program, then ran Dorothy Day Center and even worked on the fundraising team before retiring in 1996.
“Catholic Charities was always Dad’s job,” she said, talking of his decades of service.
Simply put, Catholic Charities was part of the family.
Julie’s mom, Susannah, would throw holiday parties for many Catholic Charities employees and Julie remembers people coming to the house. Even after his retirement, Peter has retained that Catholic Charities’ connection, attending events and hosting old coworker friends at his home for dinner each week.
When Julie, a special education teacher at a Saint Paul Charter School was looking for a way to make a difference over the summer, it just made sense to come to the family business.
“I saw Catholic Charities needed help and I didn’t look any further,” Julie said on an early August day while working in the computer lab at Catholic Charities’ Opportunity Center in Minneapolis.
That day, she was helping a man apply for a job with the city, helped another with questions on the computer. She helps people create resumes and set up email accounts when needed.
“I’m not real computer literate, but we figure it out together and we get it done,” she laughed.
Seeing her work, it’s obvious she’s being modest. Everyone who enters the computer lab greets her by name and depends on her for help. When they don’t need help navigating a site, she’s there to smile and call them by name or listen to them talk.
With the onset of autumn, many head back to the classroom and answer the question: “what did you do with your summer?” Julie said she is looking forward to talking with her students about how she spent her summer break. She knows they will be curious about homelessness, talking about how inquisitive her kids are.
“My students are so inquisitive about things. I feel like you get those ‘no filter’ sorts of questions,” she said.
Julie said she looks forward to telling stories of the wonderful people she has met.
“I’ve met so many nice people working up here. The clients are definitely a pleasure to work with,” she said. “The staff have been super welcoming too. I feel like they’re really happy I’m here. When you know how important it is to be somewhere and be helping out, it just lets you know you’re needed.”
Julie and her dad talk on the phone every morning. He always tells her to tell Catholic Charities hello.
“He says oh I’m so proud of you for doing such good things, Julie,” she said with a smile.