Who We Are

Journey of Hope Statement


For the past 120 years, Holy Family Institute (HFI) has been at the forefront of supporting and advocating for children, youth, and families. HFI’s mission is based on our sponsors, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

The Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth was founded in 1875 in Rome and soon after, was asked by the Bishops of the Church in the United States to come to this country. From Holy Family Institute’s founding in 1900 until today, we have been known for providing a refuge for children in need of a safe, nurturing environment. At the turn of the 20th century, the children and youth HFI served were primarily from Polish families who immigrated to America seeking a better future.

Over the course of time, HFI has adjusted to changing social conditions and an evolving knowledge of what works best for such children and families. From an orphanage to a child welfare agency, and then from a residential treatment center to a leading provider of prevention and education services, Holy Family has proven over and over again its ability to adapt to meet new needs in our community.

When called upon to help 12 children from Haiti ten years ago who were removed from their homeland in the face of a disaster, we responded with open arms. These children were not freed for adoption and came to Pittsburgh without proper authority. Nonetheless, HFI stepped up to care for them until the government could sort out their legal status.

We believe the children fleeing Central America are involved in a disaster not of their own making and are in need of care. Our faith has inspired us to respond to this need and welcome these children, who are among the most vulnerable in the world as they travel to the U.S.

Many of these children are fleeing violent situations and have endured a long and dangerous journey. We provide the children with food, clothing, housing, education, counseling, and recreation. Most of the children will stay with us about 30 – 40 days while awaiting reunification with their parents or relatives.

After learning of our work with these children, many people have contacted us for information on how they can help. Though not comprehensive, we offer the following avenues to address our most immediate needs:

  • We are in the process of hiring staff members to help us care for the children. If you are interested in applying, please visit our careers page.
  • Volunteers are also welcome but must go through an extensive training process. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering, please email our Director of Volunteer Services, guerra.lynn@hfi-pgh.org
  • If you would prefer to make a monetary donation, Holy Family Institute always welcomes financial support for all our programs, and contributions may be made through our website here.

Thank you for your thoughtful interest in Holy Family Institute and your support of the children and families we serve.

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