Volunteers Awarded Nation’s Highest Honor

May 28th, 2015

Dorothy Milliot, left, a volunteer with Catholic Charities Community Services of Dutchess County, and recipient of a President’s Volunteer Service Award for more than 100 hours of volunteer service in a 12-month span, is presented with a certificate of appreciation from Catholic Charities’ Executive Director Mary Marshall, right at the agency’s volunteer recognition program. (Photo: Courtesy photo )

Six Catholic Charities Community Services of Dutchess County volunteers just received President’s Volunteer Service Awards, the nation’s premier volunteer award, reports the Poughkeepsie Journal. Mary Marshall, the agency’s director, presented the awards to Rae Byrne, Joan Doherty, Dorothy Milliot, John Milliot, Pegeen Wall and Paula Williams for more than 100 hours of volunteer service completed in the past year.

“We are very proud of our volunteers – it is a significant accomplishment to log 100 or more service hours a year,” said Marshall. “As a not-for-profit human service agency committed to providing assistance to individuals and families in need, the support from our volunteers is invaluable to the success of our programs. We are extremely grateful that these volunteers share their time and talent with us and congratulate each of them on this well-deserved recognition,” added Marshall.

Catholic Charities is a resource for needy families and individuals, offering a variety of free and professionally- administered direct services to Dutchess County residents, both Catholic and non-Catholic.

Last year, CCCSDC assisted more than 1,100 individuals. Offices are located at 218 Church Street, Poughkeepsie; more information is available by calling 845-452-1400.

Read the full story in the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Find Summer Fun & Meaning Here

May 27th, 2015

guild 6By Alice Kenny

Looking for a valuable and great way to explore the city this summer? Volunteer with us.

We’re looking for young adults to serve as mentors for the visually impaired teens we serve.

Our instructors will show you how to help these teens live more independently, get ready for work and explore their neighborhoods.

Have questions?  Here are answers:

Q: How long is the commitment?

A: Just 3 weeks.

Q: Can you be more specific?

A: Sure can.  8/10/15 – 8/28/15, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Q: What’s involved?

A: Each week,  you and the visually impaired teen will spend:

  • Two days at a job we matched the teen with.
  • Two days enjoying activities in the community.
  • One day at our main Catholic Guild for the Blind Office at 1011 First Ave. NY working on computer skills and training for work.

Q: Sounds like some travel.  Who pays for that?

A: We do. Hurray!

 More questions? Click here for more answers.

Struggling Students; Struggling Schools

May 26th, 2015

IMG_8532-smBy Alice Kenny

How do we reach children and families at risk effectively and fast?  Community schools that incorporate social service and support are the solution offered by Mayor Bill de Blasio.  And it’s a solution Catholic Charities is bringing to life in the poverty and crime-ridden neighborhood of Washington Heights.

The principle behind it is simple.  Bring services to where the children and their families already are – at school.  The new community schools program pairs year-round social services with education in high-need neighborhoods.  Services range mental health support to homework help and family counseling.

The city will use $52 million to launch 40 Community Schools.  This includes the High School for Media & Communications in Washington Heights that chose Catholic Charities Community Services Alianza Division as its community partner.

The program will work in  collaboration with the principal, the school leadership team and parents.  To ensure that new programs answer real needs more than 80 students, parents, community leaders, school administrators, counselors and teachers teamed up to share their vision for the newly established Community School program at the High School for Media & Communications on Saturday, May 16, 2015.

Funds will be used to increase attendance, credit accumulation, graduation rates and family engagement.

Interested in Community Schools? Read more in Capital New York.

Scammers Beware

May 22nd, 2015


By Alice Kenny

Scammers beware.  We’re on to you.  And we’re fighting back.

Catholic Charities just topped off Fraud Awareness Prevention Week.  We gained momentum by collaborating with the Manhattan DA, media and fellow social service agencies. And we took aim straight at the perpetrators of immigration fraud, identity theft and housing and labor scams who make their living defrauding  New York City’s Latino community.

Scammers often find immigrants, particularly those who lack strong English skills or legal documentation as easy targets.  During Fraud Awareness Prevention Week, we ran a well-advertised campaign to keep immigrants from falling into these outlaws’ traps.

Drawing on our expertise running the New York State Immigration Hotline, Catholic Charities Hotline counselors and attorneys manned an anti-fraud telethon phone bank on Wednesday, May 13 and Thursday, May 14, 2015.  Phones rang nonstop.  In all, 530 calls for help were answered, knocking off questions about immigration, identity theft, employment discrimination and housing fraud.  Staff also helped with a town hall event on the following Friday.

“We thank Catholic Charities and their staff for making the phone bank a total success,” said Hildalyn Colon-Hernandez from the Manhattan DA’s office.

In addition to the Manhattan DA’s office, Univision, El Diario, the Office of New Americans and WADO Radio helped promote the event.

And we’re keeping the pressure going. Immigrants with questions are urged to call the Catholic Charities-manned Office of New Americans Hotline at 1 (800) 566-7636.  We can provide assistance in 200 languages.

Calls are still coming in. Want to know more?

Check out this Univision video recap in Spanish.

Read all about it in El Diario.

Top 4 Summer Deals for CYO Friends and Family

May 21st, 2015

libertyBy Alice Kenny

Looking for great deals on summer fun for your family?

Here are our Top 4 Summer Deals for CYO friends and families!

  1. Almost $20 off Hershey Park tickets
  2. Discounts on over 200,000 hotels
  3. Enroll in Iona College basketball camps
  4. Take in a NY Liberty game

Purchase discounted Hershey Park tickets.  Use code 78164.

  • No black out dates!
  • Sign up now –Tickets purchased after July 5 cost $5 more.

Click here for $1,000 in hotel savings.  Use group code CYO.

  • This also helps CYO.  Each completed reservation earns CYO 2 % of the sale.  Proceeds go towards building the highest quality athletic programs for our kids.

Learn more about Iona Basketball Camp.

  • Contact Associate Head Coach Jared Grasso with questions:  (914) 633-2568 or

Purchase NY Liberty basketball tickets.  Use code libertyCYO


Catholic Charities Takes Charge When the Melting Pot Boils Over

May 20th, 2015

Victor Cueva, 25, an Immigrant Justice Corps fellow. He is eager to give new immigrants in the Hudson Valley the help his family did not receive when it arrived there from Peru. Credit Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

By Liz Robbins

The New York Times

(Excerpt below)

New York City’s melting pot has been boiling over in the larger metropolitan area…

The city is where most of the funding for legal assistance has been concentrated before this year…But only a smaller amount of state and private funding for services and lawyers has gone to nonprofit organizations outside the city.

“The lower Hudson Valley, like Long Island, is critical to New York life, and there’s this swath of human beings who support those structures, and yet there is really nothing to support them,” said Mario Russell, the director of immigrant and refugee services for Catholic Charities Community Services.

The organization, under the auspices of the New York Archdiocese, oversees part of New York City, and Westchester, Orange, Rockland, Putnam, Sullivan, Ulster and Dutchess Counties. For decades, those counties have had only paralegals processing requests, such as green card applications, deferred action for childhood arrivals and adjudication of unaccompanied minors’ deportation claims…

Victor Cueva, a 25-year-old Justice Corps fellow and soon-to-be graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, is eager to give new immigrants in the Hudson Valley the help his family did not receive when it arrived there…

He and another Justice Corps fellow, John Travis, will work in Catholic Charities’ Poughkeepsie and Newburgh offices part of the week, and the other days in Manhattan at 26 Federal Plaza, New York’s immigration court, serving clients from the lower Hudson Valley region.

Read the full story in The New York Times.

More than Just BBall

May 19th, 2015

image1By Alice Kenny

Children from “small fries” (short for first and second graders) to “elites” (high school juniors and seniors) just learned last week whether they won CYO’s annual Art and Essay Contest.

Prize winners haled from throughout the New York archdiocese, from Staten Island, through the Bronx, over to Rockland County and all the way up to Dutchess.  Their art depended on their inspiration, from scribbled smiling suns to detailed landscapes and profiles.

And their essays focused on the hot topic of social media – does it bring us together or make us more alone and how can it be used to improve our communities?

Answers were surprisingly insightful.  One contestant, for example, said social networking reconfigures our need for our relationship with God.

Deja George from St. Francis of Assisi School in the Bronx grabbed first place in the essay contest.  Kaitlyn Piotrowski from St. Mary’s School in Dutchess came in second and Kyle Mangan of St. Claire of Assisi School in the Bronx took third. Way to go, CYO!

Catholic Charities Snags City Council GOP Leader Vincent Ignizio for Staten Island Post

May 18th, 2015

Official NYC Council Photo by William Alatriste

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities lands Vincent Ignizio, leader of New York City Council GOP, as our new leader of Catholic Charities of Staten Island.

As City Council Minority Leader, Mr. Ignizio brings with him a record of huge accomplishments. By the time he steps down this summer to serve as Catholic Charities of Staten Island chief executive officer he will have served on the City Council for eight years.

Why, many ask, would Councilman Ignizio make such a big change at this point in his career?  Some point to challenges he faces as one of only three Republicans in the 51-member chamber.

But ask Mr. Ignizio and the answer he offers is far more basic.  He said he “could not pass up the unique opportunity to lead a non-profit organization that does so many wonderful things for our city and aligns so full with my beliefs.”

At Catholic Charities, reports SILive, he will oversee merging the programs and services of the Catholic Charities Community Services of Staten Island into the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin to create the new organization.  It is part of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of  New York.

Read more in Crain’s New York.

Cardinal Dolan Hosts All-Star Event

May 15th, 2015

cardinaldolanccagenciesTimothy Cardinal Dolan hosted an all-star evening on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at Fordham University at Lincoln Center. The event pulled together more than 300 representatives from the Catholic Charities Federation of 90 independent human services agencies.

“We have some of New York’s most generous and caring people here,” said Telemundo TV’s Nathalia Ortiz who served as the night’s Mistress of Ceremony.

The evening highlighted the Catholic roots and joint mission of agencies spread from Staten Island, throughout the Bronx to the Hudson Valley and the Catskills. Together they provide more than $725 million in services and touch the lives of about 350,000 people each year.

But the event was more than a Catholic celebration of services. Jennifer Jones Austin, executive director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), served as keynote speaker. The evening included Trustee, Faithful Servant, Meritorious Service and Volunteer awards for nearly 50 people throughout the New York archdiocese. And it focused on how these individuals and agencies multiply the services they provide by working together as a federation.