September 12th, 2014
By Alice Kenny
There is nothing like the first day of school.
And for these little preschoolers that attended Kennedy Child Study Center for the first time this past Monday — some developing typically, others with special needs and most from financially struggling families — September 8 was a fantasy come true.
Dressed in their first-day finest of sleeveless shirts and shorts on this warm, sunny morning, they giggled as they herded into their primary-colored classrooms.
“Kennedy Child Study Center (KCSC), a Catholic Charities affiliated organization with locations in Manhattan and the Bronx, was thrilled to welcome over 300 students today for the 2014-2015 school year,” said Jeanne Alter, the agency’s Executive Director.
For over 50 years, New York preschoolers have come to KCSC for evaluation; special education preschool; speech, occupational, and physical therapy; family support services; and much more, including the center’s recently added Universal Pre-K program for typically developing four-year-olds at its Bronx site.
“Students also benefit from our focus on healthy eating, exercise, technology-aided learning, and other initiatives that mark KCSC as a leader in early childhood special education,” Ms. Alter added.
Learn more about the Kennedy Child Study Center and the children at the heart of its work by visiting the website and following on Facebook.
September 11th, 2014
By Alice Kenny
Thirteen years later we remember clearly loved ones lost and heroes who risked their lives trying to save them during the overwhelming tragedy we now refer to simply as “9/11.”
We all feel it. And like most, we at Catholic Charities wish there were no tragedies, no children left alone to grieve, no communal catastrophes we mourn together. But whether a crisis is personal or communal we stand in the forefront of response.
After 9/11, Catholic Charities helped found the 9/11 United Services Group, a consortium of 13 major human services agencies coordinating aid to World Trade Center victims. Msgr. Kevin Sullivan served as its first chairperson.
Thanks to the generosity of so many, Catholic Charities helped nearly 10,000 individuals, providing counseling, scholarships, employment assistance, service coordination and crucial financial aid.
We invite you to share your memories to honor those loved and lost here in the comments section below and on Facebook.
September 10th, 2014
By Alice Kenny
Led by Catholic Charities staff, boys from the low-income Highbridge Gardens neighborhood in the Bronx crossed the East River, hiking over the Madison Avenue bridge that separates them by income, race and expectations from affluent Manhattan.
Their back-to-school adventure included free haircuts — high tops, Mohawks and zigzag parts, whatever they wanted — at the All Star Barbershop in Washington Heights. It also included pizza and ice cream, t-shirts and socks and tips from barbers who remember what it’s like to struggle.
For many of their Manhattan peers, this may seem like only the basics for expensive back-to-school prep that extends to designer clothing, tutors and college-planning consultants. But for these Bronx boys, ages 10-18 who mostly hail from single-parent families in a local housing project, it was essential.
The day’s adventure was one of many children participating in Catholic Charities Highbridge Gardens Cornerstone Alianza Division took part in during its free, seven-day-per week summer program. Catholic Charities Alianza Division provides a variety of services for youth ages 5 to 21 years old, promoting a world view that extends far beyond the streets where they live.
September 8th, 2014
By Alice Kenny
Danica Brown, a recent graduate of George Washington University and current student at Howard University Law School, shares her life-changing experiences from working this past summer at the Catholic Charities Feeding Our Neighbors emergency food program.
Check out excerpts from her first-person account:
Supervising teenagers this summer gave me a reality check on the real issues my peers face every day. It taught me responsibility: I realized that, within the connection we formed, they are looking to me for guidance and what I say could possibly impact their decision making so I need to heed my responsibilities and lead by example.
I cannot reiterate how thankful I am for this summer opportunity. The importance of food pantries in the fabric of middle class America is not the typical image that comes to mind when we think about food assistance programs, but this summer it was a reality. Yes we served a great amount of low-income families but also working moms and dads, who although are putting out their greatest efforts, do not make enough to place a balanced meal on the table.
With Danica’s eyes now opened to the very real need around us, she has become determined, she says, to extend what she learned beyond this summer and beyond New York.
The lessons I learned this summer didn’t stop with me returning back to college. This semester I am taking a Special Topics class: Sociology of Food: School Lunch Policy. Now that I am President of the Black Student Union at George Washington University we are doing several community service projects at local soup kitchens and food banks around DC.
Read her full article and more in the PTS Newsletter.
September 3rd, 2014
By Lauren Liberatore
I first learned about Catholic Charities and their efforts by working at the Archdiocese of New York in the Office of Superintendent of Schools and receiving e-Newsletters about their events and current work. I am excited to join Catholic Charities and their mission in helping New Yorkers in need.
I always said I would never be crazy enough to run 26.2 miles, unless it was in the New York City Marathon. I started getting into half-marathons in 2012, since then I have successfully finished three half-marathons, including the Diva Half Marathon in October 2012, the New Jersey Half-Marathon in May 2013 and the Rutgers United Half-Marathon in April 2014! Each half-marathon I have improved my time and form!
I stumbled upon the Team Catholic Charities homepage by accident after visiting CrossStreets, the Catholic Charities blog. By being a part of this team, not only do I get to accomplish a dream I never thought I had, but I also get to support and represent such a giving organization. Growing up in a Catholic family and attending Catholic school since kindergarten, I always learned to support great charities and to give back to my communities. Running for Team Catholic Charities has been a huge honor and I am excited to help raise money for the organization!
I found the best place to train with the summer heat is at the Jersey Shore, where I spend most of my weekends. The breeze off the ocean in the early morning is extremely refreshing and so is the option to jump right in! During the week, I mix up my workouts between Crossfit, Running and teaching Zumba!
My family and friends are constantly supporting me by keeping me company during runs or attending my Zumba classes. They are even kind enough to listen to me complaining about being sore and/or bragging about my achievements!
Help Lauren as she runs for Team Catholic Charities.