Archive for July, 2012

Catholic Charities to Provide Disaster Relief Services to 34 Counties

Monday, July 30th, 2012

The Office of Emergency Management has recently announced that Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of New York is the recipient of an $11.8 million grant to support disaster relief efforts in the Hudson Valley.

After Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, Catholic Charities USA , an umbrella organization representing Catholic Charities agencies nationwide, spearheaded a disaster case management program in 14 New York counties, under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Thanks to this new grant, the program is now expanding to 34 counties throughout New York State. Catholic Charities has been chosen as the overall managing agency and will be responsible for the continued growth of these services and the administration of outreach efforts.

Since mid October, Catholic Charities staff working in Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties have offered assistance to 646 households and provided ongoing case management to 160 households.  Case managers work one-on-one with clients to assess unmet needs, provide referrals and follow-up to multiple resources, and help clients map out their roads to recovery. The Disaster Case Management Program is a voluntary service for survivors and is comprehensive and long-term in nature, with services planned through August of 2013.

The need for aid remains strong in the Hudson Valley in the wake of Irene and Lee, powerful storms that caused record-breaking flooding lasting for days, in addition to widespread property damage and power outages.

Hurricane Irene has been described as the largest disaster to hit the United States since 1942 because of the geographically widespread damage caused by the resulting floods and wind damage –from the Carolinas to the Canadian border.

To support this expanding work, Catholic Charities will be hiring 25 new employees from the affected counties to assist these efforts. Stay tuned to hear more news on this important and much needed outreach for our neighbors in need.

“God Bless Ya”: Reflecting on the Privilege of Running the ING NYC Marathon

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Christine Keith, right, is ready to run the 2012 ING NYC Marathon alongside her friend and cancer survivor, left.

By Christine Keith

When you tell someone you’re planning to run a marathon, their reaction usually approximates one I heard today. It was from a doctor I was seeing to get the medical go-ahead to start my grueling training program for the 2012 ING New York City marathon. “God bless ya,” she said, and shook her head.

I understand that reaction well, because it’s one I was accustomed to giving friends who’ve told me they were going to take on the 26.2 mile run, a physical challenge I’ve always considered somewhere between extreme and insane. So what’s changed for me? Well, glad you asked.

1) I’ve gone half way. In February 2011, I went to an informational meeting at work hosted by Team in Training, a wonderful organization that trains people for an endurance event while they raise money for cancer research. Full disclosure: I only attended the meeting for the free pizza and had never run more than a few miles at a time. But I walked out signed up for my first half marathon, and after months of pushing myself physically and mentally, successfully ran 13.1 miles. It was among the hardest things I’ve ever done, and, when I crossed the finish line exhausted, I would’ve sworn to you I couldn’t run a single step farther. And on November 4th, it won’t be one step. It’ll be twice as many.

2) You can take the girl out of New York… I may have moved 900 miles away from New York last fall for a professional opportunity, but there were a few things I couldn’t fit in the U-Haul. Like the amazing friends I’ve accumulated since kindergarten who all live in Manhattan, my supportive family, and the energizing, fascinating, dynamic spirit of the City most notorious for its insomnia. While I lived there, I spent two years as the co-chair of the Catholic Charities Junior Board, so the ability to support its mission from afar by participating on its inaugural marathon team is one I welcome. On race day, it’ll be all those associations with my former home that propel me forward while I experience every part of it like I never have: by foot.

3) I made plans with a friend that day. During training for my half marathon last year, I became close friends with Katie, a seemingly normal (but exceptionally cool!) girl also running her first half marathon. We bonded over that experience before I found out that she herself was a two-time cancer survivor, giving added significance to the fact that we were running for an organization that raises money for cancer research. So when Katie set her sights on completing the NYC marathon this year and asked me to run with her, I told her that, while I fully supported her, I didn’t think I could do it. But then I realized something.

4) I can do it. Or, more accurately, I can try. Thanks to friends like Katie, and my family, and just under three decades of proving myself wrong when I didn’t think I could do something, I have enough reserves of support and inspiration to hopefully carry me through all five boroughs, and roughly five hours of my first New York City marathon. I know 2012 is the right year to do it for many reasons. The year it makes sense to go from spectating on 1st Avenue to hoofing it on the first Sunday morning in November. The year that I have the health and inspiration and free time (upside to moving to a city where you have no friends!), that I can attempt to knock this very daunting experience off my life list, all while raising money for Catholic Charities’ incredibly worthy mission of answering the desperate needs of so many in my former home city.

So to my doctor (who, incidentally, gave me a clean bill of health for training), I guess I should say, you’re absolutely right, God did bless me. And that’s exactly why, when I run the marathon in four months, I will consider every mile – from the thrilling first on the Verrazano to the brutal 26th in Central Park – an extraordinary privilege.



You’re Invited: Explore Our Online Annual Report

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York is proud to announce our interactive 2011 Annual Report — a gateway to learn more about Catholic Charities services and hear directly from our clients, our donors and our staff.

Listen to their story. Explore the Catholic Charities Annual Report.

For the first time, our online Annual Report features videos and multimedia tools so that you can see and hear for yourself what makes the work we do at Catholic Charities New York so special.

Listen to the first-hand stories of people helped by Catholic Charities, including:

  • A teenager who was given the confidence necessary to succeed in school
  • A mother whose sons’ lives were able to be saved because of the immigration assistance we provided
  • A senior who was forced out of her home because of a fire, who Catholic Charities helped to secure safe housing.

You’re invited to explore the Interactive Annual Report now, and share it with your friends and colleagues.

What You Need to Know About Deferred Action for DREAM Act-Eligible Youth

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that certain young people who meet specific requirements are a low-enforcement priority, and can apply for Deferred Action for a period of two years, with the possibility of renewal.

According to Raluca Oncioiu, director of Immigration Legal Services for Catholic Charities Community Services, “Catholic Charities is prepared to engage in community outreach and to provide resources and advice for young people who might be eligible for deferred action while we wait for additional information about the application process to be released [by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service].”

Community-based organizations, schools and GED programs can request a presentation about Deferred Action from Catholic Charities by calling the New York State New Americans Hotline: 1-800-566-7636.

To be considered for deferred action, individuals must:

  • Have come to the United States under the age of 16 and not be above the age of 30.
  • Have resided in the United States continuously for at least five years before June 15, 2012, and have been present in the United States as of June 15, 2012.
  • Be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED certificate or be honorably discharged veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States.
  • Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense or multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Understanding Deferred Action:

    • Deferred Action is an administrative action in which DHS decides to defer removal of an individual (prosecutorial discretion).
    • Deferred Action does not confer lawful status .
    • Those who have been granted Deferred Action are eligible to apply for employment authorization, a card issued by the government that can also help an individual obtain a social security number, open a bank account, and obtain a driver’s license .

Find answers to more FAQs on the USCIS website.

More resources (attachments)

“Deferred Action for Undocumented Young People”
“Deferred Action Fact Sheet”

WARNING: No application procedure is currently in place. United States Citizenship and Immigration Service is developing an application procedure which will be announced in August. DO NOT APPLY FOR DEFERRED ACTION BEFORE THE APPLICATION PROCESS IS ANNOUNCED.

Call the New York State New Americans Hotline (formerly known as the New York State Immigration Hotline) at 1-800-566-7636 for more information, or to check on whether the application process has been announced.

Transition to Adulthood Program Celebrates Students’ Success

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Forty-five high school juniors and graduating seniors from the Transition to Adulthood Program (TAP) gathered for an end of year celebration at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Center on June 29 to celebrate the year’s successes and to honor those who made the program so meaningful in their lives.

Christy Mathurin, right, congratulates a Transition to Adulthood Program student at the 2012 end of year celebration.

The program, based at the Kennedy Center and funded through the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, helps high school students from the Harlem community and beyond prepare for college and careers through leadership development classes, workshops, college visits and summer internships.

“All of the students who attended the event commented that they felt that the Kennedy Center was like a second home to them – a place where they truly belonged – and that program staff was like family,” said Christy Mathurin, youth program coordinator at the Kennedy Center.

At the event, program staff members awarded certificates to the rising seniors who completed one year of the program, and to the graduating seniors who had completed the program and are going off to college this fall. The celebration also welcomed back five TAP graduates who are currently attending college. Program graduates were awarded stipends to help cover college tuition and other expenses, and awarded certificates in recognition of their successful completion of a year in college.

Performances by members of the Kennedy Center’s African dance, modern dance and drumming groups followed the awards presentation.  As a special touch, TAP students, graduates and their families were invited to join these groups on stage and participate in the performances themselves.

“The event was very touching for students and all attendees. It brought something magical,” said Mustafa Tabakovic, Catholic Charities program director. Tabakovic said he hoped that the creative performances would inspire students and community members to get involved in the diverse activities offered by the Kennedy Center, and enrich the Harlem community through their energy and participation.

This is the second year that the Kennedy Center has hosted this end of year celebration for its students and performers, and it promises to be a long-standing tradition.

“We were told by everyone who attended the event that we need to hold this celebration every year,” said Mathurin.


From a Very Long Walk to a Very Long Run: Meet Maria, Marathon Runner for Team Catholic Charities NY

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Maria Ines Galvez walking "El Camino de Santiago," the legendary pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Maria Ines Galvez is no stranger to tests of physical and spiritual endurance. Every January, she plans  a personal goal and dedicates her year to pursuing it — challenging work that usually involves going far outside her comfort zone.

In 2010, the year she dedicated to gratitude and thanksgiving, she decided to walk “El Camino de Santiago,” the legendary pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.  She knew that this physical challenge would be spiritually fulfilling and would also allow her to show gratitude to God. “Every night, in every town, there was a special pilgrims’ mass. I tried to make it to mass each night, no matter where I was,” said Galvez.

This past January, Galvez committed herself to charity towards those in need. She was trying to find the best way to do this when her running partner, Father Joseph Tyrrell of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, suggested she run the ING New York City Marathon for Catholic Charities New York.

“It all started with Fr. Joe,” said Galvez. “He was my inspiration. I thought, if he could run the marathon, so could I.”

By running with Team Catholic Charities NY, Galvez is working toward her 2012 commitment by raising $5,000 in support of the St. Nicholas Project, a Catholic Charities initiative that provides critical social services and charitable support to New York families in need.

“Training for the ING NYC Marathon has become a life-changing event  for me, not only physically but spiritually as well,” said Galvez. “It is very grueling, but when I feel tired and want to stop, I think about the commitment I’ve made to those who will be benefiting from my fundraising for this race.”

So what does Galvez say is harder – walking the Camino de Santiago, or training for the NYC Marathon?

“The Camino is harder,” said Galvez. “When you’re on the pilgrimage, if you don’t cover enough miles in the day, you won’t be able to find a place to sleep. There are rural houses along the route that take in pilgrims, but they are only accessible at certain intervals – and sometimes, all the beds are full.”

Maria Ines works at BBVA S.A. as an analyst in the Structured Trade Finance Team.