Archive for July, 2013

Looking for a (Better) Job?

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

If you are unemployed, underemployed, or simply looking for a better job, then you will want to attend our FREE Help and Hope Career Coaching Program offered by Catholic Charities Community Services.

Ann Ruecker, MPA, MA CPCC will provide you with:

• practical information
• follow up strategies that you can take with you and use the next day.

The program consists of:

• two group sessions
• and 1:1 optional follow ups

When: 
Part 1: Thursday, Aug 1st    7pm – 9pm AND
Part 2:  Tuesday Aug 20th  7pm – 9pm

Location:  Immaculate Conception Lower Church  53 Winter Hill Road, Tuckahoe, NY 10707

There is a $10 co-pay for each of up to three follow-up sessions.

You determine how many you need.  Use the follow-up sessions to:

• refine your resume
• discuss interviewing strategies
• hone your job searching skills.

To register or for more information please call Karen Reynolds  by dialing 914-476-2700.

Facts about the Becoming America Congressional Pilgrimage

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Congressman Joe Crowley and Msgr. Kevin Sullivan; Freedom Tower in background.

As talk of immigration reform stalls in Washington, interfaith leaders joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in New York last weekend for the first-ever “Becoming America Congressional Pilgrimage.”

Congressmen including Joe Crowley, Charley Rangel, Mario Diaz-Balart and Michael Grimm joined the pilgrimage to sites that accentuate New York and America’s ethnic diversity such as Ellis Island, Gracie Mansion, the African Burial Ground National Monument, the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the National September 11 Memorial.

Leaders from the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths including Catholic and Evangelical communities welcomed all present.

A concern among many is that families that once worshipped together are now separated by U.S. immigration laws.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan meditated in his remarks on verses from the Gospel of Matthew that advise “for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me.”

He also encouraged reaffirmation of the pledge made by our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence.

“With a firm reliance on divine providence,” he recited, “we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

 

Watch NY1 to learn more.

Jailed for 259 days in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, Maryam Rostampour & Marziyeh Amirizadeh share their horror.

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh, authors of “Captive In Iran,”  reflect on their 259 days jailed in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison on this recent episode of JustLove on SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio.

Also on the show is Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, Chair of United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, who discusses religious liberty around the world with JustLove Radio Host Msgr. Kevin Sullivan.

JustLove airs weekly on Saturday at 10am EST on The Catholic Channel 129.

Listen as they take on these topics on JustLove  on SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio.

Tell us what you think … Just click on the story title and leave a reply.

Celebrating the Americans With Disabilities Act

Monday, July 29th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities celebrates the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act signed into law 23 years ago last week. It protects millions of persons with physical and emotional challenges across the United States. It prohibits discrimination and helps to enforce fair laws for the disabled across America.

The senior adjusting to recent blindness, the developmentally disabled child, and the emotionally challenged adult need the intensive care and support provided by Catholic Charities to live with dignity and in safety. Through a network of specialized services, Catholic Charities cares compassionately for the most vulnerable New Yorkers – non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

Click on an individual service to learn more:

Supportive Housing for the Mentally IllResidences for Special Needs • Early Intervention and Special EducationCaregiver Respite Adaptive Services for Deaf and Blind

According to the 2010 Census Data, 56.7 million people in the United States live with a disability, including half of all individuals over 65. Of those under the age of 65, only 1 in 3 are employed. And 23% of those with a disability live in poverty. By comparison, the poverty rate for those without a disability is 15%.

>> See Video
>> More Information

Going door to door, tent to shed, to serve those still suffering from Superstorm Sandy.

Friday, July 26th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Although nine months have passed since Hurricane Sandy pushed ocean waves down the streets of Staten Island’s Midland Beach, upending cars, flooding homes and destroying nearly everything in its wake, some residents of this seaside community still live in makeshift tents and sheds.  Some even sleep on park benches.

Many still need assistance with basic needs such as food and shelter. This includes children, the elderly, and new immigrants. Nine months into this disaster and many believe they have nowhere to turn for help.

A number of local volunteer organizations have been created or expanded to address these needs. “Every night a volunteer goes out in search of those still in need of a meal and a place to sleep,” says Catholic Charities Community Development Coordinator Lourdes Ferrer.

Over three hundred Sandy survivors already receive support from Catholic Charities disaster case managers stationed at Catholic Charities’ office at 120 Anderson Avenue in Staten Island. But rather than just waiting for Sandy survivors to come to Catholic Charities, disaster case managers also go to them.

Catholic Charities manages the New York State Disaster Case Management Program. Designed to streamline support and avoid frustration and confusion, the Disaster Case Management program whittles down the complex system of disaster support by providing survivors with a single point of contact to access a broad range of resources. This allows people still reeling from the loss of jobs and homes to avoid the need to search out multiple organizations that might respond to their various needs. Instead, survivors can relate their experiences and submit their documentation to a single, local disaster case manager who guides them through the recovery process.

Many residents of Staten Island never before had to ask for social service help and were unsure of the value of these services.  They initially hoped they could do everything themselves.

So Catholic Charities teamed up with local “hubs,” ad hoc service centers that sprang up in neighborhoods hit hardest by the hurricane to provide food, water, clothing, supplies and services, educate the community and reach more of those in need.   Case managers from Catholic Charities now help staff the Staten Island Alliance office on Colony Ave, enrolling many new clients into the program and meeting with existing clients.  Case managers are also able to meet with clients in their homes.  To extend these services, Catholic Charities disaster case managers are preparing to staff another hub in the New Dorp neighborhood in Staten Island. By meeting staff at home, in local hubs and Catholic Charities offices, hurricane survivors can feel comfortable in familiar surroundings close to home among people they know.

“People think that because so many months have passed, that everything is back to ‘normal’,” Lourdes said. “But the reality is there are communities in Staten Island that are still recovering and struggling to accept the new ‘normal’.”

World Youth Day 2013

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

News media from around the world are reporting this week on Pope Francis and his first trip back to South America to celebrate World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. More than 2.5 million Catholics and others are joining the celebration.

At this global event that occurs every two or three years, young members of the faithful gather together in prayer to meet the Pope and to celebrate and renew their faith.

At Catholic Charities, we know that all children deserve the opportunity to develop social skills, gain confidence and develop lasting values that will serve them as adults. Our network of services aims to address the physical, emotional and psychological needs of children and their families.

At Catholic Charities, in any given year:

  • 382 children  are adopted by loving families
  • 1,564 children enjoying summer camps
  • 6,066 children and teens are placed in safe foster care
  • 23,914 youth participate in wholesome sports
  • 7,254 children growing and learning in day-care
  • 4,628 youth participating in sound after-school programs

Listen as Cynthia Martinez from the Catholic Youth Ministry of the Archdiocese of New York speaks about World Youth Day with Msgr. Kevin Sullivan on JustLove on SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio. JustLove airs weekly on Saturday at 10am EST on The Catholic Channel 129.

Are you making a pilgrimage to Brazil for World Youth Day? We would love to hear your story. Comment below.

President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Catholic Charities Case Manager Tanya Thomas Share Stage

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities case manager Tanya Thomas, a gold star military spouse and the first graduate of Grace’s training program, part of a Clinton Global Initiative commitment to assist female veterans and their families, shared the stage with former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the third annual Clinton Global Initiative America meeting held in Chicago. The meeting drew together experts from across the nation to develop solutions that promote economic recovery, such as the Grace Institute training program that helped Ms. Thomas find work.

Hillary Clinton introduced Ms. Thomas and Jolene Varley Handy, Grace Institute’s Sr. Director of Strategic Partnerships. Ms. Thomas wore a palm-colored dress and jacket.  Ms. Varley Handy wore a black dress and green jacket.  And yes; Ms. Clinton wore a blue pants suit.

Ms. Thomas was the only client presenter at the two-day conference.  She shared in front of 2000 guests her story about how her life was transformed by Grace Institute and the Catholic Charities case manager job she landed as a result.

“Veterans often face difficulty matching civilian skills to civilian work and they can face health challenges such as post traumatic stress,” Ms. Thomas told the audience. “These obstacles affect not only our veterans but their families as well.

“My husband was a disabled vet and taking  care of him took me out of the workforce for eight years…Grace Institute was my beacon of hope providing me with resources to reenter the work force.”

Her experience at Grace Institute and its close connections with Catholic Charities helped her land her current job here.

Grace Institute, an affiliate of Catholic Charities, has been providing tuition-free job-training skills for women in New York City for more than 100 years. Through this commitment to action, Grace is now reaching out to serve female veterans and military families to assist with  the transition to life off base and the civilian workforce. The program includes intensive computer, business writing and career development classes.  It prepares students for interviews and draws on its extensive lists of employer contacts to arrange meetings and help the students find work.

Watch and listen to Ms. Thomas on “Together We Can:  Driving a Future of Shared Responsibility and Shared Benefit.”

Check out this recent interview with Grace Institute’s Tanya Lynn Thomas, as she speaks with Msgr. Kevin Sullivan on JustLove on SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio.  JustLove airs weekly on Saturday at 10am EST on The Catholic Channel 129.

Are you an unemployed woman looking to brush up your skills and find a job?

Click to learn more about Grace Institute, its special program for female veterans and their families and all its tuition-free job-training programs for New York City women.

Excessive Heat Warning Issued

Friday, July 19th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Forecasting hot, humid weather today that will feel like 106 degrees, the National Weather Service issued an Excessive Heat Warning. This is the sixth day of a long and dangerous heat wave that threatens our most vulnerable residents. Catholic Charities is teaming up with fellow social service agencies and New York City to help keep you cool.

PLEASE JOIN US BY WATCHING OUT FOR YOUR NEIGHBORS IN NEED:

  • Check in on vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbors.
  • Make a special effort to support seniors, young children, and people with special needs to get to a cool place or medical attention if they need it.
  • Remember that free Cooling Centers are in and near your local neighborhood and there are many ways to stay safe during the heat.
  • Sign up for Notify NYC to receive Office of Emergency Management (OEM) notifications (call 311 or go to www.nyc.gov/oem)

FIND A COOLING CENTER NEAR YOU:

  • Call 311 or enter your address in the Cooling Center Finder on www.nyc.gov/oem.
  • Be sure to call and confirm the center is open before traveling in the heat.
  • Agencies providing Cooling Center facilities are:
    • NYC Department for the Aging
    • New York City Housing Authority
    •  NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Brooklyn Public Library
    • New York Public Library
    • Queens Library
    • The Salvation Army

 QUICK HEAT-BEATING TIPS:

  •  If possible, stay out of the sun.
  •  When in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and a hat to protect your face and head.
  •  Use an air conditioner if you have one. Set the thermostat no lower than 78 degrees.
  •  If you do not have an air conditioner, keep rooms well-ventilated with open windows and fans. Consider going to a public pool, air-conditioned store, mall, movie theater, or cooling center.
  •  Fans work best at night, when they can bring in cooler air from outside.
  •  Seniors and others who may be sensitive to extreme heat should contact friends, neighbors, or relatives at least twice a day during a heat wave.
  •  Drink fluids – particularly water – even if you do not feel thirsty.
  •  Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or high amounts of sugar. People with heart, kidney or liver disease, or on fluid restricted diets should check with their doctors before increasing fluid intake.
  •  Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible.
  •  Never leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked car during periods of intense summer heat.
  •  Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun’s peak hours – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you must engage in strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Cool showers or baths may be helpful, but avoid extreme temperature changes. Never take a shower immediately after becoming overheated – extreme temperature changes may make you ill, nauseated, or dizzy.

 WORRIED THAT YOU MAY BE SUFFERING FROM HEAT RELATED ILLNESS?

 Seek help if you feel these symptoms:

  • Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms, usually in the leg or stomach muscles, resulting from heavy exertion during extreme heat.

Although heat cramps are the least severe of all heat-related health problems, they are often the first signal that the body is having trouble coping with the heat and should be treated immediately with rest and fluids. Stretching, gentle massaging of the spasms, or direct, firm pressure on cramps can reduce pain. Seek medical attention if pain is severe or nausea occurs.

  • Heat exhaustion occurs when body fluids are lost through heavy sweating due to vigorous exercise or working in a hot, humid place.

Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to vital organs to decrease. Symptoms include: sweating, pale and clammy skin, fatigue, headache, dizziness, shallow breaths, and a weak pulse. Heat exhaustion should be treated with rest in a cool area, sipping water or electrolyte solutions, applying cool and wet cloths, elevating the feet 12 inches, and further medical treatment in severe cases. If not treated, the victim’s condition may escalate to heat stroke. If the victim does not respond to basic treatment, seek medical attention. Heat exhaustion usually occurs when the heat index is between 90 and 105 degrees.

 Heat stroke — also called “sunstroke” — occurs when the victim’s temperature control system, which produces perspiration to cool the body, stops working. The skin is flushed, hot and dry, and body temperature may be elevated. In fact, body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. The victim may also be confused, develop seizures, breathe shallowly, and have a weak, rapid pulse. Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness and people exhibiting its symptoms should seek emergency medical attention.

  •  Hot summer weather can increase ozone levels.

Ozone, a major component of smog, is created in the presence of sunlight by reactions of chemicals found in gasoline vapors and emissions from cars and industrial smoke stacks.

WHAT ABOUT AIR QUALITY?

When ozone levels in the unhealthy range are expected, New Yorkers are advised to limit vigorous outdoor physical activity during the afternoon and early evening hours when ozone levels are at their highest.

If you have asthma or other respiratory problems, stay in an area where it is cool and the air is filtered or air-conditioned. Outdoor exercise should be scheduled for the morning hours whenever possible.

Children are generally more at risk to the effects of ozone, especially in the summer as children tend to spend more time outdoors.

People who exercise moderately (such as jogging) are also at risk, because breathing rate increases with exercise and the amount of ozone delivered into the lung per minute increases.

Additionally, ozone can have a dramatic effect on people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or those sensitive to ozone.

 Symptoms associated with unhealthy levels of ozone include:

  • Chest pain
  • Coughing & wheezing
  • Lung & nasal congestion
  • Labored breathing
  • Nausea
  • Eye & nose irritation
  • Faster breathing
  • Sore throat

High ozone levels can also decrease lung function, increase susceptibility to respiratory infection, and aggravate asthma and other chronic lung diseases. Schedule outdoor exercise and children’s outdoor activities for the morning hours. Individuals who experience respiratory symptoms or chest pain should consult their doctors.

 To help reduce ozone levels:

  •  Avoid driving, especially on hot summer days. Use mass transit, walk, or carpool instead.
  •  Be careful not to spill gasoline and fill your gas tank during the cooler evening hours.
  •  Keep your car properly tuned and maintained.
  •  Seal containers of household cleaners, solvents, and chemicals to prevent evaporation of chemicals that can contribute to ozone formation.

 NEED MORE INFORMATION about heat safety and how you can prepare for emergencies?

Call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/oem