Archive for December, 2013

After Surviving Slaughter, A Deep Instinct to Survive

Monday, December 30th, 2013

By Hannah Murphy

The New York Times

When Epiphanie Musabiyemaria was growing up in Rwanda among two tribes, Hutu and Tutsi, teachers would ask each student “what they were.” She could not answer, she said, because her father had never told her. We are all just people, he insisted.

When she was 23, at the beginning of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the government decided for her. Her mother was tall, which was considered a Tutsi trait. The family’s friends were Tutsi. Her fiancé, the father of her unborn son, was Tutsi.

So every day, the Hutu-led government threatened to kill them.

“Three o’clock was a very special hour for our family,” she said. “That’s when they gave you the notice that you were going to be killed.” It was rumored that anti-Tutsi forces were waiting for her to give birth, to kill her infant as well.

By the end of the war, her brother, her fiancé and her youngest sister were dead.

Read her story in The New York Times.

Find out how Catholic Charities is helping her rebuild her life.

Tuition-Free Job Training for Women Grace Institute Over 115 Years of Empowering Women

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Looking for help kick starting your career?

Grace Institute, an affiliate of Catholic Charities, is actively recruiting for its upcoming class that begins May 2014.

This six-month business skills program includes:

  •  Job training for Office Support, Customer Support, and Administrative Positions
  •  Training in – Microsoft Office Suite, Keyboarding, Business Writing, and Communications
  •  Professional & Career Development
  • Job Placement Assistance
  • On-Site Student Services Department
  • Convenient Daytime Classes
  • Supportive Environment
  • HRA APPROVED

Program schedule: Monday through Friday — 9AM to 4PM
Open house dates still available in January and February 2014

To learn more or to register for an open house, please visit Grace at www.graceinstitute.org

1233 Second Avenue | (Between 64th and 65th Streets) 212.832.7605|admissions@graceinstitute.org

 

Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon Raises $1.5 Million to Support Those in Need

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

The 68th Annual Cardinal’s Christmas luncheon hosted by Catholic Charities and the Ladies of Charity brought in a record-breaking $1.5 million to support Catholic Charities programs that help thousands of needy women and children of all religions throughout the 10 counties of the Archdiocese.

“The event represents values that are at the heart of Catholic Charities,” Msgr. Kevin Sullivan said.  They include “the Christian faith that motivates our work, the dignity of each individual of every religion or no religion and the solidarity that bridges differences for the sake of doing good.”  Read more in Msgr. Sullivan’s current JustLove blog post.

Honorary chair Anna Murdoch-Mann teamed up once again with luncheon chair, Mary Higgins Clark and corporate chair, Joseph E. Spinnato at the event held on December 18 in the Grand Ballroom of The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

Elizabeth Ailes, board member of Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers, owner of the Hudson Valley Freedom Press received the Christmas Angel Award from his Eminence, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York  Rosanna Scotto, Co-host of Good Day New York, served as mistress of ceremonies. Elizabeth Ailes is the wife of Fox News CEO, Roger Ailes,

Cardinal Dolan, Honorary Chairman of the luncheon, along with Nancy Waters of the Ladies of Charity, presented the Spirit of Saint Nicholas Award to Pat and Lou DiCerbo.

The luncheon included performances by noted Soprano Jamie Barton and the Our Lady of Pompeii School Chorus from New York City. Students from St. John Chrysostom School presented a tableau, narrated by Cardinal Dolan with a reading from the Gospel according to St. Luke.  Monsignor Kevin Sullivan offered the Invocation.

Msgr. Sullivan’s Trip to Bangladesh Continues to Resonate as We Approach Christmas

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Tomas Munita for The New York Times

“Adequate compensation for the disabilities and loss of life caused by the disasters along with safe building and working conditions were the major themes I heard from the garment factory workers in Bangladesh immediately after Thanksgiving.”

 Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

In a front-page story published just yesterday in The New York Times, reporter Jim Yardley documents how those living after the collapse are still struggling to make ends meet.   Even though the Bangladeshi government, local associations and overseas retailers have provided short-term compensation to survivors and loved ones, many still require financial support.

Last month, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan was invited to visit garment factories in Dhaka, Bangladesh with a delegation of New Yorkers that included Tom DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller, and Stuart Appelbaum the head of the RWDSU (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.)

The delegation met with surviving workers of the Rana Plaza factory collapse as well as family members of those who perished, labor leaders and retailers tied to the factory. More than 1,100 workers’ lives were lost nearly eight months ago.

“Our trip was intended to meet with the various sectors involved in the garment industry, the workers themselves, organizers, brand names and government officials to learn about what was going on,”  Monsignor Sullivan told Catholic New York.  RanaPlaza survivors and family members of the workers killed had a number of concerns regarding reforming building and work space conditions and receiving adequate compensation from the disaster.

Read more survivors’ stories featured in The New York Times.

 

Bullied Boy Begins to Thrive

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Bullied for much of his childhood and bounced between eight inner-city schools Edwyn Colon, 11, was treated for anxiety and panic attacks.

The young boy shares a one-bedroom apartment with his mother who is disabled by asthma, neuropathy and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and his grandfather who needs constant care due to the three strokes he suffered and Parkinson’s Disease.  His father left the family when Edwyn was four years old.

Edwyn needed someone outside his family, his mother said, someone healthy who he could look up to, learn from and begin to enjoy life outside their urban Bronx neighborhood.

Fortunately, the family found Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers, an affiliate of Catholic Charities New York.  The agency matched volunteer and investment banker Noah Anderson, 33, a “big brother”/mentor for Edwyn.

“I don’t believe anyone is self made; you are the people you interact with,” says Mr. Anderson.  “I was fortunate to interact with good people and I want Edwyn to have that experience.”

Read more in The New York Times.

Msgr. Sullivan Checks Progress on Bangladesh Factory Safety

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Photo by Fahad Faisal

Catholic Charities Executive Director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan joined a high-profile delegation from New York City in Bangladesh to gather the latest on-the-ground information on the progress made towards the improvement of factory safety since the Rana Plaza collapse, reports the Daily Star and Catholic New York.
The American contingent that included New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and others met survivors of the building collapse, officials of the Swedish retail giant H&M and labor leaders involved in getting global retailers to sign on the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and improve conditions for garment workers.

The goal was to bring back to New York City compelling facts and testimonial that will help raise awareness of the importance of the Accord and to encourage shoppers in New York City, one of the world’s largest consumer markets, to support the 100-odd brands that have signed the Accord.

“In this holiday season, Americans will purchase huge volumes of clothing apparel. We need to become even more aware of the working conditions in the countries around the world that produce these goods,” said Msgr. Sullivan.

Read the full story in the Daily Star.

Click here to read a story from Catholic New York highlighting Monsignor Sullivan’s trip to Bangladesh

Bringing Smiles to Children on Christmas Day

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

“In a day and age when lists to Santa Claus include iPads and game consoles , Catholic Charities St. Nicholas Project is much more basic,”  reports Carol D’Auria from 1010 WINS Radio in her live report  this week from Kmart at Astor Place.

Cardinal Dolan says volunteers with Catholic Charities (that hosted the event) don’t shop for toys but for things that people really need like socks, coats and pajamas.

“We are at our best; we are acting the way God our father intends us when we give ourselves away in love and service to somebody else and that’s what Christmas is all about.”

This volunteer said the list of needy families is growing. “We have over 200 more individuals to shop for this year than last year and it’s a really amazing way to reflect on what’s really important around the holidays.

Each shopper spent $200 for a family of four.

Catch the full story on CBS News and 1010 WINS.

“I love the fact that some tiny, simple thing that I’m doing is maybe going to help keep somebody warm and bring a smile to some kid’s face underneath the Christmas tree on Christmas morning,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan tells the New York Post.

Read the full story in the New York Post.

Toys & Coats Bring Warmth to the Holiday

Monday, December 16th, 2013

For the seventh consecutive holiday season, Catholic Charities teamed up with Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway to make the holiday season a little warmer and a little brighter for families in need.

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and Timothy Rooney

Empire City Casino President & CEO Timothy J. Rooney presented over 500 toys and coats gathered from its two-week toy and coat drive to Catholic Charities yesterday, December 12.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, accompanied by Catholic Charities Community Services Supervisor Karen Reynolds along with Sister Christine Hennessey  and Orla Kelleher of the Aisling Irish Community Center accepted the gifts for distribution to  local children and families.

“Providing help by giving a warm coat also provides some Christmas hope this season,” Ms. Reynolds said.

Read more in the Yonkers Tribune

Turning Tragedy Into Kindness

Friday, December 13th, 2013

To mark the one-year anniversary tomorrow of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, relatives of the young victims said they would light a candle today, Friday, and urged people to honor the victims  by finding ways to give back to their own communities.

Newtown officials asked for privacy as they joined the victims’ families in calling for people to mark the event by performing acts of kindness or volunteering with charities, reports The Christian Science Monitor.

“In this way, we hope that some small measure of good may be returned to the world,” JoAnn Bacon told the news organization.

Ms. Bacon’s 6-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was among the 20 students and six educators shot to death in the school on Dec. 14, 2012. She was reading from a statement released by the families of all 26 victims.

Please join us at Catholic Charities in honoring the victims and their families.

Your involvement can take many different forms:  making a donation, lending your time, and lending your voice to help those in need.

Invisible Child

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

“She wakes to the sound of breathing,” New York Times reporter Andrea Elliott writes in this compelling new series that shines a light on the growing number of homeless children in New York City.

“The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets. A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet. Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.”

Ms. Elliott’s story follows the life of Dasani, an eleven-year-old who lives in the shadows of New York City’s high rises.  Her life appears more reminiscent of a 19th-century Dickens novel than of New York’s better-known twenty-first century stories of success.

The reality is that hunger and homelessness is growing in New York.

As Ms. Elliott reports:

  • Dasani belongs to a vast and invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression.
  • The ranks of the poor have risen, with almost half of New Yorkers living near or below the poverty line.
  • One in five American children is now living in poverty.
  • Nearly one-third of New York’s homeless children are supported by a working adult.
  • Even with both parents working full-time jobs, on minimum wage they would have combined salaries of only 2,300 per month.

Dasani and her fellow modern-day Oliver Twists have come to be known, among the city’s homeless advocates, as “the lost generation.”

At Catholic Charities we find and help children and families in need.

Thanks to Catholic Charities and our affiliated agencies, this year:

  • 6,600,000  children and their families received nutritious meals in parish & community food programs
  • 9,051   children and their families were provided with emergency overnight shelter
  • 7,254   children are growing and learning in day-care
  • 6,066   children and teens were placed in safe foster care
  • 4,628   youth are participating in sound after-school programs
  • 382      children were adopted by loving families

Do you or does someone you know need help?

Please call the Catholic Charities Help line at: 888-774-7900

For more information about a particular service, click below:

Day Care Summer Camps
Foster Care Community Centers
Adoption Preventive Services
After School / Out of School Time Activities

Can you help?  Join us now during this Christmas season and throughout the year.