Archive for February, 2014

Where None Are So Poor They Have Nothing to Give; None So Rich They Have Nothing to Receive

Friday, February 28th, 2014

L-R: Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Peter C. Georgiopoulos, Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, John A. Thain, Pat Battle and Catherine Kinney


Check out the inspiring vision Msgr. Kevin Sullivan shared with a packed crowd on Wednesday, February 26, at Catholic Charities annual gala at The Waldorf-Astoria on Wednesday.

During the past year, stock markets have hit a new high.  New York City has a new Mayor. Tragically, new violence and ongoing civil unrest afflict countries with familiar and unfamiliar names, Pope Francis, whom everybody is quoting, has been named Time’s Person of the Year, and in case you hadn’t noticed it’s snowed a bit.    

And through all of this – daily Catholic Charities compassionately and effectively provided emergency meals, prevented evictions, counseled families recovering from Super-Storm Sandy, provided day care for working moms, welcomed immigrants by teaching  English and finding jobs and established a new youth wellness program – and much more. 

Your critical support for Catholic Charities helps to deepen and expand these services, meet unmet and new needs and strengthen a network of some 90 agencies that carries out this vital work in the communities and neighborhoods of greater New York.

Also we have a new buzz word: “inequality.”  For Catholic Charities inequality is not a spiritual catchphrase, nor a political slogan and certainly not a mantra-like wedge to be used to divide us from each other.  For Catholic Charities, inequality is the sad reality that our staff and volunteers encounter every day in our neighbors – a reality that urgently challenges us to come together to build a common good in which the basics – decent housing, nutritious meals, a good job and a supportive and loving family – are had by all. 

Our core belief that every person is made in the image of God demands no less from us.  

Catholic Charities works with individuals who, along with being poor and struggling, have remarkable strengths.  We envision a world of greater solidarity which builds on, and draws from, the strengths and resources of us all –  a world in which none are so poor that they have nothing to give and none too rich that they have nothing to receive.

Find out more about the event and its honorees

Check out these just-released gala photos.

Looking for more inspiration? Watch our just-released video, “Stories of Help & Hope” now.

Cabin Fever?

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

You gotta be kidding.  Twenty major snow storms since December.  Twice as much snow – 60 inches! – as the year before.  And temperatures dipping yet again into the single digits.

Getting cabin fever?

You betcha.

Well, here at Catholic Charities we have the cure.

With dozens of volunteer opportunities to choose from, we’re certain to have the perfect outlet for you.

So don’t let the weather keep you stuck inside.

How about:

Career Day Presenter

Share your expertise with teens at our annual Career Day on March 13.  Examples of past professional presenters include fire fighters, doctors, accountants, entrepreneurs, college representatives, professors, police officers, dancers, chefs and many more.

Community Outreach Liaison

This volunteer opportunity gets you out big time.  It involves distributing fliers, posters and other outreach material to let folks who live in Bronx Community District 2 — including Parkchester, Longwood, Soundview, Hunts Point, etc.–  know about homeless services available.

Rotating Intake Pantry Manager

You’ll provide support at our food pantries in Washington Heights, the Upper East Side and East Harlem

Corporate Engagement Workshop Presenters

Is your company, team, office or women’s network interested in giving back? Serve as a model/mentor and help us find meaningful jobs for low-income, unemployed women.

Opportunities span from writing resumes to teaching women what it means to “lean in.”

Virtual Database Assistant

Not quite ready to venture out?  Our virtual data base assistants type and compile mailing lists for our new Washington Heights Community Center.

And that’s just for starters.

Click here to find the volunteer opportunity that inspires you.

Catholic Charities Gala Honors CIT Group Chair, General Maritime Founder & the Altman Foundation

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Peter C. Georgiopoulos & John A. Thain

Peter C. Georgiopoulos & John A. Thain

His Excellency Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan and the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York will honor John A. Thain, Chairman and CEO, CIT Group Inc. and Peter C. Georgiopoulos, Founder and Chairman, General Maritime Corporation at its Gala Benefit at The Waldorf-Astoria on Wednesday, February 26 at 6:30 p.m.

A special recognition will also be given to the Altman Foundation. Altman will receive the Catholic Charities Good Neighbor Award for their long standing commitment to and support of the mission of Catholic Charities.

“Our annual gala continues to be a vibrant display of collaboration with New York’s generous business community to provide help and create hope in the lives of our neighbors who need a helping hand,” said Executive Director, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan. “Our ability to help New Yorkers in need – non Catholics and Catholics alike – and to build a more compassionate and just New York is writ large because of the partnerships Catholic Charities forges with both business and government. This event highlights the critical and effective role Catholic Charities plays in building a better New York.”

The Catholic Charities gala will once again convene a dynamic group of New Yorkers from the worlds of business, philanthropy, culture, fashion, law, media, politics and religion who share a deep concern for the well-being of New Yorkers in need. The event raises more than $2 million annually.

Pat Battle, anchor for NBC4 New York, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. Award-winning actress, singer and dancer Sutton Foster, who held leading roles in several Broadway productions including Thoroughly Modern Millie, Shrek: The Musical and Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, will perform live.

Honoree John A. Thainhas enjoyed a distinguished career in the financial services sector and continues to be a leader in the field. Before joining CIT Group Inc. as Chairman and CEO in 2010, he served as Chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and previously served as CEO and a director of NYSE Euronext, Inc. and President and COO of The Goldman Sachs Group, L.P. He is a member of the MIT Corporation Board, the Dean’s Advisory Council of MIT/Sloan School of Management and the U.S. National Advisory Board of INSEAD. He also serves on the Board of Managers of the New York Botanical Garden, is a member of the Board of Directors of the French-American Foundation and is a trustee of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

“I have long been impressed by the dedication and commitment of Catholic Charities and their efforts to provide food, shelter and comfort to those most in need,” said Mr. Thain. “This evening offers us an opportunity to recognize their work and will help ensure that they have the necessary resources to solve the problems of New Yorkers in need.”

Fellow honoree Peter C. Georgiopoulos has over twenty years of experience in the international shipping industry and is currently chairman of four publicly listed companies. He is Founder and Chairman of General Maritime Corporation, a leading crude and products tanker company. Mr. Georgiopoulos is also the Founder and Chairman of Genco Shipping & Trading Limited and Baltic Trading Limited. Since December 2006, Mr. Georgiopoulos has presided as Chairman of Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc., a leading independent supplier of marine fuel. He serves on the Board of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, the Alfred E. Smith Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House.

“Charity is often described as the greatest virtue. Tonight’s celebration highlights the wisdom of that saying as we come together, regardless of our faiths, to help ensure that the neediest members of our New York family get the help they deserve,” said Mr. Georgiopoulos. “Catholic Charities has made important and lasting changes for a better New York. I’m honored to be recognized, and more importantly, honored to help Catholic Charities carry forward its important, life-changing work.”

Stay tuned for photos of the big event.

 

Congratulations, Donna Corrado!

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Photo Credit: Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens

Photo Credit: Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens

Mayor Bill de Blasio just tapped this former head of Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services in Brooklyn and Queens  to lead New York City’s Department of Aging.

Ms. Corrado kicked off her career with Catholic Charities as an older adult program director before working her way up to chief operating officer.

As a 22-year member of the Catholic Charities community, she brings to her new position our legacy of rebuilding lives, always with compassion and dignity.

Ms. Corrado said her focus would be making the city a better place for the aging where almost a quarter of senior citizens live at or below the poverty line – even with social security benefits.

“This is unacceptable,” she said.  “Our seniors deserve not only respect, but the care and support of our city agencies.”

Watch this video of her appointment now.

 

 

 

Award – Winning Msgr. Patrick McCahill Shares Secret

Monday, February 24th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Msgr McCahill celebrating First Communion

Monsignor Patrick McCahill, the force behind services for the Deaf in the New York Archdiocese and recent winner of the Father David Walsh Pastoral Worker of the Year Award, shares a secret known largely only among the Deaf.

“When hearing people talk about the Deaf they think of it as a negative; that you can’t hear,” he says.  “But to be Deaf is also a matter of belonging; to belong to a group of capable friends who share a special language.”

Msgr. McCahill was let into this secret during his 45 years ministering to the Deaf.

“He has worked tirelessly to build a Church that is truly home for the Deaf in every ministerial capacity,” said Sr. Barbara Ann Sgro, OP, Coordinator of Deaf Services – Hudson Valley, when she nominated him to the National Catholic Office for the Deaf for this annual award that honors individuals who contributed significant dedication, support and assistance to Deaf Catholics.

The understated monsignor, known for his quiet voice and beloved Irish sweaters, already had his moment of fame when the renowned Deaf Choir he leads used sign language to perform before Pope Benedict during his New York visit in 2008.

But folks within the Deaf community, their families, friends and supporters know him better for the day-to-day difference he makes in their lives.

When he began his ministry, people with hearing impairments were stigmatized, he says.  Now they represent every profession, from lawyers to laborers.

“They are respected for their abilities,” he says, “and they have lots of them.”

A New Yorker through and through – his only other home was Yonkers during his stint at St. Joseph’s Seminary – Msgr. McCahill has become adept at translating even the most complex conversations.  He is often called on to translate between those speaking English, those speaking Spanish with obscure native dialects, those using American sign language and even those who grew up in isolated villages and developed their own symbols of communication.

As pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Manhattan where he moderates the archdiocesan Deaf Center located there, Msgr. McCahill celebrates sign language mass twice a month.  He also travels on alternate weeks to provide sign language mass in Staten Island and White Plains.  He conducts prayer services with the Deaf at Rockland Psychiatric Hospital. He supports and hosts Deaf seminarians, taught sign language to seminarians at the Archdiocese of New York’s Dunwoodie Seminary and catechesis at St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf in the Bronx and New York School for the Deaf in White Plains. He has been involved in Marriage Encounter for the Deaf, National Deaf Cursillo and hosted Cursillos for the Deaf throughout greater New York.  He coordinates and facilitates the New York State Pastoral Workers with the Deaf semi-annual gatherings.  And he is currently developing a series of Adult Faith Formation videos that use sign language to minister to the Deaf.

Because he runs so many archdiocesan services for the hearing impaired, he says that his biggest concern, perhaps not surprisingly, is inspiring seminarians to join him.

“You have to concentrate, to learn their language,” he says.  “It requires a fair amount of work and then it gets in your bloodstream.”

Learn more about Msgr. McCahill and his ministry in this latest issue of Catholic New York. 

Check Your Mailbox for Your FitnessGram

Friday, February 21st, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Forget Twitter, Tumblr and the other social networks that have your kids sinking deeper into your couches. Now, thanks to a new partnership between Catholic Charities CYO and the Coca-Cola Foundation we are offering FitnessGrams and other fitness services to promote health – not to mention movement – among our parish youth.

The impact, not to mention the number of youth served, will be revolutionary. More than 24,000 children ages 5 through 17 from 225 parishes throughout the Archdiocese of New York will receive regular “FitnessGrams,”* updates that track their improved health thanks to a program funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation and incorporated by CYO. We already have participation in 100 schools stretching from the southern tip of Staten Island to Liberty, NY, 125 miles away.

CYO has provided meaningful, organized activities that engage our children in competitive sports for over 75 years. Now, thanks to this Coca-Cola grant, we have the means to provide feedback to children and their parents that participation in CYO sports serves as a foundation to lifelong fitness/wellness habits. It adds value to participation in CYO sports by making it clear that CYO is more than just sports. It is fitness.

Our participant pool that ranges from kindergarten to high school seniors already shows a meaningful impact in this first year of the three-year program. It proves that it is never too early to start educating about the importance of fitness or too late to make the change to a healthy lifestyle. The program has reinvigorated physical education teachers’ and school principals’ push in stressing the importance of healthy living.

CYO also plans to offer a lifestyle expert to educate 2,000 head coaches, 225 parish coordinators and seven CYO county directors about the key role nutrition on plays on healthy development.

Finally, FitnessGram assessments – already part of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program — will assess participants’ fitness levels, report the results to students, parents and administrators and educate our community on the importance of everyday activity and life-long health and fitness.

Yes a FitnessGram. Don’t be surprised when you hear from us soon.

*Visit the FitnessGram website to learn more.

Pastor, Senator, County Exec and More Honored by Catholic Charities

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Rev. Michael McLoughlin, pastor of the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, will be honored with a presentation of the 2014 Caritas Awards at the eighth annual Celebration of Charity on Thursday, April 3.

The event, sponsored by Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County, will be held at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor.

This year’s other honorees are state Sen. William J. Larkin Jr. and Joseph and Mary Bonura, owners of the Bonura Hospitality Group of Hudson Valley venues including Anthony’s Pier 9.

McLoughlin is a founding member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities in Orange County and has worked with Catholic Charities for 18 years.

That same evening former County Executive Edward M. Diana will receive a special Lifetime Achievement Award for his service from 2001-2013.

Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County is one of the human service agencies of Catholic Charities of The Archdiocese of New York.The organization’s mission is to serve the homeless, the hungry, the emotionally and physically handicapped, immigrants, the marginalized and vulnerable of Orange County.

Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County collaborates with parishes and non-Catholic and Catholic partners to help people of all faiths who are in need.

Information about tickets to the Celebration of Charity will be available soon.Call 294-5124 or visit www.catholiccharitiesoc.org

Check out the full story in the Warwick Advertiser.

When a Parking Ticket is a Random Act of Kindness

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Sam Pepper in "Parking Ticket Prank"

By Alice Kenny

It’s Random Act of Kindness Week, February 10 – 16, a time to surprise a loved one or a stranger with unexpected favors and, like kindness, pass them on.

For inspiration, check out “Officer Sam’s” hilarious prank posted on Mashable for some outside-the-box ideas to inspire your random acts of kindness.  As you’ll see, finding a parking ticket tucked in a car’s windshield never felt so good.

Looking for longer term acts of kindness?

Click here to view our latest Catholic Charities volunteer opportunities.

Find out what inspires you!

Washington Heights Teens Stage Red Carpet Event with Dominican Flare

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

St. Valentine’s Day took on a Dominican flare for middle school-aged students in Washington Heights last week. Decked out in traditional Dominican costumes, the participants from La Plaza Beacon After-School Program acted out their own version of the 2014 Red Carpet. They also directed, worked as stage hands and videotaped this Oscar-inspired evening.

The night was the second annual event of its kind sponsored by La Plaza Beacon, part of Catholic Charities’ Alianza Division.  During after-school hours, La Plaza Beacon’s school-based community center transforms a local school into a thriving neighborhood center. It provides a safe, supervised place where youth go for recreation, cultural activities, homework help and tutoring.

“Our participants were the center of the event,” La Plaza Beacon Director Leonardo Dominguez said. “We also took advantage of the event to recognize the work done for them in arts and craft, video, sports, technology, music and dance.”

Catholic Charities Honored with Food Bank Borough of Excellence Award!

Monday, February 17th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

 

The NYC Conference on Hunger and Poverty awarded this distinction to Catholic Charities Site Manager Carmen Reyes on January 22 for adapting Toyota’s proven method to turn Catholic Charities Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry into a model of efficiency.

Ms. Reyes credits her success to need, vision and teamwork.  But the key, she adds, was the contribution made by Walter Martin, a recent grad from Lafayette College with a degree in civil engineering.

 

Walter adapted Toyota’s “Kaizen” thought process– Japanese for “continuous improvement” — to analyze “where I am; where I need to be and how do I get from here to there.”

Less than two years ago, Washington Heights’ food pantry was characterized by lines that circled the block.

Now, thanks to Mr. Martin’s simple computer program, folks pick up food bank tickets in the morning and return at appointed hours.  They are warmly greeted by Ms. Reyes.  They receive their food in minutes.  And they receive case management services to help them live more independently.

Numbers quantifying the program’s success are astounding.  This food pantry that used to serve 50 people per hour now serves between 100 – 130 people.  Clients wait minutes, not hours, receiving food donations between 2 – 2.5 times faster.  And instead of just receiving donations, they now also get prescreened for SNAP (food stamps) and receive a range of support spanning from immigration referrals to help filing for tax returns.

As for the Kaizen model of continued self improvement, Carmen says she is not stopping with this success.

Her next plans?

She hopes to recruit volunteers to deliver groceries to the home bound, the elderly and the disabled.