Archive for April, 2014

Struggling Teens Explore Careers in Engineering

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Teens from Washington Heights, where per–capita income is half the New York average, balanced on scaffolding, learned the rudiments of how to build a high rise that won’t fall down and took their first steps towards becoming engineers at Liberty Science Center last Saturday, April 19, 2014.

The event, hosted by Catholic Charities Alianza Division and sponsored by the Society of Hispanic Professionals in Engineering, was designed to motivate minority students to explore the possibility of pursuing careers in engineering. Students from the High School for Media and Communications GPS program – short for Graduate, Prepare and Succeed – that participate in Catholic Charities’ Alianza Dominicana were bused from Washington Heights to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. There they met with engineering professionals who answered questions and peeked students’ curiosity as they explored the 300,000 square foot learning center.

Next up for these students is Engineering Day on Saturday, May 10. Also held also at the Liberty Science Center, teens will team up to build their own machines. These engineering immersion experiences fit the mission of Catholic Charities Alianza Dominicana, to assist children, youth and families break the cycle of poverty and fulfill their potential as members of the global economy.

Theology on Tap Goes Latin

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

TOT LogoBy Alice Kenny

Join fellow young adults for fun, camaraderie and a rousing discussion with a Latin flavor when we team up today, Tuesday, April 29, 2014, with Centro Altagracia de Fe y Justicia at Heights Tavern in happening Washington Heights.

Theology-on-Tap NYC is an opportunity for young adults to explore issues and topics that relate to the Catholic faith in a fun and casual environment.

Tonight we’re teaming with Centro Altagracia and Catholic Charities’ “Feeding our Neighbors” campaign.

  • Feed your social life by joining us.
  • Feed your thirst with…well, you know…
  • And feed our neighbors by bringing canned goods to donate.

Get a 5% discount on your bar check by donating 10 lbs. of food or more!

Wonder what to bring?

Check out our list here and learn more.

That’s tonight, April 29, 2014, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Heights Tavern, 3910 Broadway, NYC.

RSVP at Centro Altagracia de Fe y Justicia

The Centro Altagracia de Fe y Justicia is dedicated to putting faith into action, promoting social justice, through dynamic collaborations and needs-based initiatives, in service to the communities of Washington Heights and Inwood.

 

Making a Living Should Not Include Dying

Monday, April 28th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Workers' Option 2

Image from TUC

Workers’ Memorial Day, observed every year since the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) was established on April 28 1971, is a day to honor those workers who have died on the job, acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers.

To promote worker safety, Catholic Charities is offering a 10-hour OSHA Outreach Training Program for entry- level  - this Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and May 4.  Taught in English and Spanish, the course helps workers become knowledgeable about workplace hazards and contribute to our nation’s productivity.

The program provides training on the recognition, avoidance, abatement and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces. It also provides information regarding workers’ rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint.

Join us:

  • This Saturday, May 3 from 4 – 9:30 p.m. in the San Pedro Church basement, 91 Ludlow St, Yonkers, NY
  • And  this Sunday, May 4, from 12 – 5:30 p.m. in San Pedro School, 204 Hawthorne Ave., Yonkers, NY

Space is limited so reserve your seat now.

*This course is part of Catholic Charities’ ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos of Yonkers.  Catholic Charities educates this group of day laborers about employment rights and responsibilities.  It provides assistance to prevent exploitation and workplace abuses including help with collecting unpaid wages. It assists with integrating workers into society.  It provides local resources including access to healthcare, emergency food and identification cards.  And it offers a meeting space along with English as a Second Language and computer classes to help immigrants with their goal of acclimating and contributing to their new homeland.

For more information call Janet Hernandez 917.579.9048 or Wilson Terrero 914-963-1730 x 227

Catholic Charities Celebrates as Canonized Popes Spread Peace

Monday, April 28th, 2014

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By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities celebrates the uniting yesterday, April 27, 2014, of three of the best-loved leaders in the history of the Roman Catholic Church when Pope Francis canonized his predecessors, Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, in a special ceremony in St. Peter’s Square.

The two popes, now recognized as saints, both rose from very humble beginnings to lead the Roman Catholic Church, reports CNN.

John XXIII (1881-1963) — known as Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli before he became Pope — was one of 13 children born into a family of Italian peasants, farmers from a tiny village in the country’s north, before being sent away to study for the priesthood at the age of 11.

John Paul II (1920-2005), born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, was brought up in a grimy industrial town in Poland first controlled by Germany and later by the U.S.S.R. His soldier father raised him after his mother died when he was just eight.

Huge crowds – nearly one million people – witnessed the unprecedented ceremony at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Millions more around the world watched as two former pontiffs were for the first time installed as saints in a dual canonization.

In another first on this historic day, two living popes were present for the ceremony. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who resigned from the papacy a year ago citing health reasons, was not at the altar but was greeted warmly by Francis both before and after the event.

Pope John Paul II, now beatified, advised us to “not be afraid to take a chance on peace, to teach peace, to live peace.”

Just as these men showed peace to others, we invite you to join us and take a chance on peace.
Join us and learn more.

Watch the canonization on CNN.

Famed Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem Alumni Ensemble Performs Live

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Check out this famed choir on Good Morning America

Join us this Sunday, April 27, for an unbelievable concert with the legendary Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem Alumni Ensemble.

See them live at Catholic Charities Community Services Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Community Center.

60th Anniversary Spring Concert

Sunday April 27, 2014 3:00 – 5:00 PM

34 West 134th Street, Harlem, NY 10037

VIP Tickets: $45.00 includes Luncheon from 1:00-2:30 PM & Concert VIP Seating.

General Concert Admission: $25.00

Call us at (212) 862-6401 for tickets & information.

Funds will benefit upgrades to this historic Harlem community center that has served the neighborhood for generations.

Pushing for Worker Safety

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Today, April 24, 2014, marks the tragic one-year anniversary of the worst disaster in garment industry history, the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed 1,129 workers.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan has taken an active role keeping this issue in the forefront.  He joined a delegation this past December that included New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, whose state pension investments include companies that contract with garment factories and Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union to Bangladesh to observe garment industry conditions and meet with survivors and the families of victims.  Msgr. Sullivan published his concerns on blog posts and more recently in a New York Times editorial co-authored with Mr. Appelbaum.

“All of us must help minimize the human casualties of our global economy and ensure that the dignity of working people doesn’t end up on the clearance rack,” they wrote.

In this recent episode of JustLove, Catholic Charities’ weekly radio show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, The Catholic Channel 129, Msgr. Sullivan spoke again with Comptroller DiNapoli.

“It was a very moving experience,” DiNapoli said about their trip to Bangladesh, “with you, from the spiritual dimension and me from the investor side with our perspective… about social justice and worker rights.”

While western retailers and apparel brands are now pushing to improve safety at the Bangladesh factories they do business with, results, twelve months later, have fallen short.

Inspectors, The New York Times reports, have found problems in every factory they checked including, “buildings so overloaded that their columns had cracked, flammable fabric storage areas adjoining work spaces and fire stairways leading to the factory floor rather than outside the building.”

Second only to China, Bangladesh’s ready-made garment industry employs between three and four million workers.  Its history of corruption and slipshod work leaves open the potential for still greater loss of life.

“These heart-wrenching tragedies are not a sustainable business model,” Mr. DiNapoli said.  “They cannot keep this industry going if people are going to be maimed, injured or killed.”

Learn more on JustLove.

Read the full story in The New York Times

 

Riding the River for Peace and Justice

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

By Alice Kenny

bxrivercanoeIt’ a sunny day in the South Bronx and David Shuffler climbs into a canoe. Hemmed in by four major highways – the Bruckner, the Cross Bronx, the Bronx River and the Sheridan expressways—his Bronx River neighborhood’s one-square mile houses the nations’ highest respiratory-illness rate, places one out of every two youth below the poverty line and is infamous as the spot where police shot dead unarmed Amadou Diallo.

But it also has a rare treasure that, until recently, was mostly abused; the Bronx River.

Mr. Shuffler, today the executive director of Catholic Charities affiliate Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice (YMPJ), was once one of the kids coming up on the streets here.  YMPJ started when drug dealers owned the neighborhood, burning down a church to retaliate for a prayer vigil held to close local crack dens’ doors.

Now, thanks in large part to YMPJ’s mobilization, residents are taking their neighborhood back. They got the Army Corps of Engineers to clean up three tons of debris–  including 15,000 tires, cars and filth –abandoned along the waterfront.  They took back a crumbling cement plant and converted into a public park. They replaced menacing streets with an arts and education outlets for teens.  And they are fighting back poverty by providing wrap-around support services for parents.

But nothing, Mr. Shuffler says, better symbolizes what YMPJ is accomplishing – or makes him feel better – than YPNJ’s canoe program.

As part of it, neighborhood teens are taught the camera’s intricacies of shutter speeds and angles. They learn how to monitor air and water quality.  And with their newfound expertise, teens that never before touched the river then tumble into YMPJ’s 10 canoes.  They snap photos and sample water purity as they paddle by the Botanical Gardens, the Bronx Zoo, all the way up to the splendor and stonework of the Kensico Dam.

“As you go up river it’s a crazy experience to see how access to the river changes,” Mr. Shuffler says.  “In Kensico people just walk up and touch the river.  Our teens say ‘why isn’t that the case in our community,” why is it lined with fences and gates and bobbing with plastic bags and pollution?

“Our creative arts-based curriculum opens young people’s eyes to the issues of environmental justice, police reform and opportunities they have to make a real difference,” he adds.

David gets this deep down. He was 13, going on 14, when his parents pushed him into becoming one of the then-new agency’s early participants.  Begun in St. Joan of Arc Church basement in 1994, YMPJ gave him a safe place to hang out while fostering his skills in soccer, journalism, arts and culture.  He worked his way up from participant to youth organizer.

Now, nearly 20 years later, he serves as its executive director.

“There’s an army of other soldiers coming up now,” he says as his paddle gently splashes the water, “children who will ideally move on into the banking world, political scene and nonprofits where they will share the principles and values they learned with us of community and peace and social justice.”

Learn more about Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice.

Missed Out on the Boston Marathon? Run with Us in the Big Leagues; Team Catholic Charities in the TCS NYC Marathon!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Inspired by yesterday’s great news about Meb Keflezighi becoming the first American to win the Boston Marathon since 1983?

Wish that winner had been you?

You’re just in time to join the Big Team in the Big City.

That’s us, Team Catholic Charities NY in the upcoming TCS New York City Marathon.

Catholic Charities is one of the official charity participants for the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon.

And as you likely already know, there are only a few ways to get into this exclusive event.

Elite runners qualify based on running time.  Lucky ones – just 6 percent – get selected through a lottery. Members of New York Road Runners (NYRR) qualify by running 9 races and volunteering for one.

And remarkable people like you qualify by running for charity.

During the next 6 months, ten runners on Team Catholic Charities New York will dedicate themselves to two challenges: training to run 26.2 miles through every borough of New York City, and fundraising for The St. Nicholas Project, our Catholic Charities initiative that provides nearly 4,000 New Yorkers in need with warm clothing, blankets and more during the cold winter months.

Apply to join the TCS New York City Marathon and join Team Catholic Charities NY to get the experience of a lifetime.

If selected for Team Catholic Charities NY, here’s what you’ll get:

  • Guaranteed entry into the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon
  • An official Team Catholic Charities New York runner’s singlet
  • Personal fundraising website on Crowdrise
  • Fundraising tips
  • Access to NYRR Marathon Training Program
  • Team gathering at a NYC restaurant
  • Being part of a mission that helps children and families in need
  • Two million fans cheering you on

Visit this blog regularly for updates on our team, information about how you can get involved as a Team Catholic Charities NY volunteer, and how you can run in one of New York City’s most exciting athletic events.

Know someone who’s eager to run the TCS NYC Marathon?
Share this
post with them and tell them about this special opportunity.

Find us online:

Team Catholic Charities NY:

www.catholiccharitiesny.org/TeamCathCharitiesNY

 Crowdrise:

http://bit.ly/QfVBsp

As Sandy Recovery Stalls, Wall Street Journal Interviews Msgr. Sullivan for Solutions

Monday, April 21st, 2014

By Alice Kenny

_DSC1063In the Wall Street Journal’s recent series uncovering shortcomings in New York City’s Sandy recovery programs, Reporter Michael Howard Saul turned to Msgr. Kevin Sullivan for insight. Frustrated Hurricane Sandy storm victims and elected officials, Mr. Saul reports, say City Hall has been heavy on promises and short on results.

“Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, which is helping storm victims, said homeowners’ recovery efforts ‘have been made even more challenging by layers of red tape brought on by the multiple layers of government agencies involved in the process.’”

To counter this morass, Mayor Bill de Blasio told the Wall Street Journal that his recently appointed administration has been working “day and night to hack through the red tape.”

Meanwhile, Catholic Charities continues to help Sandy victims recover.  From the time Hurricane Sandy pounded New York, Catholic Charities has been providing disaster relief to those who need it. From disaster response professionals visiting parishes to deliver information and resources, to volunteers collecting and distributing food and supplies, to neighbors checking in on neighbors, the entire Catholic Charities community has responded to meet the human needs of the victims, providing help and creating hope for rebuilding lives.

The New York State Disaster Case Management Program run by Catholic Charities has provided information, referral and disaster case management to nearly 22,000 households.

“Families and homeowners who are rebuilding from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy are still facing a complex and long-term recovery,” Msgr. Sullivan said.  “Our long-term case management for these families is critical to navigating some of the unintended consequences that arise such as potentially higher tax bills on their property that they did not anticipate.”

Are you struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy?

Create Hope This Easter

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Easter shows us that pain and suffering is not the final word. There is triumph. There is hope.

We’re here to bring new life to New Yorkers in need that conquers pain, sadness and suffering.

Join us.

Provide help. Create hope.

Transform lives.