Archive for the ‘Agencies’ Category

Pregnant and Sleeping in Parks

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

mocha-goodcounselBy Alice Kenny

Worn out, desperate and five months pregnant, Mocha slept in parks, shelters, subways – any place she could find — before she found her way to Good Counsel Homes, an affiliate of Catholic Charities.

“I felt like I was the lowest of the lows,” she says, her brown eyes batting back tears.

Her experience is typical of women served by Good Counsel Homes, says its co-founder and Executive Director Christopher Bell as he steers a 2008 blue KIA minivan, dropping off donations of diapers, baby food and changing tables at Good Counsel Homes in Spring Valley, Harrison, Hoboken and the South Bronx.

“Women who come to us are all in crisis,” he says. “Their boyfriends told them to have an abortion.  Their moms threw them out when their babies were born.  Fewer than half have high school degrees.  Our job is to help them rebuild their lives.”

Counting Mocha, Good Counsel Homes has rebuilt nearly 6,000 lives since it began in 1984.  Similar to most, Mocha stayed there for nearly a year and a half.  She gave birth to her baby, worked two jobs, studied to become an electrocardiogram technician and learned how to be a mom.

“As soon as I stepped through the door I felt I had a home where I could get back on my feet,” she says.

Begun in a converted convent with a lot of help and little money, Good Counsel Homes now networks with maternity homes throughout the nation.

But, Mr. Bell says, it is caring for a single lonely mom and a single helpless baby that matters  most.  For Mocha, Good Counsel Homes gave her and the little boy she bore a chance for rebirth.

Today she and her now three-year-old son have a home of their own.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them,” Mocha says.

Meet Mocha in this video.

Do you know someone facing a crisis pregnancy?

“Anyone from anywhere for any reason at any age can call our crisis help line,” Mr. Bells says.

Call 1- 800-723 8331.  Call now.

Can You Tell a Story?

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

03_Guild for the BlindCan you tell an exciting “story” just by using words?

Xavier Society for the Blind provides books and periodicals on audio CDs for those who cannot read Braille or who prefer to listen to materials.

Work on your own schedule, out of your own home, any time in the day or night.

As a volunteer, you read books aloud using their home computers or personal digital recording devices with a headset microphone.

Materials and a style sheet will be sent to you. Programs and equipment (headset and microphone) can be supplied if needed.  Our IT Director will work with you to make sure the programs are properly installed.

Skill Needed:  Strong command of the English language.

Find out more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disabled Children Find Help

Friday, June 27th, 2014

0019_KennedyChildStC_09.04.08_BuckmanBy Alice Kenny

Today marks the second in our Summer Agency Series.  It spotlights some of the 90 agencies in our Catholic Charities federation that, day in and day out, provide help and create hope for New Yorkers in need.

Today, let’s take a look at the Kennedy Child Study Center.

In 1958 when children with developmental disabilities were often warehoused into institutions, the Archdiocese of New York established the Kennedy Child Study Center to instead provide them with learning opportunities.

One of the first programs in the nation of its kind, the Kennedy Child Study Center was initially funded by a grant from Rose F. and Joseph P. Kennedy in memory of their son, Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.

Sponsored by the Catholic Charities Alliance with locations in Manhattan and the Bronx, the Kennedy Child Study Center provides educational and therapeutic services for children with developmental disabilities and delays along with counseling and support services for their families.

Help a child with a developmental delay thrive and achieve.

Contact the Kennedy Child Study Center.

Giving Ex-Offenders a Second Chance

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

By Alice KennyATI & Families Shared Meal Time

The Catholic Charities federation of 90 agencies provides a wide range of human services throughout the Archdiocese of New York. Some are sponsored by religious communities, while others have grown from parish communities. Still others were founded by charismatic clergy, religious, or lay leaders. Together they form the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York: a federation of administered, sponsored and affiliated agencies touching almost every human need.

This summer offers a great time to spotlight their impressive histories and the unique, unparalleled services they offer.  Today, let’s learn about Abraham House.

This Catholic Charities sponsored agency traces its origins to two Roman Catholic clergy, Sr. Simone Ponnet, a Belgian nun of the Little Sisters of the Gospel order and Fr. Peter Raphael, a French priest who volunteered as a chaplain and celebrated mass with inmates at Rikers Island maximum-security prison.

Alarmed by the continuing cycle of repeat offenders, they founded Abraham House in 1993. Located in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South Bronx, Abraham House offers the incarcerated, ex-offenders and their relatives, regardless of their religion, a place of hope and community where lives can be rebuilt, families mended, lessons learned, and men, women and children deeply marked by crime can receive the spiritual, social and practical tools to become productive citizens.

Their innovative programs include an alternative-to-incarceration program for first-time offenders, especially those convicted of nonviolent crimes. Sponsored by the Catholic Charities Alliance, Abraham House offers extensive services to hundreds of adults and children affected by incarceration or other social factors like poverty, violence and truancy.

Find out more.

Struggling Students Score Scholarships that May Change Their Lives

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Senior Awards Dinner 6-12-14By Alice Kenny

Three students from Washington Heights where the per-capita income is half that of the rest of New York City received a surprise at their Senior Awards Dinner last Thursday, June 12, that may well change their lives.

The students, former participants in Catholic Charities Alianza division GPS program, short for Graduate, Prepare, Succeed, were each handed $20,000 Presidential Scholarships to attend City College in the fall ’14. As the scholarships show, the GPS program designed to provide key support to promote higher education for low income teens clearly succeeded.

Guillermo Rivera, admissions counselor at City College, gave the awards to High School for Media and Communications Seniors Katherine Burgos, Nestor Ramos, and Jordi Caceres, praising them for their resiliency and perseverance.

“The night was filled with pride, joy, and a lot of excitement,” said Catholic Charities Alianza GPS Program Director Pierina De La Cruz. “And the night could not have ended on a better note!”

Blessing the Soil: A Gardener’s Dream

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

By Alice Kenny
blessingofthesoilscreeenshot

Catholic Community Services of Rockland Soil Blessing from StudioElevenProductions on Vimeo.

We’ve heard a lot about “Produce the Produce,” the proactive effort by Catholic Community Services of Rockland (CCSR), an affiliate of Catholic Charities, to get more freshly grown fruits and vegetables on the tables of people in need.

And we’ve heard about their annual Blessing of the Soil in their “Garden of Love,” held this year on May 10, 2014.

But hearing and seeing are two different things.

Check out this just-released video of the event.

“Give us this day our daily bread,” prays Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan as he blesses the soil.  “The tragedy is that for so many of our neighbors they are not sure they will have their daily bread this day.  Thanks to the partnership, the work, the generosity, the time and the talent we make sure that many of our neighbors will have their daily bread today.”

Join us in praying and working to feed our neighbors in need.

Find out how you can help.

 

Blind Immigrants Tour Metropolitan Museum of Art

Friday, June 13th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

On June 6th one hundred and sixty volunteers from the national consulting firm Deloitte ventured away from their offices and gathered at more than a dozen separate site locations affiliated with Catholic Charities and its social service programs.

The combined effort of so many volunteers at so many different locations in a single day made a visible impact on those we serve. During the following weeks we will offer a glimpse at their adventures and at the large amount that together we can accomplish.

Blind, poor, many fleeing oppression from another nation and most barely able to speak English, 12 adults huddled around the red granite sarcophagus of Usermontu, the First Prophet of Muntu, and gasped.

“Oh, I love this,” said Lordina Osei–Ofori as a Metropolitan Museum of Art museum guide encouraged her to feel inside the 4,000-year-old coffin and search for inscriptions.

Most of the tour participants had never before been inside a museum. Yet here they were in the largest museum in the nation, the 10th largest in the world, thanks to Catholic Charities Guild for the Blind and navigational support from six Deloitte volunteers.

Watch our slideshow as together participants master city streets, subways and art.

 

Catholic Charities’ Martin Colavito Recognized for Outstanding Work Fighting Addiction

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Martin Colavito, director of prevention services for Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County, was recently recognized by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) as an OASAS O-STAR. This recognition goes to exceptional individuals who work or volunteer in the field of addictions, consistently perform at an outstanding level and make a difference in the lives of their fellow New Yorkers.

Colavito, who has been part of the Catholic Charities’ team for eight years, has worked in the substance abuse field for nearly 35 years.  He focuses predominantly on community organization, with an emphasis on substance abuse treatment and prevention – especially in inner-city neighborhoods. For the past five years Martin has concentrated his efforts on the City of Newburgh.

“We are so grateful to OASAS for recognizing the dedication and commitment of our friend and colleague,” said Dr. Dean Scher, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County.

Martin works at Catholic Charities’ Gateway Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Services on the grounds of Newburgh Free Academy. He also serves a key leadership role in the community outreach initiative TEAM Newburgh, a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach that addresses the issues of drug abuse and gang violence a project for which Catholic Charities serves as the lead funding agency. Using his experience as a community organizer, Colavito and his team have developed a highly effective partnership of more than 70 human service agencies, businesses, school personnel, community members, and elected officials to combat substance abuse.

Martin, along with TEAM Newburgh, has been successful in getting legislation on the table to remove drug paraphernalia from visible exposure in neighborhood stores and bodegas. He has been approached by human service agencies from around the nation that are interested in establishing programs similar to TEAM Newburgh.

“Martin has been a guiding light for the City of Newburgh and its residents,” Dr. Scher added.

With Palettes & Paint Volunteers Transform Traumatized Lives

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

MDB_0974By Alice Kenny

Seventeen employees from Deloitte, a national business consulting firm, traded in their desk jobs on June 6, 2014 to transform a drab waiting room wall at Catholic Guardian Services’ Parenting Resource Center in the Bronx into a fantasy playground filled with smiling children swinging from trees.

“The murals are a way for people to see that we care about them,” says Catholic Guardian Services Executive Director Craig Longley as he steps back to admire the new mural, “that we’re there  to promote healthy family relations and help them heal.”

Today one of the largest providers of foster care services in New York State, Catholic Guardian Services stretches back to the turn of the nineteenth century when members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society established it as the first agency in the United States to place orphans in homes rather than institutions.  It now includes four New York City satellite offices with rooms for family visits, foster family training and therapeutic services.

“Everyone who comes here is traumatized, whether they are children, parents or caregivers,” Mr. Longley says.  “To be separated from your family for even a day is traumatizing.”

That is why, he adds, that when he learned that as a Catholic Charities sponsored agency he could have volunteers at his disposal, he jumped at the plan to paint this mural.

This is not the first time Catholic Guardian Services teamed with volunteers provided by Catholic Charities to transform a room into a fantasy and hopefully, Mr. Longley says, will not be the last.  In January, volunteers from FINO Consulting spent the day painting jungle scenes on interior walls at the agency’s office on Westchester Avenue in the Bronx.

Despite their artsy appearance decked with pallets and paint, most of the volunteers readily admit to felling more comfortable in suits than painters’ aprons.  Similar to the waiting room, the volunteers’ work-a-day lives are transformed thanks to prep work by true artist volunteers whose mural design is projected on to the agency’s freshly painted sky-blue wall.

The volunteers just follow a basic paint-by-numbers design and -voila! – the walls are made over into a Disney-like dream.

For the corporate volunteers, the day offers a chance to stretch their talents and help those in need.

And for those served by Catholic Guardian Services, the donated art serves as an uplifting reminder that people, many of whom they never meet, care enough to brighten their lives.

“This is a place of healing for traumatized people,” Mr. Longley says, “and this joyful art fosters that process.”

Artistic or not, you can make a difference.

Check out our comprehensive list of volunteer opportunities.

Come join us. Sign up now.

Catholic Charities Marches with Puerto Rican Day Parade

Monday, June 9th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Cheered by NYC Hispanic Society Sanitation Department members seated atop a sanitation truck, serenaded by DJs blasting salsa music and wedged between Goya and Coca-Cola floats, Catholic Charities joined the National Puerto Rican Day Parade on June 8, 2014 to celebrate Puerto Rican pride, drum up support to feed our hungry neighbors and promote the vast array of services we provide those in need.

As hundreds of thousands of marchers and onlookers packed Manhattan’s 5th Avenue, Catholic Charities staff distributed prayer cards, fans and memorabilia complete with Catholic Charities phone numbers to draw attention to the growing hunger crisis and let New Yorkers know how to contact us for help.

Like the Puerto Rican community, Catholic Charities is part of the fabric of New York City.  For more than 100 years, Catholic Charities has helped solve the problems of New Yorkers in need, non-Catholics and Catholics alike.  The neglected child, the homeless family and the hungry senior among those who rely on us for help.

But with poverty up and food stamps (now called S.N.A.P.) down due to recent federal cuts, lines are growing at Catholic Charities food pantries across the archdiocese.   Hunger has exploded throughout New York; one out of nearly every two children in the largely Hispanic community of East Harlem lives in poverty.

Our Feeding Our Neighbors Campaign is fighting back with a goal of raising enough funds to provide one million meals for the hungry.  The Goya Corporation made a significant dent in this goal, splitting a donation of 5,000 pounds of rice, beans and specialty foods between Catholic Charities St. Cecilia’s food pantry in East Harlem and a food pantry run by Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service, an affiliate of Catholic Charities.

Find your friends in our Puerto Rican Day Parade slide show.

Join us in feeding our neighbors.

Do you need help?

Call

  • Our Catholic Charities Help Line at 888-744-7900
  • Our New York State (NYS) New Americans Hotline: 212-419-3737 or 1-800-566-7636 (Toll-free in NYS)

Find out more here.