Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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.

All Star Honorees Team Up for CYO

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
CYOgala

Leonard J. Elmore, Francis C. Rooney Jr. and Timothy J. Rooney Sr. (L-R)

By Alice Kenny

A host of all-star honorees including Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway President, Timothy J. Rooney, Sr; ESPN and CBS Broadcaster and  Attorney Leonard J. Elmore, and H.H. Brown Shoe Co., Inc Chairman Francis C. Rooney, Jr helped Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) celebrate its 78th Club of Champions Tribute on June 5, 2014 at  the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. Neither Timothy Rooney, Sr. nor Francis Rooney, Jr. are related except in their commitment to CYO.

Mr. Rooney, Sr., honored with the Gold Medal Award, is also a former director and son of the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Mr. Elmore, honored with the John V. Mara Sportsman of the Year Award, played professional basketball for a host of teams including the New Jersey Nets and New Yorker Knickerbockers before receiving his law degree from Harvard Law School, making him the first –and only – National Basketball Association player to graduate from Harvard Law School after retiring from professional basketball.  And Mr. Rooney, Jr., honored with the Terence Cardinal Cooke Humanitarian Award, opened and acquired a number of specialty retail businesses including Marshall’s, Linens & Things, K.B. Toys and CVS Drug Stores.

Thanks to their and fellow CYO supporters’ generosity, each year this annual event raises money for the CYO. CYO serves tens of thousands of young people through athletic, social, spiritual and cultural activities and services. Funds raised at this annual dinner provide critical resources for our inner-city community centers, and parish-based athletic and cultural programs.

CYO, a division of Catholic Charities, reaches out to more than 28,000 children and youth in the Archdiocese of New York through hundreds of local sports programs, cultural activities, community centers, Youth Ministry Programs and retreat centers. Through this broad array of recreational and spiritual growth and development opportunities, CYO promotes lives of promise, accomplishment and hope for young New Yorkers.

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.

With Kiddie Dashes and Painted Faces CYO Families Celebrate Success

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

By Alice Kenny


Photo Credit:  Kyle Brazeil

Check out this slide show

With kiddie dashes, pee wee relays, shot puts, painted faces and burgers, Catholic Charities CYO concluded a successful track and field season at CYO Family Day on Sunday, June 1, 2014 at Mount Saint Michael Academy in the Bronx.

The sun and game -filled afternoon took on extra meaning by using funds that could have gone towards medals to instead make donations to Westchester and Bronx food pantries on behalf of the Upstate CYO Track Program  in the name of Mount St. Michael Academy for their generous support.

“Let’s show our neighbors we care and teach our children that their involvement in the CYOtrack program is more important than winning medals,” said Director of CYO Operations Seth Peloso.

Catholic Charities Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) division supports and coordinates parish-based youth programs – spiritual, cultural, and athletic – that foster the growth of nearly 24,000 children each year.

Interested in coaching or signing your child up for CYO?

Call us at 212-371-1011 ext. 2050

 

Job-Seeking Women Meet “Brag-ologist”; Learn to “Lean In”

Friday, May 23rd, 2014
Catholic Charities, Grace institute at Ogilvy, Manhattan NY

Peggy Klaus asks Grace Institute students to envision a positive exchange.

At Catholic Charities’ affiliate Grace Institute’s annual “Brag Party,” internationally known speaker, author, and self-proclaimed “Brag-ologist” Peggy Klaus this week taught a mostly female job-seeking audience that the word “Brag” does not have to be the dreaded four-letter word people make it out to be.

Yet Ms. Klaus was asked to put a “warning label” on this workshop, Grace Institute’s biggest event of the year.

Why? Because at various times during the workshops, participants participated in role- play exercises that pushed them to brag and pulled them out of their comfort zones.

But that was exactly the goal for the day.

“It only takes 7 seconds for someone to make a judgment about you,” exclaimed the 5’2” Klaus.  “Don’t expect anyone to advocate for you. If you have a story to tell, tell it with passion. Tell it with excitement.”

During the half-day workshop, more than 100 volunteers worked alongside Grace Institute students to master that all-important (and often elusive) skill – communicating with confidence.

This was a key skill the low-income unemployed women studying at Grace Institute needed to master, said Grace Institute Executive Director Shari Krull.

“Grace Institute teaches the hard skills, the essential skills and skills to nurture the soul,” Ms. Krull said.  “We give women the opportunity they wouldn’t have otherwise- if they can’t do what is needed, they won’t get the job.”

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. 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.

Peggy, whose affect is a far cry from her diminutive stature, guided guests with a fun, high-energy, and motivational presentation. Volunteers and students worked together in pairs and groups to address two of the most difficult “soft skills” for women to master: the impostor syndrome and self-promotion.

Shinnel Simmons, Senior General Manager at Gap Inc., attended as a volunteer along with five Gap employees.

“Although we were here as volunteers to bring our experiences to this workshop, we also gained experience that we can use in our own work environment with our associates,” said Simmons.

The day ended with the entire room in a standing, Jerry Springer-esq ovation, shouting  “Peg-gy. Peg-gy.”

Said Klaus passionately, “’Brag’ is a four letter word. But ‘love’ is also and you have to love yourself enough to brag.”

Would you like to volunteer to help give those struggling a reason to brag?

Click here to find out about our latest opportunities and find what inspires you.

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

Click here to learn more about Grace Institute and its tuition-free job-training programs for New York City women.

Teens Solve Murder Mystery

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

By Alice Kennystudents-science

The Washington Heights teens had a murder to solve.

  •      The Victim: a female college student.
  •      The Suspects:  a classmate, a tutor and a boyfriend.
  •      The Clues:
    •      skin fragments, perhaps the murderers, beneath the victims fingernails
    •      blood on the furniture
    •      foot prints on the carpet.

The investigators, nearly two dozen high school students in all, piled into a bus that brought them from Washington Heights where per-capita income is half the New York average to the forensic lab at Stony Brook, one of the top state universities in New York.

The students participate in the Catholic Charities Alianza Division GPS-GW program at the High School for Media and Communications.  The program provides key support to promote higher education for low-income teens.  The event, hosted by Catholic Charities Alianza Division and sponsored by Stony Brook Center for Science and Math Education and the United Way, was designed to encourage these teens to consider as a career the up-and-coming field of biotechnology.

To solve the murder mystery, students applied the scientific method.  They evaluated evidence, formed a hypothesis, planned and performed experiments and analyzed results.

So who was the murderer?  Not again!

You guessed it… the boyfriend.

Homeless Share Their Stories at Lincoln Center

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Hear riveting first-hand stories from people who experienced homelessness  at Speakers’ Night at Fordham University, Lincoln Center tonight, Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 6:15 p.m.

Find out about their experiences and their hopes.

Join us for a memorable evening as homeless men and women share efforts to rebuild their lives.   The evening is part of Catholic Charities Education Outreach Program that empowers these speakers to move from hopelessness to homes and hope.

Where:  Fordham University, Lincoln Center, Chapel 2nd floor, Room 221, 113 W. 60 St. (Corner of 9th Avenue) NYC.

No need to RSVP.

Produce the Produce

Friday, May 9th, 2014

 

Join us this Saturday, May 10, 2014, at noon for our “Produce the Produce” annual kickoff and 5th annual Blessing of the Soil!

Produce the Produce is our proactive effort at 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.

In 2013, we harvested 6,000 pounds of fresh produce and received more than 7,000 pounds of produce from local farmers and individual growers that we distributed to participants enrolled in our Food Pantry. Special thanks to Stokes Farm, the nearly 150-year-old farm located in Old Tappen, N.J. that donated thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Rockland County Executive Director Ed Day will lead us tomorrow in celebrating the planting of vegetables in our “Garden of Love” that now includes just-completed raised growing beds built by a local Eagle Scout and his Boy Scout Troop 97.  The raised beds will accommodate more produce and make it easier for more people of all abilities to help.

To ensure we have a plentiful bounty, Catholic Charities Executive Director will lead our special annual Blessing of the Soil.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, only 25 percent of adults, and even fewer children, eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. For those most in-need in Rockland County that number is estimated at less than 10 percent.

“Produce the Produce” serves as  catalyst to engage other community and parish gardens, local farmers markets and  citizen to grow and donate fresh food for those in need.

Join us tomorrow at Produce the Produce.

Meet us at Catholic Community Services of Rockland (CCSR) “Garden of Love,” 78 Hudson Avenue, Haverstraw, NY 10927

For more information call 845-942-5791.