Archive for the ‘New York City’ Category

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!”

Surge in Child Migrants Reaches New York, Overwhelming Advocates

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

By Kirk Semple
The New York Times

“For more than a month, 16-year-old Cristian threaded his way from his home in rural Guatemala to the United States, hoping to reunite with his father, whom he had not seen in nearly four years. Guided by smugglers, he rode in cars, buses and trains, walked countless miles, dodged the authorities in three countries, hid out in dreary safe houses and went days at a time without food.

But Cristian’s trip came to an abrupt halt in March, when he was corralled on a patch of Texas ranchland by American law enforcements agents,” writes Kirk Semple today, June 18, 2014, in The New York Times.

Read more of The New York Times story below.  Learn the key role Catholic Charities holds helping young immigrants in need.

Now the daunting trials of his migration have been replaced by a new set of difficulties. Though he was released to his father, a kitchen worker in a restaurant in Ulster County, N.Y., Cristian has been ordered to appear in immigration court for a deportation hearing and is trying to find a low-cost lawyer to take his case while he also struggles to learn English, fit into a new high school and reacquaint himself with his father.

…Beyond legal help, the immigrants have other urgent needs that are not necessarily being met, including health care, psychological counseling and educational support, advocates said.

Mario Russell, director of the Immigrant and Refugee Services Division for Catholic Charities Community Services in New York, said a lot of the children had suffered trauma, either in their home countries or en route to the United States.

‘Over time, how do these kids receive the care that they need?’ Mr. Russell asked. ‘How many will be lost into their communities? How many are going to be sent to work? How many will not go to school? How many are going to be sick?’

Service providers have begun discussing among themselves how to deal with the surge at this end of the pipeline, and wondering where they might get much-needed funding to provide additional help for the growing population of distressed immigrant children.

As he considered the challenge, Mr. Russell remembered a case he had several years ago. He had been working with a girl, an unauthorized immigrant, to legalize her status. Her deportation was dismissed and she was finally approved to receive a green card. But before she received it, she dropped off Mr. Russell’s radar.

‘She just disappeared,’ he recalled. ‘She could’ve been trafficked, working in an apple orchard. I have no idea.’

Mr. Russell was never able to locate her.

‘Her card is still in my desk,’ he said.

Read the full story in The New York Times.

Do you or someone you know need immigration help?

Call the Catholic Charities–managed New York State New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636.

Click here for more information.

Homeland Security Announces Big Opportunity for Undocumented Immigrant Youth

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Deferred Action Intake Session-48_editThe Secretary of Homeland Security recently announced that undocumented immigrant youth who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status (DACA) can renew that status for another  two years.

For the past two years, immigrant youth who met specific criteria* including coming to the United States before age 16 and residing continuously in the US since June 15, 2007 have been eligible for DACA status. This allowed them to receive work permits for two years, as well as driver licenses and social security numbers. In some states, they would also be eligible for in-state tuition.

The big news is that those who have already been granted DACA can now apply to extend their DACA status and work permits for an additional two years. Those who qualify but have never applied for DACA before, can continue to apply on a rolling basis. There is no deadline for initial applications.

Sounds complicated?  Call the Catholic Charities–managed New York State New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 for more information and referral to an agency that can help.

Here at Catholic Charities we are prepared to help with the renewal process as well as with enrolling first-time applicants.

 

Contact us to:

  • Avoid scams.
  • Understand eligibility.
  • Obtain correct information about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

*Click here to learn more about DACA eligibility.

“It is crucial to get the correct information about DACA and the renewal or initial application process and, for those who need legal assistance, to obtain referrals to reliable not-for-profit programs that provide free services,” said Raluca Oncioiu, director of Immigration Legal Services for Catholic Charities Community Services.

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.

Immigrant Public Defender System Pays for Itself

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Celine and Refugee Family 002“Every year, tens of thousands of people appear in immigration court to fight deportation orders without a lawyer to assist them,” writes Reporter Kirk Semple in a recent article published in The New York Times. “Many are poor and adrift, unable to speak English or understand the laws determining their fate.”

Yet according to a study just released by the New York Bar Association that Mr. Semple describes, a system that provided legal counsel for every poor immigrant facing deportation would pay for itself through decreased government expenditures and other savings.

“It makes the argument for the first time that appointed counsel is cost-effective, as well as being fair and just,” said Mark Noferi, a fellow at the Center for Migration Studies, who advised National Economic Research Associates (NERA) on the report.

Catholic Charities knows firsthand the value of providing free or affordable legal counsel. For over thirty years, Catholic Charities has stood with New York’s immigrants—low-income and indigent, non-Catholics and Catholics alike—who face deportation in the courts, in local detention facilities, and, most recently, in custodial shelters for unaccompanied children where we serve almost 2,000 children each year.

We understand that deportation can be a far worse punishment than most criminal penalties, one that might mean the loss of family, home and security. Every week, in shelter facilities for unaccompanied youth across the New York area, our team of lawyers and paralegals encounter many of the thousands of children in the United States who have fled alone, from abuse and violence in their homelands and who seek the comfort of a parent or loved one here.

Every month at our offices downtown, we meet and defend newcomers and long-time residents against unjust deportation proceedings. Some had all their money taken by unscrupulous or unlawful practitioners.  Some have been tangled for years in a legal system that is among the most complex and under-resourced in the nation. Some are profoundly disoriented from just arriving to the United States after fleeing persecution or violence. Almost all are exhausted and without hope.

The legal consultation, representation, and assistance Catholic Charities provides  each day is what immigrants need to rebuild their lives. It is what creates hope and a just and compassionate society.

Services are provided in English, Spanish, French, Romanian, Polish, Albanian, Japanese, and Arabic.

All matters are treated professionally and confidentially.

If you have a question about an immigration matter, please call us at the New Americans Hotline at 800-566-7636.

For help finding other services, please call our Catholic Charities Help line at 888-744-7900.

Read the full cost-analysis study.

Read the full story in The New York Times.

 

New Mom Tweets Big News

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

PCC ImagesmallBy Alice Kenny

In just 140 characters, Maria used the hashtag “Mom” to announce this week the huge news that she celebrated her parenting class graduation from Catholic Charities affiliate, Good Counsel Homes,  just in time for the arrival of her baby.

#mom Maria celebrated her @CathCharitiesNY #parenting class graduation just in time for the arrival of her #baby! pic.twitter.com/gfjRwPJkEK

Good Counsel is more than a shelter for homeless, pregnant women.  It is a supportive and loving home where the needs of the women served are met immediately and for the long term.  Programs each mom has access to are provided with the ultimate goal of leaving Good Counsel, affording each mom with the life skills training she needs to never be homeless again.  Programs include budgeting and vocational assistance, nutrition, guidance and, most important for Maria, parenting classes.

Congratulations, Maria, for graduating from Good Counsel’s Parenting Class.

All our best for you and your new baby!

While this is a happy ending, most come to Good Counsel with very tough starts.

Check out live testimonies from women helped by Good Counsel in this new video.

Every day women are abused, neglected, and lacking in maternity care and support. But there is hope: Good Counsel’s door is always open for any pregnant woman in crisis. Since 1985 it has been a home to more than 6,000 mothers and children.

Learn more about Good Counsel Homes.

Telemundo Reports Puerto Rican Parade Plans to Team with Catholic Charities to Feed the Hungry

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade to be held on June 8 under the themes of art, culture and education will also provide a chance to collect food to benefit members of this community who have no food in their homes, reports Telemundo Atlantico.

The Office of Puerto Rican Affairs along with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York called for two days of community service by holding food drives through the Archdiocesan-wide Feeding Our Neighbors Campaign.

Non-perishable food donations can be made at two of the events leading up to the parade; on May 31 at the 152 Street Festival, home to the largest Puerto Rican community in New York, and on June 1 at the annual Parade Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The goal is to raise enough funds to provide one million meals for the hungry.

Food collected will be donated under the direction of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade to food banks working with Catholic Charities.

The organization asked the public to hold food drives in churches, workplaces and schools. In addition, the GOYA Corporation plans to donate 5000 pounds of food.

Want to find out more about the upcoming National Puerto Rican Day Parade?

Read the full story in Spanish in Telemundo.

Learn more about Feeding Our Neighbors, an Archdiocesan-wide drive to replenish food pantries supporting non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

Msgr. Sullivan Supports Mayor de Blasio’s Just-Announced Plan to Fight Homelessness

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

FLOWERS10169Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration detailed plans on May 19, 2014  to expand and create what is described as the largest and most proven homelessness prevention program in the nation.  The plan, announced by Commissioner Gilbert Taylor at the budget hearing before the New York City Council, focuses on reducing homelessness, transitioning homeless families from shelter into permanent housing, and improving shelter conditions.

Catholic Charities, long a leader in preventing homelessness and serving the homeless, supports this plan.

“With today’s announcement, the Mayor has taken an important and necessary step in addressing this crisis,” said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director, The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.  “This multi-faceted plan includes programmatic and funding commitments to protect families from losing their homes, while creating housing opportunities for those who currently have little recourse but to spend their nights in shelters.  It contains concrete solutions to help vulnerable populations.”

Specifically, the plan:

 •    Proposes creation of two rent subsidy plans that will assist working families who have been in shelter for more than a year and vulnerable populations

 •    Utilizes targeted supportive housing for high needs populations

 •    Reaffirms the administration’s commitment to assess, improve, and reimagine shelter models to better serves families and individuals before they seek shelter, address their needs while in shelter, and strategically plans for families exiting shelter

•    Invests in better outcomes for homeless households as they achieve independence, creates and develops higher quality shelters with better targeted programming throughout the system, and it reduces reliance on shelter models that do not encourage supportive environments.

 “The blight of homelessness causes suffering to far too many New Yorkers,” Msgr. Sullivan added.  “It is unacceptable.”

Church Ready to Help Solve Housing Crisis

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

churchhousingBy RON LAJOIE

“As New York City sets forth on an ambitious task of creating 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years, the archdiocese stands as a ready, willing and able partner,” reports Ron Lajoie in Catholic New York.

That is the message Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities, delivered to Mayor Bill de Blasio, on behalf of Cardinal Dolan, when the mayor unveiled his $41 billion joint initiative to refurbish or create new housing for middle- and low-income New Yorkers across the five boroughs May 5.
In announcing his support for the mayor’s plan, Cardinal Dolan had said that creating affordable housing for all New Yorkers was nothing less than a human rights issue.
‘New York City’s current crisis of housing affordability threatens the basic human right to decent housing,’ Cardinal Dolan said in a statement.
Msgr. Sullivan,who was at the news conference representing Cardinal Dolan, pointed to the more than 50 years experience the archdiocese has had in creating, constructing, preserving and rehabilitating housing for the poor, working families, seniors and those with special needs.
Through its parishes and committed clergy, religious communities, and Catholic Charities and its affiliated community-based organizations, the Church has created more than 6,000 units of affordable housing for New Yorkers.
‘We offer the city a number of things,’ explained Msgr. Sullivan during an interview with CNY in his 11th floor office at the New York Catholic Center in Manhattan. ‘One of the very fundamental things we offer is our belief that every person is made in the image of God and deserves certain basic necessities. One of them is our belief that basic housing is a human right.
Secondly, very practically, we begin from the fact that we have put that into practice by the development and preservation of housing, which requires a certain amount of commitment and expertise and requires being around for the long term. We are an organization that has been around here for centuries and, if I might say this, we plan to be around until Jesus comes again…
The third thing we offer, and the cardinal has indicated this, is we have changing use of church facilities, so that as populations shift and we don’t need some of our properties for certain things there are new possibilities.’

Read the full story in Catholic New York.

Blind but Now I See

Monday, May 19th, 2014

‘Never in its nearly 90-year history had the National Braille Press undertaken a project as large as the one it completed in 2011,’ writes James Sullivan this recent Boston Globe article.

Creating a Braille edition of the 1,600-page “New American Bible,’’ with its freshly approved revisions by the US Catholic Bishops Conference, was something else entirely.

Commissioned by New York’s Xavier Society for the Blind, the full run, destined for private homes, consisted of 150 copies. To mark the occasion, a set was presented to Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in 2011.

An affiliate of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, Xavier Society for the Blind was founded in 1900 by the Jesuit priest, Rev. Joseph Stadelman, SJ, and a group of lay women as the only Catholic publishing house to make writings on religion and spirituality available to the blind.

One of its first major undertakings was to transcribe the Bible into Braille. It also became the first to transcribe the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church into Braille.

Now, as it receives U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approval, it adds Braille translations of Scripture, readings and prayers. By adding large print, records, audio cassette and most recently digital formats to its Braille offerings free of charge, Xavier Society for the Blind continues its pioneering mission of providing services so that those without sight may see.

Although the Xavier Society paid about $1,400 per copy to produce “The New American Bible,” these books are given away to families with a certified sightless person in the household, says Margaret O’Brien, the organization’s operations manager.

She adds that although mainstreaming of blind children into public schools, which began in earnest in the 1970s, served an undeniable social benefit, it significantly hurt Braille literacy. Literacy rates for blind students plunged from 50-60 percent to about 12 percent today, says National Braile Press president Brian MacDonald.

Meanwhile, with technological advances such as talking books and screen-reader software, students were being told they would no longer need to read Braille.

‘We know today that was a big mistake,’ said MacDonald.

Seventy-four percent of blind adults are unemployed, he said. Of those who do have jobs, the vast majority are Braille readers.

‘There’s such a strong correlation,’ he said. ‘Investing in kids understanding Braille is an investment in them becoming taxpayers, ultimately. That’s a big deal.’

Learn  more about Xavier Society for the Blind.

Find out about the breadth of programs Catholic Charities provides for people facing physical and emotional challenges.

Read the full story in the Boston Globe.