Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New York State Office for New Americans Touts Free Immigrant Assistance and Referral Hotline

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

The New York State New Americans Hotline –1-800-566-7636 – provides general information and referrals on immigration and naturalization questions in more than 200 languages; also helps combat fraud against immigrants.

ALBANY – The New York State Office for New Americans (ONA) announced that its New York State New Americans Hotline (800-566-7636) has fielded more than 25,000 calls from immigrants and made more than 42,000 referrals to not-for-profit service providers in response to requests for assistance in 2013.  ONA was launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo in March as the first statewide office dedicated to helping our state’s immigrants contribute to our economy and become part of the family of New York.

Detailed data about the hotline will be released in the winter of 2014.

The New York State New Americans Hotline is a multi-lingual information center providing live assistance on general questions about immigration and naturalization. The hotline provides assistance in more than 200 languages, including Spanish, French, Haitian-Creole, Arabic and Chinese. The hotline operates from 9AM to 8PM (ET), Monday through Friday (excluding Federal holidays), and offers referrals to ONA Opportunity Centers and information on all New York State programs serving refugees and immigrants, other immigrant-related public and private programs, and not-for-profit immigrant service providers throughout the state.

“We are pleased that the New York State New Americans Hotline is helping so many immigrants as they transition to fully participating in New York State’s civic and economic life,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, who oversees ONA for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “The hotline is an important source of information for immigrants and others who seek immigration and naturalization assistance. It also refers New Americans to their nearest ONA Opportunity Center, where they can meet with a staff member to begin the process of learning English, becoming naturalized or starting a new business.”

Raluca Oncioiu, Director of the New York State New Americans Hotline at Catholic Charities Community Services added: “The hotline has an important role to play in educating immigrants about their rights and referring them to reliable service providers in order to prevent anti-immigrant fraud. In particular, the hotline is always ready to educate the public about new programs, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals announced in the summer of 2012, when hotline counselors fielded thousands of calls and made appropriate referrals to agencies providing free legal services.”

The New York State New Americans Hotline supports the network of 27 neighborhood-based ONA Opportunity Centers. Hosted within existing culturally-competent, language-accessible community-based organizations throughout the State, each ONA Opportunity Center helps immigrants learn English, prepare naturalization applications, study for the U.S. citizenship exam, and start and grow businesses.

New York State has the second largest immigrant population in the nation, which includes more than 1.2 million immigrants who reside outside the New York City area. More than one in four New York State residents of working age is foreign-born, which presents a major opportunity for economic growth in our state, where 29 percent of all small businesses are owned by immigrants.

“We look forward to serving more immigrants across New York State and urge them to tap into the hotline,” Perales continued.

For more information on the New York State Office for New Americans, go to www.newamericans.ny.gov

Preserving Dignity and Providing Freedom

Friday, January 24th, 2014

“The freedom of religion that we experience in the United States sometimes makes it difficult for us to realize that this principle does not exist in many parts of the world. In many countries, Christians are the minority and often the  victims of persecution.  Over the years, Catholic Charities has successfully represented victims of religious persecution, thus potentially saving their lives if they had been forced to return to their home countries.”

Read more about this recent story of religious persecution 

Martin Luther King: “Life’s Most Persistent and Urgent Question”

Monday, January 20th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said  that “life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’”

Today, as they celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s Interfaith Day of Service, 80 Catholic and Jewish teens from Westchester are giving an answer.

Forty youth from St. Peter’s Parish in Yonkers and Holy Rosary in Port Chester will join 40 youth from UJA-Federation to provide a meal and activities for 300 persons in need at the Don Bosco Community Center in Port Chester.

The day starts early for these 80 teens as they set up, prepare and serve midday meals.  They will also offer art and crafts activities for children attending the event.

The day then ends as youth lead an ecumenical period of reflection; an opportunity to build community while raising hunger awareness.

The event is part of Feeding Our Neighbors, an interfaith campaign to replenish food pantries and soup kitchens that serve those in need.

“What are you doing for others?” Rev. King asked.

Join us in answering this urgent question.

 

Read more in the Daily Voice.

Mayor de Blasio meets with Cardinal Dolan; Discusses Catholic Charities and work done on behalf of those in need

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS

Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Mayor Bill de Blasio met yesterday for the first time since the mayor took office to discuss how they might collaborate to foster the common good – particularly helping New Yorkers most in need.

They hope to convince Pope Francis – who the mayor called “the most powerful voice on earth on how to address inequality” — to visit the city to lend his voice to the urgent task of building a more compassionate and just New York.

“We talked a lot about Catholic Charities and the work it does on behalf of children, on behalf of people in need,” Mayor de Blasio said.

“We talked about the need to help prisoners returning to society, a whole host of areas (including affordable housing) where we have common ground and where we can work together.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, who attended the post- meeting press briefing and is serving on the mayor’s transition team, said  “I am not surprised, but still delighted, that the Mayor recognizes the tremendous good being done by our federation of Catholic Charities agencies in touching and responding to almost every human need… We look forward to working with the de Blasio administration and are already convening agencies experienced in these areas to discuss how we might best work with the new administration to expand these services and meet unmet needs.” Read Msgr. Sullivan’s full statement here.

Cardinal Dolan regularly visits Catholic Charities agencies and meets both those being served and the dedicated staff and volunteers.  Cardinal Dolan was upbeat and expressed his strong desire to work with Mayor de Blasio for the sake of the good of New York, and especially those most in need.

Torture Survivor Rebuilds Life

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Angel Franco/The New York Times Angele Nogue and her son Brandon, 9.

A once-successful business person who ran a multi-million dollar interior design firm in Cameroon, Angele Nogue was stripped of nearly all she possessed.  She lost it all, she said, in retaliation for caring for orphans and organizing marches that protested their increasing numbers caused by the country’s chaotic dictatorial policies.

Today an asylee and participant in NYU/Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture program, Ms. Nogue lost the business she built.  She lost her home and homeland.  Worst of all, she lost friends murdered by the government.

When Ms. Nogue tries to describe those who, unlike her, were unable to escape, survivor’s guilt leaves her sobbing.

Catholic Charities Refugee Social Services Program is helping Ms. Nogue rebuild her life.  It provides her with counseling, social service support and job-readiness and placement services.  Catholic Charities also provided her with metro cards to attend job interviews.  And it provides her family with coats, clothes and essential housewares through its St. Nicholas program and food through its pantries and holiday programs.

She and her children currently live in a shelter.  Her Catholic Charities case manager is helping the family find permanent housing and will provide further support when they move into their new home.

Now feeling stronger, Ms. Nogue has begun studying to become a registered nurse at Hostos Community College.

Read Ms. Nogue’s profile in The New York Times.

Celebrating Day Laborers on Three Kings Day

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Ringed with garlands of evergreens and bows, St. Peter’s Church kicked off this year’s Three Kings Day celebration with a mass for the day laborer group, Oberos Unidos de Yonkers and their young families on Saturday, January 7.   The nearly 300-member crowd — with children in tow — then moved to the gym below converted into Santa’s workshop.  Children flocked to a stage brimming with trucks, teddies and toys and families feasted on ethnic specialties.

Organized by Catholic Charities staff and volunteers, the event offered respite for these day laborers who line up daily waiting for work during heat, rain and freezing snow.

It also served as a way to thank the day laborers for their hours volunteering, commuting by bus, train and ferry, to rebuild Staten Island homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

Three Kings Day, widely celebrated in the Hispanic community, commemorates the Twelfth Day of Christmas when the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem to share with the infant Jesus their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

This annual celebration is part of Catholic Charities’ ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos of Yonkers.  Catholic Charities educates workers 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.

 

Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

Click here or call 917-579-9048

Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — for help finding more services you need.

 

Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon Raises $1.5 Million to Support Those in Need

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

The 68th Annual Cardinal’s Christmas luncheon hosted by Catholic Charities and the Ladies of Charity brought in a record-breaking $1.5 million to support Catholic Charities programs that help thousands of needy women and children of all religions throughout the 10 counties of the Archdiocese.

“The event represents values that are at the heart of Catholic Charities,” Msgr. Kevin Sullivan said.  They include “the Christian faith that motivates our work, the dignity of each individual of every religion or no religion and the solidarity that bridges differences for the sake of doing good.”  Read more in Msgr. Sullivan’s current JustLove blog post.

Honorary chair Anna Murdoch-Mann teamed up once again with luncheon chair, Mary Higgins Clark and corporate chair, Joseph E. Spinnato at the event held on December 18 in the Grand Ballroom of The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

Elizabeth Ailes, board member of Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers, owner of the Hudson Valley Freedom Press received the Christmas Angel Award from his Eminence, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York  Rosanna Scotto, Co-host of Good Day New York, served as mistress of ceremonies. Elizabeth Ailes is the wife of Fox News CEO, Roger Ailes,

Cardinal Dolan, Honorary Chairman of the luncheon, along with Nancy Waters of the Ladies of Charity, presented the Spirit of Saint Nicholas Award to Pat and Lou DiCerbo.

The luncheon included performances by noted Soprano Jamie Barton and the Our Lady of Pompeii School Chorus from New York City. Students from St. John Chrysostom School presented a tableau, narrated by Cardinal Dolan with a reading from the Gospel according to St. Luke.  Monsignor Kevin Sullivan offered the Invocation.

Bringing Smiles to Children on Christmas Day

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

“In a day and age when lists to Santa Claus include iPads and game consoles , Catholic Charities St. Nicholas Project is much more basic,”  reports Carol D’Auria from 1010 WINS Radio in her live report  this week from Kmart at Astor Place.

Cardinal Dolan says volunteers with Catholic Charities (that hosted the event) don’t shop for toys but for things that people really need like socks, coats and pajamas.

“We are at our best; we are acting the way God our father intends us when we give ourselves away in love and service to somebody else and that’s what Christmas is all about.”

This volunteer said the list of needy families is growing. “We have over 200 more individuals to shop for this year than last year and it’s a really amazing way to reflect on what’s really important around the holidays.

Each shopper spent $200 for a family of four.

Catch the full story on CBS News and 1010 WINS.

“I love the fact that some tiny, simple thing that I’m doing is maybe going to help keep somebody warm and bring a smile to some kid’s face underneath the Christmas tree on Christmas morning,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan tells the New York Post.

Read the full story in the New York Post.

Surviving Hiroshima and Hurricane Sandy, Survivor Struggles to Recover.

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

by Alice Kenny

Leaning on his black cane, Fujimoto Takashi, 64, struggles to pronounce words that convey the terror he felt the afternoon his basement apartment in Midland Beach, Staten Island, morphed into a whirlpool of chairs, refrigerator, motion and mementos.

Born in Hiroshima four years after the atom bomb was dropped there, Mr. Takashi already knew devastation first hand. He grew up believing, he said, that if he could make his way to the United States he would find a safe place where he could realize his dream of working as a photographer and thrive.

For a long time, his plan seemed to work. But then Hurricane Sandy struck and stole nearly all he had.

Electrocuted when the storm flooded his basement apartment, Mr. Taskashi lost his health and home.

Read his story in Sunday’s New York Times.

Also learn how Catholic Charities’ Disaster Case Management team is helping him rebuild his life.