Archive for the ‘What We Do at Catholic Charities’ Category

Free Film Festival for Children and Families

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

KidCinemaFest Film Festival returns to New York October 22 – October 31 with more than 50 of the most exciting, smart and reflective movies of this decade  for children and adults produced in Europe, Latin American, North America, Asia and Africa.

The film festival takes place at Catholic Charities Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center (530 West 166th Street and Amsterdam), Casita Maria, an affiliate of Catholic Charities in the South Bronx (928 Simpson St at 163rd Street), The United Palace (4140 Broadway at 175th Street), and public schools throughout Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the Bronx.

Films include kid-friendly highlights such as Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature Film Ernest and Celestine,  Dominican film Los Super (The Superheroes), Argentinian comedy Caido del mapa and Japanese animation Welcome to trhe Space Show.  

Back for its sixth installment, KidCinemaFest aims to enrich children’s appreciation for filmmaking and cultural diversity through its excellent line up of programs.

Cine Art Entertainment Productions is a collaboration between Catholic Charities, its Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center division and Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez.

The event is free and open to anyone and everyone who wishes to attend!

For a complete list of films and show times visit www.kidcinemafest.com.

Immigrants Defrauding Fellow Immigrants

Monday, October 20th, 2014

tiempo

Tune in to Tiempo on ABC7 for its round-table discussion with Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and New York Immigration Coalition Associate Oriana Sanchez about New York State’s comprehensive effort to fight growing fraud perpetrated against immigrants.

The fraud takes place most often, they say, between established immigrants against the recently arrived. Frequently “notarios,” Spanish-speaking immigrants certified to serve as notary publics, pretend to be attorneys, charge recent immigrants thousands of dollars to help them obtain legal status and then disappear with the money.

Catholic Charities New Americans Hotline helps fight against fraud along with answering more than 20,000 other immigration calls for help each year in more than 20 languages.

“Since July we’ve gotten 31 calls (from defrauded immigrants) that we’ve turned over to authority,” Msgr. Sullivan says.

“All the things we’ve talked about in terms of fraud just point out how much we have to reform the immigration laws in our country comprehensively so that immigrants get a good deal; so that we can have a place which is welcoming but which is law abiding and in which people can make a contribution to making this a better place.”

Watch the full Tiempo show aired Sunday, October 19, 2014, on ABC7.

Need help? Call the New York State Immigration Hotline administered by Catholic Charities at 800-566-7636.

Fighting Substance Abuse by Running the NYC Marathon with Team Catholic Charities

Friday, October 17th, 2014

By Tony Osborn

As a parent of a child that struggles with substance abuse, I understand the difficulties associated with it.

A substance abuser’s behaviors affect many things such as their home life, their careers and themselves.

The availability of self-help programs, such as the programs that are offered by Catholic Charities, that are designed to assist an individual in taking advantage of the gift of life are very important to myself and my family.  My family has benefited in many ways from these support programs meant to assist in coping with and breaking the cycle of drug addiction.  For this reason I would like to represent Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Catholic Charities in the New York City marathon.

“There is no such thing as an inconsequential life.”

A Child’s Potential with Your Help There are No Limits

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

achildspotentialHelp us continue to provide our children with opportunities  to thrive — outside, as well as inside the classroom.

Not every child in New York wakes up to the same advantages. Some will go to school hungry. Some weren’t able to do their homework because last night their home was so chaotic. With your support, we can help teens stay focused to succeed in school.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York has programs to give teens a helping hand. We help make sure they’re showing up for class. We offer academic support. We lend a concerned ear with counseling. Throughout the year we help teens make graduation a priority.

Catholic Charities offers a variety of programs — from academic support to sports to cultural opportunities.
Your monthly contribution of $25 could help keep one child in programs like this for a full academic year. With all the distractions our children face, your donation can help them keep their eye on the ball — graduation.

With your support, there are no limits to what a child can accomplish.

Watch Hiring America, the first TV Series Dedicated to Helping Veterans Find Jobs

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Hiring America, the first TV series dedicated to helping veterans find jobs, recently interviewed Executive Director Shari Krull of Grace Institute, an affiliate of Catholic Charities, and Tanya Thomas, the first graduate of Grace Institute’s training program for female veterans and their families

“The most meaningful part,” Ms. Thomas tells TV host, “is that anyone can start over.”

“After taking care of my disabled husband for eight years- meaning we were childhood sweethearts right out of high school…going from caring for a disabled American veteran — and we have 2 children — and then him passing away eight years later after brain surgery, becoming a single mom and having to put my life back together…

“Grace Institute was a beacon of light to find your way…someone who will help you with a hand up not a hand out.”

Grace Institute’s goal is to graduate women as a complete package, women who are ready to take on a ladder job that will lead to financial stability for herself, her family and her community. It provides six months of tuition-free job training for underserved women, placing 80% of its graduates into full-time job within one year.

Ms. Thomas was placed as a caseworker at Catholic Charities.

“I’ve walked in some of the shoes of people who are having difficulties,” she said.  “It’s so empowering.”

Watch parts two and three.

A Day on a New York City “Rocket Docket”

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

“The minors and their guardians sit in the fluorescent-lit room and stare at the sketch on the whiteboard,” reports the Latin America News Dispatch.

The image represents a map of Mexico and the U.S. separated by a line: the border. Elvis Garcia Callejas, a case manager with Catholic Charities, presides over the information session.

“So, you all crossed that line and that’s why you’re sitting here, right?” Callejas asks the group. A few sheepishly smile while others are busy texting on their phones.

A native of Honduras, Callejas was an undocumented minor himself before gaining citizenship. He understands the trauma many of the people in front of him experienced as well as the legal options available. In his rapid-fire Spanish presentation peppered with plenty of jokes, Callejas aims to provide the minors with necessary information while also putting them at ease before their impending deportation hearings.

At one point Callejas likens immigration officers to iguanas because of their green uniforms. At another, he explains how the inside of a courtroom looks like a church and is “just as boring.” By the end of the session minors and their guardians are chuckling along. Not only does Callejas speak the vernacular, but he is well rehearsed: he holds an identical session weekly at 26 Federal Plaza — the building that houses New York City’s immigration court — just one hour before minors are to appear before a judge.

 

Catholic Charities is just one of the organizations in New York City that has taken advantage of so-called “rocket docket” days, in which judges hold initial hearings for many minors simultaneously, on multiple days each week. The expedited court process is just one of President Barack Obama’s strategies to handle the surge of unaccompanied minors in the country and the subsequent backlog of immigration cases.

Read the full story in Latin America News Dispatch.

Do you need immigration help?  Call our New Americans Hotline at 800-566-7636.

Scam Artists Are Target of Immigration Initiative

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

(L-R) State Secretary of State Cesar Perales, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo, NY Immigration Coation Executive Director Steven Choi and Catholic Charities Community Services Director Beatriz Diaz Taveras

“Unethical lawyers and other scam artists that prey on New York’s immigrant community have been put on notice. The state has the means to keep tabs on them and will come down hard on anyone attempting to defraud or exploit this particularly vulnerable population,” writes Ron Lajoie in a recent Catholic New York article.

New York State’s Office for New Americans, in cooperation with a coalition of partners, including Catholic Charities, rolled out a new comprehensive initiative at a press conference at the new headquarters of Catholic Charities’ Division of Immigration and Refugee Services in Lower Manhattan Sept. 18 to combat fraud against immigrants across New York State. The initiative follows legislation recently signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandating stricter requirements for immigration assistance providers and tougher penalties for those who scam the system.

‘We’ve got to deliver the message that if you take advantage of immigrants it’s a crime. It’s a serious crime and we are going to prosecute you,’said New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales. ‘We’re taking proactive steps and empowering our immigrant communities through legitimate services to create a safe and fair economic landscape that will benefit every New Yorker.’

A main component of the new initiative will be the expansion of the New York State New Americans Hotline—800-566-7636—operated by Catholic Charities to serve as a resource to coordinate immigration fraud complaints as well as to offer service referrals…

Beatriz Diaz Taveras, executive director of Catholic Charities Community Services, told CNY as many as 10 percent of the calls coming into the hotline deal with fraud issues…

‘Now that we have this campaign and people are seeing it on the subways and in newspapers, we have over 200 calls a month,’ Ms. Diaz Taveras said. ‘And folks are calling about attorneys who have taken their money, who have not provided services, notarios that they have gone to that have given incorrect information. And they are asking how can they be helped and what recourse do they have?’

Knicks Legend John Starks Teams with Catholic Charities to Promote Fitness Among Local Youth

Monday, October 6th, 2014


Knicks legend John Starks spoke with children during a free basketball clinic held at Mount St Michael Academy in the Bronx at the CYO Fitness Challenge Day on October 2. Mr. Starks spoke about fitness, nutrition and how they featured in his professional career as part of a full-court Fitness Challenge effort to cut down on obesity and sedentary lifestyles among our children.

In addition to those attending the basketball clinic run by Kids in the Game, a company specializing in after-school and recess programming, over 18,000 children joined in physical fitness activities across the Archdiocese of New York, marking the start of the second of a three-year initiative.

After a successful start dating back to September 2013, over 24,000 children from 94 schools have participated in the CYO Fitness Challenge program. Through the use of the Fitnessgram assessment tool, participants have the opportunity to track their progress and receive feedback on their fitness levels.

The Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), a division of Catholic Charities Community Services of the Archdiocese of New York and The Coca-Cola Foundation are partnering in the CYO Fitness Challenge program to bring awareness and increase fitness activities among youth throughout the New York archdiocese.

The Coca-Cola Foundation awarded a three year grant to Catholic Charities Community Services to support the CYO Fitness Challenge to enhance school athletic programs by providing fitness assessments and nutrition education to 24,000 youth participants. Through the leadership of the physical education teachers at area schools, they are now able to implement outcomes-based fitness which combines a fitness assessment to benchmark progress, physical activities, nutrition education and health awareness. After three years, this program will be implemented at 225 schools/programs, reaching an estimated goal of 35,000 children.

“Catholic Charities strives to deal holistically with those we serve,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. “Through the generous support of The Coca-Cola Foundation, we are able to enhance lives by providing children and their parents with tools and learning to better achieve a healthy lifestyle. These are lessons they will carry with them as they get older.”

View photos on Catholic Charities Facebook page.

Judge Sheds Robes to Comfort Traumatized, Unaccompanied Children

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

“A federal immigration judge says his priority when dealing with traumatized children facing deportation is to create a kinder, gentler courtroom,” reports Verena Dobnik from the Associated Press.

 New York’s assistant chief immigrant judge, Robert Weisel, told a City Council hearing Monday that he takes off his black robes and speaks to young children from the bench in a more casual tone.

‘Our objective is to lower the level of anxiety, lower the level of fear, because after all, when you see someone in a black robe, it’s very scary,’ the judge said.

Weisel testified before the council’s Committee on Immigration, which is assessing the needs of children smuggled into the United States from Central America. The cases of more than 1,100 of them are pending before New York City immigration judges. Some face deportation.

The City Council recently allocated nearly $2 million to Catholic Charities Community Services and its coalition of service providers to cover the children’s legal expenses.

Read the full AP story.

Agency Retreat Prepares for Catholic Charities Centennial

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

DSC_1704As an early step in preparation for the upcoming centennial celebration of The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York – just three years from now in 2017 — executive directors from our 90 affiliated agencies convened last week at the Met Life building.  They participated in breakout sessions that focused on and collaborating and networking with fellow affiliated agencies.

“As we approach the Centennial of The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, we reinforce and make clear our fundamental understanding of this federation of agencies,” Msgr. Sullivan said, “independent in governance and management, yet united by a common Catholic vision.  A vision which affirms the dignity of each person, of every religion or no religion, made in the image and likeness of God and the priority of our services and resources toward the poor and vulnerable.”

Check out photos from the event