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

Brothers Break Barriers; Set Legal Precedent

Monday, June 15th, 2015
Vargas

Carlos Vargas

By Alice Kenny

Cesar Vargas just joined his now much publicized brother, Carlos, in breaking barriers so big that his story also landed in The New York Times.

As CrossStreets readers, you probably  remember Carlos. He interned with Mark Zuckerburg at Facebook.  He washed dishes at a restaurant to help support his family at age 13.  He put himself through the College of Staten Island, taking seven years to graduate because he held down full time jobs while studying at the same time.  But because his mother brought him from their impoverished Mexican home to the U.S.  when he was 4 years old, he could not gain legal status.

Catholic Charities helped him renew his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.  This program does not alter his immigration status but does allow him to work and not face deportation.  And The New York Times reported on our success in this New York Times Neediest Case.

Now Cesar, who, like his brother, also has DACA status, just won a precedent-setting legal ruling.  An appellate panel of the State Supreme Court approved Cesar’s application to join the New York State Bar last week.  That makes him the first immigrant without legal status to be approved to work as a lawyer in New York.

The decision could be a test case, writes The New York Times, not only for the city but also for the country.  It could affect hundreds of immigrant would-be lawyers.  And it could empower fellow immigrants who arrived as children to the United States and received a reprieve from deportation.

Closer to home, this Supreme Court decision also directly affects Cesar’s brother.  Carlos just entered law school.

And both brothers plan to continue breaking barriers.

“In the end, if you are really going to be an advocate,” Cesar told The Times, “you can’t hide and you can’t just wait in the shadows.”

Read all about it in The New York Times.

Tips and Tricks for Running the NYC Marathon

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

2015-01-14 21 24 26-3Our 12 Team Catholic Charities runners are gearing up for the big day, the TCS New York City Marathon scheduled for November 1, 2015.

They’ll be  racing through all five boroughs.  They’ll be running more than 26 miles. And they’ll be surrounded by tens of thousands of fellow runners in what is called the largest marathon in the world.

How do they do it?

During the next five months we’ll share with you their tips and training advice.  And we’ll also  share why they’re running for Team Catholic Charities.

Today, as our inaugural TCS NYC Marathon 2015 blog post, let’s here from Katrina Maniego.

 

Why I’m Running the NYC Marathon with Team Catholic Charities

By Katrina Maniego

I have already run two to three half marathons but never a full marathon. I am excited to run my first marathon, take it as a challenge and am following a training plan I purchased online to prepare.

I live in NYC but travel for work to Denver, Co, which makes my training interesting. I am in NYC during the weekends and it is where I generally do my long runs. During the week, I am in Denver.

I like the change of environment because it adds a bit of color to my training.

NYC is noisier and more populated. Here I run along the East River, so I run alongside tall buildings and the view of water. I get motivation from all the interesting New Yorkers I see during my run. Also, there is a constant flow of New Yorkers running. I can run any time of the day or night, any kind of weather and there will be someone running with me.

In Denver, the altitude is higher but the air crisper. The mountains are around you and there are a lot of trees. I run a path alongside a creek. It is quite beautiful. If I wanted to run the path from start to end it spans about 12 miles. It’s taking me a bit more effort to do my interval running because of the altitude.  But the group I joined to train with is pacing me to some extent and I am making new friends.

The proceeds of this fundraising is particularly targeted to Catholic Charities St. Nicolas Project. I’ve participated in the St. Nicholas shopping spree (using donations to purchase holiday necessities for persons in need .

I think we always should be thinking of ways to help other people and make them happy.  But this is especially true during Christmas when we are constantly reminded of the blessings we have and the sacrifice Christ has made for us.  We should be more inclined to offer help and support.

Click here to support Katrina’s TCS NYC Marathon campaign. 

“Fixing NYC’s Lousy After-school Rules”

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Photo Credit: Jeanne Noonan – NY Daily News

By Sr. Paulette LoMonaco
Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services, an affiliate of Catholic Charities

(Excerpts from Sr. LoMonaco’s editorial published in today’s Daily News)

It is hard to find anyone who does not think a school benefits from having an after-school program. The programs are an ideal way to protect and nurture students while helping families juggle work schedules.

Unfortunately, well-intentioned bureaucracy is getting in the way of common sense in regulating these programs, and our children and families are paying the price.

This is a story of regulation run amok, and it starts in Albany.

After-school programs in schools are regulated by two different agencies at the state level…Their rules often come into direct conflict with each other.

(For example) Have you ever walked into a school without posters and student work on the walls? Probably not; teachers are routinely encouraged to make their classrooms visually engaging.

However, Office of Children and Family Services regulations regard those posters as a fire hazard and, as a result, there are after-school staff throughout the state who every day have to carefully take them down at 3 p.m. — and put them back up at 6 p.m…

In some cases, children are actually out on the streets because programs that would have kept them safe and engaged until their parents come home were waiting — sometimes for a whole school year — for a waiver or a minor repair. This affront to common sense is no one’s fault and certainly is not intentional, but that does not absolve us from finding a solution to the damage caused by dueling regulations.

Fortunately, someone’s listening to complaints. State Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo of Binghamton have a bill that would solve the problem, by simply waiving building-related conflicts for any after-school program operating in a public school building in compliance with Education Department requirements. It’s been approved by the relevant Senate and Assembly committees.

The legislation makes perfect sense. It does not ask the Office of Children and Family Services to change in any way, shape or form regulations tailored to protecting children in other aspects of the after-school program, such as staffing ratios, nutrition, activities or background checks. Nor will it change physical requirements for after-school programs outside a school building.

Let’s fix this crazy quilt of regulations and finally let school-based after-school programs focus on meeting the needs of our children and families.

Read the full editorial in today’s Daily News.

Gold Medalist Chris Mullin Credits CYO for Kicking Off His Career

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

150604-0881By Alice Kenny

Chris Mullin, one of the greatest NBA players of all time, received the John V. Mara Sportsman of the Year Award on June 4th at the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) Club of Champions Tribute. A two-time gold medalist, Mr. Mullin ranks seventh all-time on the USA Basketball scoring list.

He kicked off this long list of achievements, he said during his acceptance speech, by playing CYO basketball at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Brooklyn.

Honorary Co-Chairs Cardinal Dolan and John K. Mara, President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Football Giants, presented the award at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in
Manhattan.

Duke Castiglione, sports anchor for FOX 5 New York, served as Master of Ceremonies. Raymond Quartararo, Managing Director of Global Real Estate, JP Morgan Chase & Co., was the Gold Medal Award Honoree.  And Jeanne Mullgrav, Executive Vice President, Capalino+Company, received the Terence Cardinal Cooke Humanitarian Award.

The John V. Mara award is given to an individual who has exhibited exceptional sportsmanship throughout his or her career.

This sportsmanship, Mr. Mullin said, is thanks to his experience playing Catholic Charities CYO, an experience that instilled core values that influenced his life.

Learn more about this All-Star event. 

Check out these photos on Facebook. 

Win the Jackpot – Become a U.S. Citizen!

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Immigrants become American citizens in Newark, N.J. on Jan. 28, 2013. A free legal clinic will advise immigrants seeking citizenship on immigration law and naturalization applications. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

By Alice Kenny

If you already have your green card – AKA legal status in the U.S. – join us to take the next big step.

Catholic Charities, in partnership with New York State’s Office for New Americans, is hosting free legal and naturalization clinics.  Attorneys who are experts in immigration law will be available for free legal consultations.

Why?

Naturalized citizens:

  1. Earn between 50 and 70-percent more than non-citizens
  2. Are half as likely to live below the poverty line.
  3. Have higher employment rates
  4. Gain access to jobs and licensed professions requiring citizenship
  5. Acquire rights such as the ability to protect children’s rights to remain in the U.S.

When, where and what to bring?

When:  Wednesday, June 10

Where:  Newburgh Armory Unity Center, 321 South William Street, Newburgh, NY.

What to bring: 

Register by contacting Jennifer Ramirez  today, June 9, at  845-562 -4736; Jennifer.Ramirez@archny.org

  • When:  Saturday, June 13

Where Catholic Charities Community Services, 218 Church St. Poughkeepsie, NY

What to bring? Click here.

Register by calling 845 452 1400 x 4259.

Questions:  Call our New York State New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636

Read more in The Epoch Times

New Video Highlights Impact of Our Work and Personal Story of One Family

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

By Alice Kenny

Before cancer struck, Yarsely, 27, and her husband, Jean Carlos, 28, each held jobs to support themselves and their two little girls.

“We wanted to grow old together, a 50-year-anniversary couple,” Yaresely says in this just-released video. “But life gave us something else.”

When Jean Carlos was diagnosed with leukemia, Yaresely realized she had to become the sole breadwinner — with better skills to land a better job. So she turned to Catholic Charities affiliate Grace Institute for its award winning, free job training.

She graduated last October, the same day Jean Carlos slipped into his final coma.

A Thank You Note That Made Our Day

Friday, May 29th, 2015

EntranceInternationalCntr-15smBy Alice Kenny

There is already a lot of buzz about how our Refugee Resettlement department helps people who fled torture and oppression in their native lands.

These refugees often once held high positions.

And they often arrive here with nearly nothing; no English, no job.  Just an undefined hope for a better future.

But what does our help really mean to them?

Take a look at this thank you note.  It’s from one of our clients who received help from our casework and job development team.

It speaks for itself – and it made our day.

I am very much pleased to inform you that I have got my Green Card in the last of March.

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for everything.

When I was hungry, you gave me food; when I was jobless you gave me job; when nobody was beside me in real, you gave me hope and encouragement.

I never saw angels, but it seems to me that the spirit of angels exist in you.

I can never forget what you have done for me.

May God bless you.

We thank you for your support!

Struggling Students; Struggling Schools

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

IMG_8532-smBy Alice Kenny

How do we reach children and families at risk effectively and fast?  Community schools that incorporate social service and support are the solution offered by Mayor Bill de Blasio.  And it’s a solution Catholic Charities is bringing to life in the poverty and crime-ridden neighborhood of Washington Heights.

The principle behind it is simple.  Bring services to where the children and their families already are – at school.  The new community schools program pairs year-round social services with education in high-need neighborhoods.  Services range mental health support to homework help and family counseling.

The city will use $52 million to launch 40 Community Schools.  This includes the High School for Media & Communications in Washington Heights that chose Catholic Charities Community Services Alianza Division as its community partner.

The program will work in  collaboration with the principal, the school leadership team and parents.  To ensure that new programs answer real needs more than 80 students, parents, community leaders, school administrators, counselors and teachers teamed up to share their vision for the newly established Community School program at the High School for Media & Communications on Saturday, May 16, 2015.

Funds will be used to increase attendance, credit accumulation, graduation rates and family engagement.

Interested in Community Schools? Read more in Capital New York.

Top 4 Summer Deals for CYO Friends and Family

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

libertyBy Alice Kenny

Looking for great deals on summer fun for your family?

Here are our Top 4 Summer Deals for CYO friends and families!

  1. Almost $20 off Hershey Park tickets
  2. Discounts on over 200,000 hotels
  3. Enroll in Iona College basketball camps
  4. Take in a NY Liberty game

Purchase discounted Hershey Park tickets.  Use code 78164.

  • No black out dates!
  • Sign up now –Tickets purchased after July 5 cost $5 more.

Click here for $1,000 in hotel savings.  Use group code CYO.

  • This also helps CYO.  Each completed reservation earns CYO 2 % of the sale.  Proceeds go towards building the highest quality athletic programs for our kids.

Learn more about Iona Basketball Camp.

  • Contact Associate Head Coach Jared Grasso with questions:  (914) 633-2568 or
    jgrasso@iona.edu

Purchase NY Liberty basketball tickets.  Use code libertyCYO

 

Catholic Charities Takes Charge When the Melting Pot Boils Over

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Victor Cueva, 25, an Immigrant Justice Corps fellow. He is eager to give new immigrants in the Hudson Valley the help his family did not receive when it arrived there from Peru. Credit Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

By Liz Robbins

The New York Times

(Excerpt below)

New York City’s melting pot has been boiling over in the larger metropolitan area…

The city is where most of the funding for legal assistance has been concentrated before this year…But only a smaller amount of state and private funding for services and lawyers has gone to nonprofit organizations outside the city.

“The lower Hudson Valley, like Long Island, is critical to New York life, and there’s this swath of human beings who support those structures, and yet there is really nothing to support them,” said Mario Russell, the director of immigrant and refugee services for Catholic Charities Community Services.

The organization, under the auspices of the New York Archdiocese, oversees part of New York City, and Westchester, Orange, Rockland, Putnam, Sullivan, Ulster and Dutchess Counties. For decades, those counties have had only paralegals processing requests, such as green card applications, deferred action for childhood arrivals and adjudication of unaccompanied minors’ deportation claims…

Victor Cueva, a 25-year-old Justice Corps fellow and soon-to-be graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, is eager to give new immigrants in the Hudson Valley the help his family did not receive when it arrived there…

He and another Justice Corps fellow, John Travis, will work in Catholic Charities’ Poughkeepsie and Newburgh offices part of the week, and the other days in Manhattan at 26 Federal Plaza, New York’s immigration court, serving clients from the lower Hudson Valley region.

Read the full story in The New York Times.