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

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

Announcing Catholic Renewal Raises $600,000 to Feed the Hungry

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
cath renewal

(L-R) Bill Derrough, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Honoree Alan W. Kornberg, Deirdre McGuinness, Mark McDermott

Catholic Renewal raised more than $600,000 at its Fourth Annual Cocktail Reception to assist Catholic Charities in feeding the hungry throughout the Archdiocese of New York on September 8, 2014.

The reception was held at the Kirkland & Ellis Conference Center and honored Alan W. Kornberg, Partner of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, for his steadfast commitment to the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York and the corporate restructuring industry.   More than 500 restructuring professionals attended the event.

If you were unable to attend the event but want to make a donation to feed the hungry click here.

How Astor Changed These Children’s Lives

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
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Joel Salazar holding up his diploma from the East Bronx Academy for the Future.

By Sonia Barnes-Moorehead
Executive Vice President
Astor Services for Children & Families

Like every other parent at high school commencement ceremonies this spring, Eve Murphy watched with pride as her daughter, Cheyenne, clutched her diploma. But Murphy said she was especially proud of her daughter’s accomplishment, because few students had overcome as much as she had.

“I was so elated,” Murphy said. “A few years ago, I did not see this day coming.” She added that she doubted her daughter could have reached the commencement stage at Wildcat Academy without the support of a team of clinicians, behavioral coaches, and caseworkers from Astor Services for Children & Families.

The agency, sponsored by the Catholic Charities Alliance and spanning  from Dutchess County to New York City, offers a residential home for children, child guidance and counseling centers, an early childhood and day treatment programs, home-based crisis intervention and school-based preventative services that enable emotionally disturbed youngsters to live at home and attend neighborhood schools.  An innovative leader in services for children with psychiatric disorders, Astor Services for Children & Families became one of the first mental health facilities for children in the nation to receive accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.  The U.S. Department of Education designated Astor Learning Center a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

As for Cheyenne, she began  battling emotional issues when she was eight years old that were causing her to be disruptive in her public school classroom. She was placed in one of Astor’s Day Treatment programs, which work with children ages 5 – 12 who display a range of behaviors that impact their ability to develop or attain age-appropriate cognitive and educational skills.

Day Treatment gives children the chance to thrive in a traditional school environment while receiving the intensive support they need to overcome behavioral challenges so they can re-enter public school and transition into their appropriate school placement.  In this program, Cheyenne received psychiatric treatment as well as academic schooling, and when she was ready to return to public school, a team of Astor caseworkers and counselors continued to keep tabs on her and provide her with ongoing services.

Thanks to support from Robin Hood, Astor’s Transitions team (a group of caseworkers who work with kids like Cheyenne to help with the transition process, and who stay with them throughout their schooling), is currently tracking 153 of its former Day Treatment students as they make their way through school. This year, Cheyenne Murphy and five other young adults were the first clients since the program’s inception to earn high school diplomas.

Jurine Walker, Astor’s Deputy Director for Bronx Day Treatment and Transitions programs, said she was “overjoyed” when she heard Cheyenne would be graduating. “I’ve known Cheyenne and some of these other young adults since they were in the third grade,” Walker said. “It’s astounding to see the progress they’ve made. They have to possess a lot of strength to get to where they are today. We help them set their goals and are there to support them, but they are the ones who have to assume the responsibility to follow through.”

Cheyenne, who hopes to continue her education this fall in Boston, said she was grateful for the support she received from Astor’s Transitions caseworkers. “When I was younger, the people in Astor’s Day Treatment programs helped me get my emotions under control, and later, the staff in the Transitions program helped me set goals and focus on my schoolwork. Graduation day was a great day because I could see how proud my mom was, and that made me proud, too.”

The same week Cheyenne and Eve Murphy were celebrating their milestone at Wildcat Academy, another former Astor client, Joel Salazar, received his diploma from the East Bronx Academy for the Future in a ceremony on the campus of Fordham University. Like Cheyenne Murphy, Joel credited Astor and his Transitions caseworker, Leemarie Sanchez, with helping complete his journey through high school.

“Whenever I got lazy, Leemarie got me back on track and worked with me on my goals,” he said. Joel’s mother, Jacqueline Rosario, thanked Astor for all the support its staff had provided for Joel over the past nine years. “Joel was hyperactive as a kid, but when he came to Astor in the fourth grade, they worked with him and I saw improvement quickly. And on the day he graduated, I thanked God for Astor; thanked God for Transitions. I’d recommend Astor to any parent.”

Would you like to help a child with special needs?

Find out more about Astor Services for Children

Catholic Charities Takes Kids Fishing

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

By Barbara Bedell

The Times Herald Record

Published 9/16/14

Team Newburgh, the community-based program with more than 75 adult partners, is dedicated to improving and enhancing the quality of life for young people in the City of Newburgh.

Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County is the lead agency for the TEAM which recently hosted its sixth fishing outing at Lake Washington on Little Britain Road in Newburgh.

Dawn Wilkin, coordinator of the agency’s Preventive Services, said it was a fun day with close to 70 youths from the City of Newburgh Recreation Department’s summer camp and the Youth Empowerment Center participating.

 To read this story in the Times Herald Record. 

Advocates: NY Is Leader for Migrant Children

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

10669085_10154586624835494_235170907021392108_oBy VERENA DOBNIK

The Associated Press

“New York state is a national leader in helping thousands of unaccompanied migrant children who have fled Central America for the United States, but more funding is needed to give them a normal life, advocates told state legislators during a hearing last week,” writes Verena Dobnik this week for the Associated Press.

Organizations that provide shelter, legal, medical and social services urged lawmakers at a state Assembly hearing in Manhattan to bolster aid for these children. The Rev. Kevin Sullivan, who heads Catholic Charities in the New York diocese, said the state should invest about $24 million.

‘By investing under $4,000 in each of these kids, we think you can build a future and create thousands of new, productive New Yorkers who are going to be contributing taxpayers to New York state,’ he said.

Read the full story.

Fidelis Care Donates $624,000 to Help the Poor and Medically Underserved

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

_MG_6868-smFidelis Care, a partner with Catholic Charities Community Services for nearly a decade, presented a $624,000 to Catholic Charities on September 22, 2014 to further the two agencies’ aligned mission to serve the poor and needy of New York.

The grant, the largest Fidelis has ever given Catholic Charities,  was designated to strengthen families and support individuals in fiscal crisis and actively further the health status of indigent and medically underserved populations.  It was presented to Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities, and Talia Lockspeiser, associate director of Catholic Charities Community Services on September 22, 2014 by Pam Hassen, vice president of marketing and senior programs for Fidelis along with Marketing Director George Rodriguez and Marketing Vice President Mark Scofani.

“We believe your strategies will improve the quality of life for low-income individuals while strengthening your organization,” Cardinal Dolan, a member of Fidelis Care New York and Rev. Patrick Frawley, Fidelis Care New York President and CEO wrote in a letter included with the donation.

Fidelis Care is the not-for-profit New York State Catholic Health Plan, providing quality, affordable health coverage to nearly one million children and adults in 59 counties statewide. The mission of Fidelis Care is to ensure that every resident, regardless of income, age, religion, gender, or ethnic background, has access to quality, affordable health care provided with dignity and respect. Through partnerships with providers and local community agencies like Catholic Charities, Fidelis Care works to foster healthier futures for members and their families.

City Council Chooses Catholic Charities & Its Coalition to Represent Unaccompanied Minors

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Unaccompanied2Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan attended a New York City Council meeting today, September 23, 2014, as it earmarked a $1.9 million grant for Catholic Charities Community Services and its coalition of established service providers to give legal representation and other services to approximately 1,000 unaccompanied immigrant children facing possible deportation under a new accelerated court process.

The New York Times reported that:

The Council is to earmark $1 million,; the Robin Hood Foundation is committing $550,000, and the New York Community Trust, $360,000…

‘It’s a groundbreaking public-private partnership,’  said Melissa Mark-Viverito, the City Council speaker.

The accelerated process at the New York Immigration Court, informally known as the “surge docket” or “rocket docket,” began in August under a Justice Department mandate. The number of youth deportation cases has since swelled to 30 per day from fewer than 100 per month, overwhelming the legal groups that provide free screenings and legal representation to immigrant children in coordination with court officials.

The speedy deportation hearings are part of the Obama administration’s efforts to deter the illegal migration of young people from Central America. The federal goal is for children to go before an immigration judge within 21 days of being placed in the deportation process. Children could be deported within a few months, instead of years…

The $1.9 million will go to a coalition of established service providers, such as the Door, the Legal Aid Society, Catholic Charities Community Services and the Safe Passage Project. Mr. Weingartner said the Robin Hood Foundation would evaluate the program’s performance after 18 months.

Read more in The New York Times.

Wisconsin Parishioners Heed Pope Francis’ Call; Team with Catholic Charities to Comfort Lonely Children

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

blanketsBy Alice Kenny

With so much coverage of children fleeing their homelands to escape rape, gangs and abuse and arriving here in New York for help, sometimes we wonder with such overwhelming circumstances, how can we possibly make a difference.

Thanks to parishioners across the nation at St. Mary’s Visitation Parish in Elm Grove, Wisconsin, we have a simple answer.

It all comes down, they remind us, to comforting a child. And what better way than to wrap them snugly in a blanket made just for them?

The Wisconsin parishioners say they were inspired by a recent Catholic Charities NY blog post about a mass said by Cardinal Dolan and Msgr. Sullivan at Lincoln Hall, a Catholic Charities affiliated agency in Northern Westchester that shelters and provides social and legal services to some of the distraught unaccompanied minors who reach New York.  So children, teens and adults from the parish got together to design and make over 100 soft fleece blankets covered with children’s favorites — cartoon characters, Mickey Mouse and volleyballs —  to comfort lonely unaccompanied children arriving New York.  The parish is sending these handmade blankets to Catholic Charities for distribution.

The words that inspired these folks in America’s Dairyland to help came from Cardinal Dolan as he paraphrased our pope.

“Pope Francis said it so well,” Cardinal Dolan wrote on his blog, “when he reminded us that ‘this humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected.’

“And that is just what Catholic Charities, parishes, professionals and volunteers throughout the country are doing.”

Keeping City Children Safe

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

MPpeih4-3Mysj-X08CoFhv0bFlTeHKAUyzqll0TKfoUToday, a teenager will go to one of our community centers to play basketball instead of hanging out on the street after school. A child with a learning disability will have specialized tutoring. And a teenage mother will get the support she needs to finish her education, get vital parenting skills and improve her family’s life. This is just some of the work of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

Day Care to provide nurturing environments while parents go to school or work.

Foster Care for children who need temporary housing or as an alternative to institutional treatment for children with emotional or behavioral issues.

Adoption Services so a child can grow up in a stable, secure and loving environment.

After-School Programs that offer a balanced mix of academic support and sports, recreation, as well as arts and cultural experiences.

Summer Camps including sleep-away and day-camp opportunities.

Community Centers that host a variety of wholesome activities for children to play, learn and socialize.

Learn how we are positively impacting the lives of children in New York.

Catholic Charities Partners with State Leaders to Fight Immigration Fraud

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Watch this slide show of the event.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan joined New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. and others to showcase a comprehensive initiative launched by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to protect immigrants from fraud and exploitation on September 18, 2014 at the headquarters of Catholic Charities’ Division of Immigration and Refugee Services in Lower Manhattan.

Con artists posing as immigration attorneys or authorized immigration representatives victimize thousands of New Yorkers in our state each year by charging fees for immigration assistance services that are never provided. Commonly recognized forms of immigration scams include: false promises of permanent U.S. residency and citizenship; preparation of applications for immigration benefits by unqualified individuals or those engaged in the unauthorized practice of law; sale of immigration forms that are available for free; false impersonation of immigration officials; and unwarranted threats of deportation. At times, victims are so negatively impacted by these scammers that they permanently lose out on important immigration opportunities.

Governor Cuomo recently signed legislation to better protect immigrants living in New York from potential fraud or wrongdoing as they seek immigration-related assistance.

This comprehensive effort to fight immigrant fraud includes:

  • Launching a multilingual public service campaign warning immigrants against fraud
  • Signing legislation making it a felony to commit immigrant assistance services fraud 
  • Expanding the New York State New Americans Hotline (800-566-7636) operated by Catholic Charities to serve as a resource to coordinate immigration assistance fraud complaints, as well as offer service referrals
  • Helping local immigrant-serving not-for-profit agencies become federally accredited to provide certain immigration services by expanding free immigration law training
  • Strengthening enforcement against the unauthorized practice of immigration law by enhancing coordination between the Attorney General, District Attorneys’ offices, local government consumer affairs departments and federal agencies through complaint referrals

“Catholic Charities has long welcomed and protected the newcomer,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New York. “Through the New Americans Hotline, we continue to provide timely information and referrals for those needing a range of help: legal representation, family reunification and unfortunately, protection from exploitation.  This new law provides an enhanced opportunity for Catholic Charities in partnership with New York State to protect immigrants – always with dignity and compassion.”

Read more in the Village Voice.