Archive for the ‘Protecting and Nurturing Children and Youth’ Category

Expedited Immigration Hearings in NYC for Minors

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

A federal immigration court in Manhattan that usually deals with fewer than 100 new children’s cases a month is getting a lot busier, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Twenty-nine minors who entered the country unaccompanied by adults appeared Wednesday before Judge James Loprest, Jr., some with attorneys, others with family by their sides. Six-year-old Gabriela and her brother Brandon Lopez, 15, were among the minors hoping to be allowed to legally stay with family already living in the U.S.

The siblings participated in the first day of surge docket hearings at federal immigration court. The “surge docket” is an initiative by the federal government to help expedite the legal process for the more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors who have been processed into the system since October.

The minors are fleeing poverty, gang-violence and death, say advocates from the New York chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

AILA is one of five groups handling unaccompanied minor cases. The others are the Legal Aid Society and nonprofits Catholic Charities, Safe Passage, and The Door. The groups have been preparing for a surge in cases since they learned 3, 347 unaccompanied minors had arrived in the state since January. New York is second to Texas with the most cases.

Gabriela and Brandon needed to leave their home country to get away from extortionists, said their father, 35-year-old Emerson Lopez.

“I began to hear rumors that they were going start charging rent for each head,” Lopez said, referring to his children.

“In my home country, they call them ‘heads.’ They treat people as if they are cattle, and that’s when my wife and I made the decision to send for them,” he said.

Read the full story in the Wall Street Journal.

Find out more about the help Catholic Charities provides in the Latin Post.

In Court, Immigrant Children Moved to Head of the Line

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Yovany’s first opportunity to face the United States justice system came late on Thursday morning, more than a month after his journey from Guatemala ended in an American detention center near the Southwest border, reports Kirk Semple in The New York Times on August 14, 2014…

Yovany was among 55 children who have come before the judge this week as part of a new accelerated court process, a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s strategy to deal with the surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America…

Before the surge of unaccompanied minors became a crisis for the Obama administration, the immigration courts in New York, among the nation’s busiest, held four special juvenile dockets every month for children facing deportation. In coordination with court officials, a coalition of groups — including the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Catholic Charities Community Services, Legal Aid, Safe Passage Project and the Door — provided screening and free legal representation to the children…

Immigrants’ advocates in New York learned only at the end of July that the Justice Department had scheduled the new juvenile dockets starting this week. The groups, already overstretched, rushed to develop a plan of action…

The special dockets unfolded this week on the 12th floor of 26 Federal Plaza, a hulking federal office building near City Hall. The children, most accompanied by relatives, began to gather in the hallway outside Courtroom 31 by 8 a.m., an hour before the hearings were to begin…

On both days, Elvis Garcia Callejas, a representative from Catholic Charities, used a white board to present the families with a primer, in Spanish, on how the court works and on possible avenues of relief they might pursue to avoid a deportation order.

Most of the defendants appeared to be teenagers, although there were children as young as 4. Two young sisters wore matching striped dresses.

“The judge is not going to rule today,” Mr. Garcia Callejas clarified…

Justice Department officials said they had a mandate to ensure that children went before an immigration judge within 21 days of being placed in deportation proceedings. They plan to hold the special dockets as often as necessary to reach that goal.

Read the full story in The New York Times.

Catholic Charities Orange County Aces Golf Outing

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

timesheraldrecordgolf
The eighth annual golf outing held by Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County net $27,000, announced the agency’s Executive Director Dr. Dean Scher and the event’s Chairman Tom Larsen, Esq. Funds raised go directly toward supporting Catholic Charities’ programs and services in Orange County.

The outing, held at West Hills Country Club, a part of the Bonura Hospitality Group, in Middletown, brought in 109 golfers. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York was the event’s lead sponsor.

“The annual Catholic Charities outing is more than just a fun day on the golf course with friends and colleagues. It’s a way to lend a helping hand to the neediest in our community – the more than 24,000 people who access Catholic Charities’ programs each year,” said Larsen. “We are grateful for the support from our sponsors, golfers, raffle donors, committee members, and volunteers who generously donated time, talent, and funds to make our 2014 annual golf outing a success.”

Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County, one of the human service agencies of Catholic Charities of The Archdiocese of New York, is committed to building a compassionate and just society, serving the homeless, the hungry, the emotionally and physically handicapped, immigrants, the marginalized and vulnerable of Orange County. It collaborates with parishes and non-Catholic and Catholic partners and helps people of all religions who are in need.

For more information, visit www.catholiccharitiesoc.org.

Summer Retreat for Scholars — If You Call Volunteering a Retreat

Monday, August 11th, 2014

“It’s summer time when thoughts of most college-age students turn to kicking back at the beach,” reports Catholic New York in this recent article. But the archdiocese’s Pierre Toussaint Scholars decided instead to have a retreat the last weekend in June.

Photo by Leah T. Dixon

Pierre Toussaint scholars are graduating seniors from various schools in the Archdiocese of New York who demonstrate active involvement in a church or faith community. They also score high on academic achievement. And they demonstrate a commitment to serving others, similar to the scholars’ namesake, the Venerable Pierre Toussaint.

Mr. Toussaint was born a slave in Haiti in 1766 and died a freeman in New York City in 1853. He touched the hearts of many by living his life, he said, “to be an apostle of goodness to everyone he met.” He was instrumental in raising funds for the first Catholic orphanage, starting the city’s first school for black children, providing funds for the Oblate Sisters of Providence, (a religious community of black nuns), and raising funds to build the Old Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. With money he earned as successful entrepreneur he purchased the freedom of others instead of his own.

The retreat included a service component, in which the scholars decorated backpacks for Catholic Charities. The backpacks will be distributed to the children of refugees.

‘This is part of what makes me proud of this program,’ said Brother Tyrone Davis, C.F.C., executive director of the archdiocese’s Office of Black Ministry, ‘that we have some of our college students-leaders involved in Church and ministry and that they might continue to do so even after graduating.’

Read the full story in Catholic New York.

 

Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor Returns to Her Roots and Tells Bronx Kids to Dream Big

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Big Dream Event 1-2By Alice Kenny

Bronx-born Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor returned to her roots – and brought her friend and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton with her – to encourage low-income children participating in Catholic Charities Alianza Division summer programs including its Mosaic Day Camp and others to dream big.

The “Dream Big Day” event held at the Bronx Children’s Museum was part of a summer arts enrichment program aimed at inspiring children to dream, work hard and follow their passions.

To underline this point, the former secretary of state praised Ms. Sotomayor and her biography, My Beloved World.

“She tells the story of how as a child of the Bronx, she dreamed big and ended up on the highest court of the land,” Ms. Clinton tells the children seated on the floor around her, “She’s one of our heroes.”

In return for Ms. Clinton’s and Ms. Sotomayor’s inspiration – as well as the opportunity to meet two of the most famous female leaders in person, the day campers, ages 7 – 9, sang and danced performances they had been perfecting for weeks.

Then they hugged Ms. Sotomayor and Ms. Clinton and shouted their thanks.

Why Amanda Weber Runs For Team Catholic Charities: No Joke…Well, Maybe a Couple

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Amanda runningBy Amanda Weber

I have been a long standing admirer of Catholic Charities, inspired by the work they have done for Catholics and non-Catholics alike in the greatest city of the world. From finding people homes, to providing care and job training, to helping our city recover from Sandy, the significant impact Catholic Charities has had is undeniable. I am thrilled to be a part of it.

This is my first year as an “adult”, and while my family has been involved with Catholic Charities New York for some time, I wanted to make my own contribution to the honorable cause. When the chance to run in the marathon arose, I knew it was the perfect opportunity.

What better way than to leverage my athletic prowess? But seriously to me it is the opportunity to use a sport that I love and has helped me through the stress of exams (always running away from homework), my ice cream addiction, and the post college sports slump to contribute to a cause I truly believe in.

I knew it was going to be a commitment when I decided to run, and it certainly has been. There have been some struggles—phone down, hurting knees — but on any of those days when I struggled my family (Mom, Dad, JB, John, and Aimee) helped me through. They have been extremely supportive and encouraging. And I’ve even nearly gotten over the embarrassment of having an earlier “bedtime” than my parents in preparation for those 4:30am runs #oldperson.

Training has been underway for quite some time, but the initial excitement has not warn off. I am so excited to be a part of such an incredible event for such an amazing cause.

Got to run,

Amanda

Check out Amanda’s Crowdrise page and help her raise funds for Team Catholic Charities.

Cardinal Dolan Says Mass with Immigrant Children

Monday, August 4th, 2014


Check out this slide show

With unaccompanied minors serving as acolytes and filling the chapel, Cardinal Dolan celebrated mass on Sunday, August 3, at Catholic Charities affiliate Lincoln Hall.

These children who recently fled their homelands to escape violence and seek reunification with family members are finding safety at Lincoln Hall, a 19th-century mountain fortress whose history of protecting children alone and in need dates back to the orphans it took in during the Civil Wars

“Caring for the downtrodden, the outcast, the stranger among us, is part of our call as Catholics and we here in the Archdiocese of New York have been doing just that for more than 200 years,” Cardinal Dolan wrote in his recent blog post about the mass.

Every week, in cottages that dot a bluff at Lincoln Hall in Northern Westchester and in shelter facilities for unaccompanied youth across the area, Catholic Charities’ team of lawyers and paralegals encounters 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.

“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.”

Nonagenarian Celebrates Birthday Volunteering

Friday, August 1st, 2014

DSCF4004By Alice Kenny

Nonagenarian. What’s that?

And what kind of way is that to celebrate a birthday?

Well, for Virginia Suppies, our nonagenarian — AKA – she just turned 90 — volunteering at the Catholic Charities Ulster County Food Pantry was the perfect way to celebrate her big day.

Similar to Ms. Suppies – and her birthday party choice — the food pantry is special.  Located at 6 Adams St. in Kingston, N.Y. it is a full “Client Choice” food pantry.  Clients comb the aisles as if they were shopping at a mini grocery store, filling their carts with everything from canned goods to fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and poultry.

Volunteering at the food pantry is Ms. Suppies’ way of giving back, she says.  An added bonus is the friends she has made.

On her big day, the entire Ulster County Catholic Charities staff joined to wish her a happy birthday, share her ice cream birthday cake, give her a house plant and cheer as she tried on her newest gift and fashion statement, a Catholic Charities jacket.

“Virginia is one of our many dedicated volunteers that come to give their time and energy to help feed more than 1800 families in need, says Catholic Charities Ulster County Regional Director Tom Kelly. “She does it with care and compassion to everyone.”

Find out why Rusty McGranahan is running the NYC Marathon with Team Catholic Charities

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

20140622_135749By Rusty McGranahan

I have raced in a number of marathons and triathlons, including  two full Ironman races, but so far not one homeless person, research team, student or child has benefited from my narcissistic quest to stem the tide of middle age.

This year I am trying to be a little different and am proud to be running the New York City Marathon for Catholic Charities of New York.  I have always considered Catholic Charities to be a key part of the support system in all the cities they serve and the organization is a natural extension of my family’s active involvement with our parish and the Catholic schools my three children attend – St. Ignatius Loyola and Regis High School.

To up the ante, I am making two pledges to those sponsoring me in this effort:

1) I will personally match the first $1,000 in donations on my page, and

2) I will work like crazy to achieve one of my life time goals of finishing in under 3 hours.  (I have a lot of work to do on this one.)

I encourage all of my family, friends and colleagues to give something and give generously via the following link:

www.crowdrise.com/TeamCatholicCharities2014/fundraiser/rustymcgranahan

Children Walk with Dinosaurs – and Run as They Roar

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

dinosaurBy Alice Kenny

Children participating in Catholic Charities’ Alianza Highbridge Gardens Cornerstone Summer Day Camp walked with brontosauruses, T-rexes and fellow ferocious but, lucky for us, recreated life-size dinosaurs – and ran as they roared – during their camp trip last week to Barclay’s Walking with Dinosaurs show in Brooklyn.

The stopover in Brooklyn of 20 life-size dinosaurs’ was part of a worldwide, 217-city tour already seen by more than 8 million people.

The trip was one of many the children hailing from the low-income Highbridge section of the Bronx are taking part in during this free, seven-day-per week summer program. Their neighborhood, cut off from Manhattan not only by the unforgiving geography of the East River and the Major Deagan Expressway, has also been cut off by income, race and expectations.

Catholic Charities Alianza Division provides services for these youth ages 5 to 21 years old, promoting a world view that extends far beyond the streets where they live. We facilitate a free summer day camp, a middle school enrichment program, and evening teen lounge program where teens have a fun and safe place to hang-out at night.