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

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

 

More than Just BBall

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

image1By Alice Kenny

Children from “small fries” (short for first and second graders) to “elites” (high school juniors and seniors) just learned last week whether they won CYO’s annual Art and Essay Contest.

Prize winners haled from throughout the New York archdiocese, from Staten Island, through the Bronx, over to Rockland County and all the way up to Dutchess.  Their art depended on their inspiration, from scribbled smiling suns to detailed landscapes and profiles.

And their essays focused on the hot topic of social media – does it bring us together or make us more alone and how can it be used to improve our communities?

Answers were surprisingly insightful.  One contestant, for example, said social networking reconfigures our need for our relationship with God.

Deja George from St. Francis of Assisi School in the Bronx grabbed first place in the essay contest.  Kaitlyn Piotrowski from St. Mary’s School in Dutchess came in second and Kyle Mangan of St. Claire of Assisi School in the Bronx took third. Way to go, CYO!

Three Ways to End Hunger Now

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

St. Cecilia’s parishioner, Guadalupe Merino, writes a letter to Congress as daughter, Joyce Merino, naps in her arms.

About a hundred people from nonprofit organizations and churches in New York put pen to paper last month and wrote letters to their member of Congress, urging them to reauthorize the child nutrition bill, writes Margaret Tran, a regional organizer at Bread for the World.

Catholic Charities and Bread for the World organized an Offering of Letters at St. Peter’s Church and New York Catholic Youth Day, both in Yonkers, and at St. Cecilia’s Church in East Harlem. Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland County in Haverstraw plans to host one in the future.

It is vital that Congress hears from their constituents, especially since over 16 million children in the U.S. don’t always know where their next meal is coming from.

This fall, the legislation that funds child nutrition programs will expire. The bill funds five major programs: National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Summer Food Service Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the WIC Program. These programs serve roughly 40 million adults and children nationwide.

1. New York high school students were busy during New York Catholic Youth Day. They were simultaneously involved in a Feeding Our Neighbors food drive (cosponsored by Catholic Charities) and an Offering of Letters. The students and their youth group leaders donated hundreds of pounds of food to local pantries and wrote letters to members of Congress, urging them to support the child nutrition programs.

Youth groups were eager to write letters since they personally know students who struggle with hunger and depend on school meals every day as their only source of nutrition…

2. The senior leaders of the various ministry groups at  St. Cecilia’s also participated in an Offering of Letters… Flor Abad, case manager for Catholic Charities Community Services at St. Cecilia’s, said he was pleased that all the leaders were enthusiastic about advocacy since so many in the community are struggling.

“At St. Cecilia’s food pantry, I see families in need. I hear people who have 5, 6, 7 children in the house and don’t have food,” Abad said.

3. Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland County(CCCSR) will host a future Offering of Letters that will engage youth from county parishes to write letters to Congress. The goal will be ambitious – 1,000 letters ahead of CCCSR’s annual September hunger awareness action event.

“Policies and community efforts to increase access and provide education and resources is needed. Our goal is to build a greater sense of community awareness and build an advocacy group to end hunger,” said Martha Robles, executive director of CCCSR.

Read the full Bread for the World blog post.

Find Out the Best Way to Celebrate Mother’s Day

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Today a mother ignores her own hunger to feed her child.  She waits on line for donated clothes and alters them so her child can shine.  She foregoes sleep to work a second job that barely pays the bills.

These are just some of the sacrifices mothers make for their children. All over New York, mothers are working tirelessly so that their children can have opportunities they themselves may have only dreamt of.With Mother’s Day drawing near, we invite you to honor a wonderful woman — your own mother — by supporting mothers and children in need.

Their future and the future of their children can be brighter thanks to your support.

Personal Stories About Growing Up in Foster Care

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

By Alice Kenny

After growing up in foster care, Patricia Yates, now 29, says she gained not only sadness but also strength from the challenges she faced.  She draws on this to work as a case manager helping others in need.

“It was difficult growing up without my biological family but I made it with a lot of loving people that saw my potential,” she says in this just-released video by Cardinal McCloskey Community Services, a Catholic Charities affiliate that helped her and fellow children and families in need.

“What it offered,” adds Nerine Hastins, another former foster-care child helped by Cardinal McCloskey, “was it gave me the chance to be the person I am.”

The agency’s success is so great that Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino recently proclaimed “Cardinal McCloskey Community Services Recognition Day.”

Watch Patricia, Nerine and four of their friends served by Cardinal McCloskey Community Services.

Find out why Westchester County named a day after this Catholic Charities affiliate.

Parallels Between My Jewish Faith & the Mission of Catholic Charities

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

meiraFordham University social work graduate student Meira Zack is completing an 8-month internship with Catholic Charities Community Services.

By Meira Zack

I am Jewish and interning here at Catholic Charities has been my first real exposure to Catholicism and its observances. What better place to experience it than the Archdiocese!

As a religious individual, I have always been inspired by the mission-driven attitude behind our work at Catholic Charities Community Services.  This meaningful connection was intensified for me by the period of Lent and the Lenten message repeated in multiple agency emails: “Forty days before Easter when, through prayer, sacrifice and helping others, we transform our Christian love into action.”

This message particularly spoke to me because it parallels the three-fold mantra of the Jewish High Holy Days “Teshuva, Tefeela, uTzedaka, ma’aveerin et ro’ah hagezayra – Repentance, Prayer, and Giving revoke the evil decree.”

It inspired me to meditate on the messages of Teshuva, Tefeela, and Tzedaka, and what they have meant to me in the context of my time here at Catholic Charities.

  • Teshuva/Repentance – repairing damage done and healing wounds between self and God and self and others.  At Catholic Charities Community Services, we repair the relationship between society and its vulnerable populations; we help clients repair damage done in their personal lives.
  • Tefeela/Prayer – faith in God, supplication to God, dialogue with God; communal prayer and solidarity.  At Catholic Charities Community Services we are in a unique position where clients may ask us to pray with or for them; where they may turn to us for religious inspiration and hope.
  • Tzedaka/Giving – giving of one’s self, time, and money.  At Catholic Charities Community Services, we not only give of our time and selves in the work we do every do with clients, but also of our own resources in raising funds for the St. Nicholas Project and pantry items for Feeding Our Neighbors.

The united messages of “prayer-sacrifice-helping others” and “repentance-prayer-giving” teach the same lessons of repair, giving, honesty and togetherness with a focus on God as inspiration, partner, and conduit for “providing help, creating hope, and upholding the dignity of each person as made in the image of God by serving the basic needs of the poor, troubled, frail and oppressed of all religions.”

This is the vision and mission of Catholic Charities.

A Thank You Note from A Once-Struggling Teen

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

shaquielleShaquille Vazquez, 19, and now a freshman at Onondaga Community College, credits Catholic Charities for getting him there.  Our Alianza division’s Innovation Diploma Plus High School Learning to Work program (IDP /LTW for those who like initials) provides the support challenged teens like Shaquille need to thrive. 

He asked us to share his thank you letter:

I was solely centered on friendship, girls and playing football but thanks to all of the people involved at the Catholic Charities Learning To Work program I realized that with that kind of mindset I was going nowhere.

As I remember all it took was attending a college trip with the LTW program. At first my advocate begged me to go, I thought that it was really I waste of time but the magic just happen, I felt in love with the college life. I saw myself in every student I had a chance to meet, and then I learned that I was qualified to apply to the school but there was a lot of work to be done.

The first thing I did was becoming a youth leader at the LTW College Access Youth Leadership Program, where I was able to learn and navigated college programming. All the trainings I  attended about college explorations, applications and financial aid process made it easier for my own, plus the support of the all the staff.

My experience at IDP/LTW has helped me grow as a student and more importantly to grow as a young individual.

I thank IDP and Catholic Charities Alianza LTW Program for welcoming me with open arms.

Bombarded by Tragedies?

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Photograph by Chris Ramirez PhotographerBy Alice Kenny

When one tragedy hits, other tragedies too often follow.  We lose a job and then have a tough time paying rent.  We need help with immigration but can’t explain ourselves clearly in English.  Our home floods and we lose our furniture and clothes as well.

Making things worse is the hard time we have when we try to navigate the systems that are supposed to assist us.

Catholic Charities is here help.  Our knowledgeable professionals can help you deal with overlapping problems and cut through bureaucratic red tape.

This can make the difference between getting the help you need and simply giving up.

Click here to find a Catholic Charities agency to coordinate the services you need.

Contact us through the Catholic Charities Help Line: 888-744-7900.

Executive Action Q & A

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

About 338,000 undocumented immigrants living in New York State may qualify for President Obama’s Executive Action on immigration reform.

YOU – or someone you know — may be one of them.

Q: Four Letters – What Do They Mean & How Can They Help?

A: The President’s Executive Action is still being fought in the courts.  If it goes through, these four letters – DACA or DAPA – could change your life.

  • Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)
    DAPA helps parents who arrived in the United States on or before January 1, 2010, and who have at least one U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident son or daughter. This allows immigrant parents to stay in the country, work legally for 3 years, and apply for travel permission.
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
    DACA helps immigrants who came to the United States before their 16th birthday and arrived on or before January 1, 2010. This program allows immigrants who qualify to stay in the country, work legally for 3 years, and apply for travel permission.

Q: Why are these programs important?

A: The U.S. government will not deport immigrants who qualify for either of these programs for 3 years. This promise is called “Deferred Action” and will be written on a Work Authorization card with your name and picture. Even though these programs are temporary, if you believe you qualify, continue to gather documents and evidence for your application.

Q:Too Complicated to Read – Time for a Face-to-Face

A: Several times each week, Catholic Charities and its partners in the Archdiocese and in the New York area offer free informational presentations.

For other events in the New York City area, visit the Mayor’s Offices of Immigration Affairs events page

Teens to Serve on NYC Community Boards

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Downtown Express photos by Dusica Sue Malesevic Teens interested in applying for community board positions debated the best way to spend $100 million of public money during an exercise in Borough President Gale Brewer’s office last Friday.

It had all the makings of a typical teen party — pizza and soda, excited chatter, and of course, young people, writes Dusica Sue Malesevic in Downtown Express. But it was no party, but rather a meeting to discuss a serious commitment that some adults would shy away from: serving on a community board.

And far from shying away, students from Catholic Charities’ Alianza Division in collaboration with the High School for Media and Communications, were active participants.

Each potential applicant took turns introducing him or herself, stating their age and their school or university…The meeting gave the teens the opportunity to learn community board basics and ask questions that are specific to their age and circumstances: homework, going off to college and working with mostly adults.

For 17-year-old Shirlyn Perez, a junior at High School for Media and Communications, to serve on a board is an opportunity that is “very appealing — not only because I get to contribute to my community but also learn a lot from it.”

Perez, who lives in Washington Heights, said she will definitely be applying to her neighborhood’s board, C.B. 12.

“It’s an exposure to many other things that we don’t get to experience at school,” she said.

Perez said she would focus on the issues of low undergraduate rates and drug use in her neighborhood.

Her classmate, Marleny Delarosa, 16 and from the Bronx, said she would also apply for C.B. 12.

“I care for my community so I’m interested in knowing what’s going on and what I can do to help improve it,” she said.

Read the full coverage in Downtown Express