Congratulations on the splendid work being done by the schools of the Archdiocese in educating the next generation!
Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio recognized that work in his visit to St. Francis of Rome preschool in the Bronx. Cardinal Dolan, Dr. Timothy McNiff, head of the Archdiocese Department of Education and Connie McCrory, director of Early Childhood Education were on hand to help bring attention to the topic of Pre-K expansion. Cardinal Dolan expressed his strong support while not endorsing any particular funding model and Mayor de Blasio expressed a desire to partner with the Archdiocese on this important effort.
It is worth noting that the Mayor specifically singled out the long and fruitful partnership with Catholic Charities agencies in providing for the critical needs of the people of New York. When it comes to Universal Pre-K, a number of Catholic Charities agencies are already providing great services and are prepared to expand. Yesterday’s event was a good opportunity to build on this partnership with New York City to provide help and create hope for those in need.
In addition, the proposed expansion of after-school programs for middle school children is another area where a number of our agencies are prepared to step up to the plate and expand service. Simply put, there is much opportunity to broaden the scope of our work and continue impacting the aforementioned next generation of students.
- Monsignor Kevin Sullivan
Archive for the ‘Protecting and Nurturing Children and Youth’ Category
Trading in their Washington Heights neighborhood for a tour of Washington, D.C., more than three dozen low-income teens checked out monuments and colleges in our nation’s capital during their recent winter break, thanks to Catholic Charities Community Services-Alianza Division.
The tour, funded through a grant from the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation and collaboration with the High School for Media & Communications and Catholic Charities Community Services-Alianza Division, offered the students a glimpse of a future outside their neighborhood, a reason to study, and a step-by-step outline of how to apply for and get accepted by top-tier universities.
The visit included stops at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington and Lincoln memorials, a tour of Georgetown, George Washington and Howard universities and photos and selfies in front of the White House.
The trip was one of – and many say the most fun – of numerous offerings Catholic Charities Alianza Division offers young people in the Washington Heights school community.
All the offerings share the same goal: to inspire students to dream big and give them the resources to make it happen.
High unemployment rates. High incarceration rates. Worst of all, sky-high murder rates among black men gunned down in their youth.
President Obama takes on these key issues in his just-announced “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, issues long-tackled by Catholic Charities.
This past month, for example, Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Center in Harlem held its third annual Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. basketball tournament. Run during the February schools break, it provided recreation during the winter recess to keep teens off the streets and inside a supportive environment.
Manhattan District attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (son of former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance. Sr). presented trophies and ribbon medals to the team members who are residents of Juvenal Justice System Homes. Each home comprised one team.
A special five-foot trophy was given to the one player who exhibited the best sportsmanship throughout the tournament.
The motto resounding through each of the five days was “Put down the guns, pick up a ball and recreate. ”
And that’s what they did. Each day different speakers addressed these youth with testimony and advise about how to survive adverse climates. Speakers included Inspector Rodney Harris, commander of the 32nd precinct, Deacon Rodney Beckford, director of Catholic Charities Community Services Kennedy Center and numerous officers from NYPD.
Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. (Stop Another Violent Act) that helped sponsor the event was founded by Jackie Rowe-Adams and fellow mothers who lost sons to gun violence. The group meets and holds events at Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Memorial Community Center.
“I didn’t have a dad in the house,” President Obama said when he announced the initiative named after the biblical phrase he often uses to share his belief that society must help those facing challenges. “I made bad choices…I made excuses, sometimes I sold myself short.”
The time to change the cycle is now, President Obama continued. His “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative will work with nonprofit agencies, churches and political leaders to fight back against the drum beat of violence and addiction that has plagued too many for too long.
Forget Twitter, Tumblr and the other social networks that have your kids sinking deeper into your couches. Now, thanks to a new partnership between Catholic Charities CYO and the Coca-Cola Foundation we are offering FitnessGrams and other fitness services to promote health – not to mention movement – among our parish youth.
The impact, not to mention the number of youth served, will be revolutionary. More than 24,000 children ages 5 through 17 from 225 parishes throughout the Archdiocese of New York will receive regular “FitnessGrams,”* updates that track their improved health thanks to a program funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation and incorporated by CYO. We already have participation in 100 schools stretching from the southern tip of Staten Island to Liberty, NY, 125 miles away.
CYO has provided meaningful, organized activities that engage our children in competitive sports for over 75 years. Now, thanks to this Coca-Cola grant, we have the means to provide feedback to children and their parents that participation in CYO sports serves as a foundation to lifelong fitness/wellness habits. It adds value to participation in CYO sports by making it clear that CYO is more than just sports. It is fitness.
Our participant pool that ranges from kindergarten to high school seniors already shows a meaningful impact in this first year of the three-year program. It proves that it is never too early to start educating about the importance of fitness or too late to make the change to a healthy lifestyle. The program has reinvigorated physical education teachers’ and school principals’ push in stressing the importance of healthy living.
CYO also plans to offer a lifestyle expert to educate 2,000 head coaches, 225 parish coordinators and seven CYO county directors about the key role nutrition on plays on healthy development.
Finally, FitnessGram assessments – already part of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program — will assess participants’ fitness levels, report the results to students, parents and administrators and educate our community on the importance of everyday activity and life-long health and fitness.
Yes a FitnessGram. Don’t be surprised when you hear from us soon.
By Alice Kenny
St. Valentine’s Day took on a Dominican flare for middle school-aged students in Washington Heights last week. Decked out in traditional Dominican costumes, the participants from La Plaza Beacon After-School Program acted out their own version of the 2014 Red Carpet. They also directed, worked as stage hands and videotaped this Oscar-inspired evening.
The night was the second annual event of its kind sponsored by La Plaza Beacon, part of Catholic Charities’ Alianza Division. During after-school hours, La Plaza Beacon’s school-based community center transforms a local school into a thriving neighborhood center. It provides a safe, supervised place where youth go for recreation, cultural activities, homework help and tutoring.
“Our participants were the center of the event,” La Plaza Beacon Director Leonardo Dominguez said. “We also took advantage of the event to recognize the work done for them in arts and craft, video, sports, technology, music and dance.”
By Alice Kenny
Yet another day of snow, ice and freezing rain. New Yorkers we know now face the choice of keeping warm or feeding their families.
They commute from food bank to soup kitchen as the Senate poises today to vote on still deeper cuts in the SNAP food stamp program.
For budget crunchers, these hungry children and families are just a number.
For us, they are folks we know, care about and serve.
We invite you to meet a few of the faces of hunger introduced by the Hunger Action Network of NYS.*
Family of two, a disabled grandmother and her granddaughter
We don’t get enough SNAP benefits to cover me and my granddaughter. We are so grateful for the food pantry. It helps us out a lot. Most of the money we have is from SSI, and it just cover bills to survive. There is no room for any extras.
Kim relies upon SNAP benefits, free lunch programs, food pantries, and church assistance in order to provide enough food for her family.
“If we didn’t have these programs, we would suffer a lot more than we do. The struggles from day to day would be a lot worse than they are. We try our hardest, because we know others have needs also.
Disabled, and living alone.
I receive food stamps and do not get enough to get through the month without this program. Food pantries have definitely subsidized my needs. Without these services, I would probably go hungry most months.
I am poor and disabled. My son lives with me, and grandkids are with me on the weekends. SNAP doesn’t stretch.
I am a divorced, diabetic woman. My 19 year old grandson lives with me.
I lost my job as an accountant for my town, because of tax cuts. My trailer is old and falling apart. My van is old and in constant need of repairs. I still have student loans which I have to pay, and my grandson has student loans as well. I have over $125.00 in medicine costs per month.
I get a small amount of SNAP, so I really appreciate the help from the food pantry. I hope to get HEAP this year.
Debbie’s household consists of herself and her boyfriend. She only gets food stamps and SSI, and her boyfriend was laid off from work. They depend on SNAP and the food pantry in Cuba as their primary food resources. Debbie feels that these services are “really good for helping anyone” in need.
There are ten in Katherine’s household, including five adults and five children. Three of the adults are on disability, and are diabetic. One of the children is a special needs child. One adult works full time in a minimum wage job, and another works two part time jobs. The household has many medical and car repair bills. They receive SNAP benefits, which helps them buy food for the children, and participate in local food pantry programming. The also get HEAP benefits, which help them heat their large house which has especially high heating bills in the winter.
“Without these services, we wouldn’t be able to keep everyone fed.
Jenn’s family consists of two adults and two children. Her daughter has medical issues, and needs a wheat, gluten, and corn free diet. Her food is, therefore, very expensive. Both Jenn and her daughter are disabled, and their income is limited. The only receive $80 a month for food stamps, and that doesn’t go far enough for all of their nutritional needs. They frequently find themselves out of food and Cuba Cultural Center’s food pantry helps them out a great deal. If they didn’t receive SNAP benefits and go to the food pantry, the children would be eating while Jenn and her boyfriend went hungry.
John is retired and lives alone. He has no central heat, no water, and only minimal electricity. His house needs a great deal of work. He is happy that he has a roof over his head and can be relatively warm.
“Everything, and I mean everything, has become so much more expensive. Being on minimal Social Security Retirement, and having severe arthritis makes it difficult and limits my options. The food pantry makes it a bit easier and give that ever important “hope” to live.”
Because of the food pantry, John doesn’t feel so alone anymore.
John does receive SNAP benefits, and looks forward each month to the day when those benefits come in. Food pantries provide John with “additional nutrition and eases the financial strain of purchasing groceries.” He describes his local food pantry as being “very much like a social gathering, a bringing together of community.” John feels this is “very healthy and healing for all involved.”
Tonya & Family
Tonya is a single mom with three young children. She is unable to work and is applying for disability. Life is difficult, and Tonya struggles every month to make sure that her children’s needs are met. They have benefitted greatly from SNAP, financial and food pantry assistance, and subsidized housing. Without these programs, Tonya would be unable to provide for her family.
These cuts would be in addition to $5 billion in cuts that went into effect on November 1st.
This means more cuts for the 1.8 million New Yorkers who rely on the program to feed their families.
Parents and children are already hungry since the last cuts just 3 months ago of between $30 – $50 per family.
Join us in helping those in need. Support our Feeding Our Neighbors campaign.
This united effort to fight hunger responds to Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s call that we all do our part to replenish the food pantries and soup kitchens that so many families in our community rely on to survive.
Feeding Our Neighbors, an archdiocesan-wide campaign to combat hunger, ends this Sunday, February 2, 2014.
Supported by parishes, schools and other organizations throughout the Archdiocese of New York and managed by Catholic Charities, Feeding Our Neighbors will use 100% of contributions to the campaign to support local food pantries that serve New Yorkers, non-Catholic and Catholic alike.
There is no time to wait.
New Yorkers are hungry.
Help us Feed Our Neighbors now.
Click here to donate through Catholic Charities and type “Feeding Our Neighbors” in the comments field.
Reading this on your cell phone? Text “CCHOPE” to 85944 to make a quick $10 donation.