Archive for the ‘Supporting the Physically and Emotionally Challenged’ Category

Blizzard May Trap Elderly

Monday, January 26th, 2015

By Alice Kenny

CAUTION:  Snow’s already falling sideways before Winter Storm Juno — scheduled to slam New York City by 1 pm and predicted the worst blizzard in the city’s history — has even started:

Catholic Charities is here to help.

Are you a homebound senior trapped inside by mountains of snow?

Catholic Charities, partnering again with the NYC Snow Removal Initiative, can pair you with volunteers to clear your driveway.

Important Precautions:

  • Commuter Heads up:  Metro North and the Long island Rail Road might shut down before Monday’s evening rush, Governor Cuomo warned in a recent statement.
  • Highways could close
  • Check out NYC Hazards: Winter Weather web pages for tips and information about how to prepare.
  • Get updates from the NYC Severe Weather website.
  • Get emergency alerts by signing up for Notify NYC.

Disabled Son & Abused Mom on Path to Self Sufficiency

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

 

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Wheelchair bound from the severe brittle bone disease he was born with, Edwin Zabala, 10, shares a single room with his mother and younger brother in a shelter for domestic violence survivors.  Edwin is about three feet tall with a round head nearly the size of his torso; his arms and legs are bent inward from frequent breakage.

His younger brother, Jorge, 6, acts as his protector during the rare times, other than school, that their mother feels it is safe to walk with them on the streets outside their shelter.  It is not that she is an overly-cautious mother.  It is that she knows, after witnessing Edwin’s bones crack again and again when they experience the slightest pressure, after seeing criminals hanging out on the tough streets outside and after enduring 11 years of abuse from their father, that the world outside their room for them is a dangerous place.

Thankfully, Dominican Sisters Family Health Services, a Catholic Charities affiliate, has made it safer.

Read their New York Times Neediest Case now.

 

Mother Gives Autistic Son Special Party

Monday, January 5th, 2015

andrewsEvery available surface of what, an hour earlier, had been an empty housing project community room had been decorated in the colors and likeness of Jamel Hunter’s favorite superhero, Spider-Man. There were Spider-Man balloons, cupcakes, a spider made of frosting on the birthday cake, even a homemade pin-the-tail-on-Spider-Man game.

The night was part party and part prayer, for it was a first for Jamel, 8, and his mother, Phyllis Atwood, 46, wanted it to be perfect.

Jamel has autism, and slight variations from his routines can be jarring, sending him into screaming fits or silent retreats to his own thoughts. The party was a huge leap. The volume of the music, the rows and rows of trays of barbecue and soft drinks and desserts, the brightly colored balloons — it was as if Ms. Atwood were making up for lost time, throwing him three or four parties at the same time.

Ms. Atwood, a single mother, is disabled from Blount’s disease, a condition in which the upper shin bone stops producing bone tissue; and failing kidneys that require she undergo dialysis three times a week. She had loaded her wheelchair with party supplies before making her way from their apartment to the party.

The family receives support and services from Kennedy Child Study Center, a Catholic Charities sponsored agency acknowledged as a leader in educating and supporting children with intellectual disabilities.

Read their full story published Christmas Day in The New York Times.

Christmas Hope for the Mentally Ill

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Decked in Santa caps, plates brimming with food and Christmas carols ringing in the background, mentally ill adults served by Catholic Charities Beacon of Hope Division celebrated the holiday season last week at the annual Beacon of Hope Holiday Party at the Epiphany Parish Hall on East 21st Street.

Some spoke and danced, some rocked and observed and nearly all chuckled as Cardinal Dolan showed off his Irish step-dance moves.

Beacon of Hope staff joined with Catholic Charities board members and volunteers from the national consulting firm, Deloitte, to celebrate the event. The Beacon of Hope Division of Catholic Charities Community Services is a residential program for approximately 436 individuals at 10 sites primarily in the Bronx, and on Staten Island.  Those served are seriously and persistently mentally ill adults; the program strives to enable them to live as independently as possible in their community.

“Beacon of Hope… taught me everything I need to know to basically live … on my own,” says Angela in this holiday video of the event.

Looking for a great way to kick off the holiday?

Watch this video now.

Opening Her Home to Disabled Children: A True Thanksgiving

Monday, November 24th, 2014

rodriguezLucky for the 40 abandoned New York City children that Josefina Rodriguez took in during recent decades and raised as foster children, this now 61-year-old woman loves children.  This is also lucky for Ms. Rodriguez’ oldest daughter, Hanny Casado, 40, who was born brain damaged and still lives at home.  It is lucky for Mia Rodriguez, 8, who Ms. Rodriguez took in as a foster child and later adopted.  And it is lucky for Natasha Rodriguez, 12, who Ms. Rodriguez also took in as a foster child and adopted regardless of the autism and mental retardation that make Natasha a more challenging child to raise.

Thanks to a wide array of support provided by Kennedy Child Study Center, an affiliate of Catholic Charities that assists children with developmental delays, this financially and emotionally stressed family continues to thrive.

“These are not real problems,” Ms. Rodriguez says when questioned about pressures she navigates every day.  “Problems are grave illnesses, when someone you love dies.  I have commitments, not problems, commitments to take care of my children.”

Read their story in The New York Times.

Young and Rubicam Teams Up with Developmentally Disabled

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

With breakaways, drop kicks and punts, eight volunteers from the international marketing and communications company, Young and Rubicam, teamed up with 20 developmentally disabled adults at Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Memorial Center gym earlier this month for a day filled with soccer drills and games.

Organized by Catholic Charities Director of Volunteer Services Staci-Jo Bruce, the event enabled volunteers to provide a meaningful day for the developmentally delayed adults, all passionate soccer players, served by Catholic Guardian Services, an affiliate of Catholic Charities.

Attacked & Blinded, Former Cab Driver Struggles to Care for His Family

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

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After fleeing ethnic persecution in Guinea, K. Arafan Koita was brutally attacked three years later while working as a livery driver in New York City.

Mr. Koita lost his vision in the attack, New York Times Reporter Corey Kilgannon reports in this just-published Neediest Case, but partly regained it after being hospitalized.

These days, Mr. Koita finds sporadic work delivering African art with a friend from Guinea, and hopes to get off public assistance so he can support and be a role model for his children, he said.

Left legally blind, he is haunted by a feeling of powerlessness when it comes to supporting his wife and three children.

Mr. Koita, who speaks French, also sought out the Catholic Charities Guild for the Blind, to improve his English, and for help resolving complications in getting social service benefits. He registered for computer training and for help finding a job.

The children share a tiny bedroom crowded with sagging beds that make sleeping uncomfortable, and the apartment has been without heat and hot water for two months. The landlord has been slow to respond, Mr. Koita said as he stood over a hot plate in the kitchen, where the family often heats large pots of water for bathing.

“I need to be strong,” he said. “For them.”

Read Mr. Koita’s full profile in The New York Times.

Help us help the Koita family and fellow courageous New Yorkers.

   

Biking with the Camels. Seriously.

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Dr. Dean Scher

Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County, NY joined forces this month with the Orange County Bicycle Club for the Ride With the Camels, a 10-to-61-mile ride through forested ridges and rolling farmland that celebrates open space in Orange County, NY.

The event was named after a large pasture that bikers pedal past filled with a herd of grazing camels whose humps remind them of the steep hills they tackle.  The camels were rescued after movie, advertising, and circus careers by the Sanctuary for Animals and live on the farm with hundreds of other rescued animals of different species.

The annual fundraiser netted more than $14,000 this year to benefit Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Sanctuary for Animals.

‘The annual Country Roads Bike Tour is a great collaborative event,’ Dr. Dean Scher, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County, said in a recent story about the event published in The Times Herald Record  ‘We are thankful for the support from the members of the Bike Club, the hundreds of riders who turn out each year, the volunteers who spend the day with us, and the sponsors who make generous in-kind and financial donations. It is thanks to this extraordinary coordinated effort that these three agencies will have a little extra cash in their coffers this year.’

Read more in The Times Herald Record

New Ladies of Charity

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of archdiocesan Catholic Charities, installs a new member of the Ladies of Charity of New York during the annual Mass and Affiliation Ceremony in the Lady Chapel of St. Patrick’s Cathedral Oct. 18.

“From the way the newly installed president of the Ladies of Charity explained the mission of the organization, there are thousands of potential Ladies of Charity in the world,” writes Juliann Dos Santos in this recent issue of Catholic New York. “They just may not know it yet.”

But 19 new affiliates now know it well as Catholic Charities Executive Msgr. Kevin Sullivan added their names to the rolls of this laywoman’s Catholic Charities affiliated organization committed to serve the poor at an installation Mass held in the Lady Chapel of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on October 18.

The president, Nancy C. Waters, who was also installed at the Mass and ceremony, was speaking of the type of work with which the Ladies of Charity are involved.

‘Whenever a woman offers tea or speaks to a lonely neighbor, stops to assist a homeless person or even holds a door open for a mother struggling with a stroller, she is acting as a Lady of Charity,’ Ms. Waters explained.

‘Life is filled with Lady of Charity moments,’ she said.

The organization itself was co-founded in 1617 by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. It also carries on the spirit of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Service is done in a Vincentian way of helping the poor and the marginalized materially and spiritually.

Read the full story in Catholic New York.

Interested in becoming a Lady of Charity? Call (212) 371-1011, ext. 2542.

Fighting Substance Abuse by Running the NYC Marathon with Team Catholic Charities

Friday, October 17th, 2014

By Tony Osborn

As a parent of a child that struggles with substance abuse, I understand the difficulties associated with it.

A substance abuser’s behaviors affect many things such as their home life, their careers and themselves.

The availability of self-help programs, such as the programs that are offered by Catholic Charities, that are designed to assist an individual in taking advantage of the gift of life are very important to myself and my family.  My family has benefited in many ways from these support programs meant to assist in coping with and breaking the cycle of drug addiction.  For this reason I would like to represent Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Catholic Charities in the New York City marathon.

“There is no such thing as an inconsequential life.”

Click here to support Tony.