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

Can You Tell a Story?

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

03_Guild for the BlindCan you tell an exciting “story” just by using words?

Xavier Society for the Blind provides books and periodicals on audio CDs for those who cannot read Braille or who prefer to listen to materials.

Work on your own schedule, out of your own home, any time in the day or night.

As a volunteer, you read books aloud using their home computers or personal digital recording devices with a headset microphone.

Materials and a style sheet will be sent to you. Programs and equipment (headset and microphone) can be supplied if needed.  Our IT Director will work with you to make sure the programs are properly installed.

Skill Needed:  Strong command of the English language.

Find out more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disabled Children Find Help

Friday, June 27th, 2014

0019_KennedyChildStC_09.04.08_BuckmanBy Alice Kenny

Today marks the second in our Summer Agency Series.  It spotlights some of the 90 agencies in our Catholic Charities federation that, day in and day out, provide help and create hope for New Yorkers in need.

Today, let’s take a look at the Kennedy Child Study Center.

In 1958 when children with developmental disabilities were often warehoused into institutions, the Archdiocese of New York established the Kennedy Child Study Center to instead provide them with learning opportunities.

One of the first programs in the nation of its kind, the Kennedy Child Study Center was initially funded by a grant from Rose F. and Joseph P. Kennedy in memory of their son, Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.

Sponsored by the Catholic Charities Alliance with locations in Manhattan and the Bronx, the Kennedy Child Study Center provides educational and therapeutic services for children with developmental disabilities and delays along with counseling and support services for their families.

Help a child with a developmental delay thrive and achieve.

Contact the Kennedy Child Study Center.

Blind Immigrants Tour Metropolitan Museum of Art

Friday, June 13th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

On June 6th one hundred and sixty volunteers from the national consulting firm Deloitte ventured away from their offices and gathered at more than a dozen separate site locations affiliated with Catholic Charities and its social service programs.

The combined effort of so many volunteers at so many different locations in a single day made a visible impact on those we serve. During the following weeks we will offer a glimpse at their adventures and at the large amount that together we can accomplish.

Blind, poor, many fleeing oppression from another nation and most barely able to speak English, 12 adults huddled around the red granite sarcophagus of Usermontu, the First Prophet of Muntu, and gasped.

“Oh, I love this,” said Lordina Osei–Ofori as a Metropolitan Museum of Art museum guide encouraged her to feel inside the 4,000-year-old coffin and search for inscriptions.

Most of the tour participants had never before been inside a museum. Yet here they were in the largest museum in the nation, the 10th largest in the world, thanks to Catholic Charities Guild for the Blind and navigational support from six Deloitte volunteers.

Watch our slideshow as together participants master city streets, subways and art.

 

Catholic Charities’ Martin Colavito Recognized for Outstanding Work Fighting Addiction

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Martin Colavito, director of prevention services for Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County, was recently recognized by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) as an OASAS O-STAR. This recognition goes to exceptional individuals who work or volunteer in the field of addictions, consistently perform at an outstanding level and make a difference in the lives of their fellow New Yorkers.

Colavito, who has been part of the Catholic Charities’ team for eight years, has worked in the substance abuse field for nearly 35 years.  He focuses predominantly on community organization, with an emphasis on substance abuse treatment and prevention – especially in inner-city neighborhoods. For the past five years Martin has concentrated his efforts on the City of Newburgh.

“We are so grateful to OASAS for recognizing the dedication and commitment of our friend and colleague,” said Dr. Dean Scher, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County.

Martin works at Catholic Charities’ Gateway Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Services on the grounds of Newburgh Free Academy. He also serves a key leadership role in the community outreach initiative TEAM Newburgh, a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach that addresses the issues of drug abuse and gang violence a project for which Catholic Charities serves as the lead funding agency. Using his experience as a community organizer, Colavito and his team have developed a highly effective partnership of more than 70 human service agencies, businesses, school personnel, community members, and elected officials to combat substance abuse.

Martin, along with TEAM Newburgh, has been successful in getting legislation on the table to remove drug paraphernalia from visible exposure in neighborhood stores and bodegas. He has been approached by human service agencies from around the nation that are interested in establishing programs similar to TEAM Newburgh.

“Martin has been a guiding light for the City of Newburgh and its residents,” Dr. Scher added.

Blind but Now I See

Monday, May 19th, 2014

‘Never in its nearly 90-year history had the National Braille Press undertaken a project as large as the one it completed in 2011,’ writes James Sullivan this recent Boston Globe article.

Creating a Braille edition of the 1,600-page “New American Bible,’’ with its freshly approved revisions by the US Catholic Bishops Conference, was something else entirely.

Commissioned by New York’s Xavier Society for the Blind, the full run, destined for private homes, consisted of 150 copies. To mark the occasion, a set was presented to Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in 2011.

An affiliate of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, Xavier Society for the Blind was founded in 1900 by the Jesuit priest, Rev. Joseph Stadelman, SJ, and a group of lay women as the only Catholic publishing house to make writings on religion and spirituality available to the blind.

One of its first major undertakings was to transcribe the Bible into Braille. It also became the first to transcribe the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church into Braille.

Now, as it receives U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approval, it adds Braille translations of Scripture, readings and prayers. By adding large print, records, audio cassette and most recently digital formats to its Braille offerings free of charge, Xavier Society for the Blind continues its pioneering mission of providing services so that those without sight may see.

Although the Xavier Society paid about $1,400 per copy to produce “The New American Bible,” these books are given away to families with a certified sightless person in the household, says Margaret O’Brien, the organization’s operations manager.

She adds that although mainstreaming of blind children into public schools, which began in earnest in the 1970s, served an undeniable social benefit, it significantly hurt Braille literacy. Literacy rates for blind students plunged from 50-60 percent to about 12 percent today, says National Braile Press president Brian MacDonald.

Meanwhile, with technological advances such as talking books and screen-reader software, students were being told they would no longer need to read Braille.

‘We know today that was a big mistake,’ said MacDonald.

Seventy-four percent of blind adults are unemployed, he said. Of those who do have jobs, the vast majority are Braille readers.

‘There’s such a strong correlation,’ he said. ‘Investing in kids understanding Braille is an investment in them becoming taxpayers, ultimately. That’s a big deal.’

Learn  more about Xavier Society for the Blind.

Find out about the breadth of programs Catholic Charities provides for people facing physical and emotional challenges.

Read the full story in the Boston Globe.

Catholic Church Aids Mayor’s Plan to Build Affordable Housing

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

“Catholic Church will aid Mayor de Blasio’s plan to add affordable housing,” reports New York Daily News Bureau chief Jennifer Fermino today, May 7, 2014, in the Daily News.

“De Blasio has turned to the Catholic Church for help with his plan to build 200,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years. The church will work with the city to create new affordable housing units and to preserve cheap apartments that are in use.”

Check out her full Daily News report below:

BY JENNIFER FERMINO

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF

Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 11:34 PM

Mayor de Blasio is turning to a higher power for help with his ambitious affordable housing plan.

De Blasio is banking on the Catholic Church to help him reach his lofty target of 200,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years.

The church, mainly through its wing Catholic Charities, will work with the city to create new affordable housing units and to preserve cheap apartments that are already in use.
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Catholic leaders have already offered up the former site of St. Augustine in the Bronx — a 162-year-old church that closed in 2012 and was demolished in December — and have meetings planned to redevelop as many as 10 other sites, said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, the executive director of Catholic Charities.

The site of St. Augustine’s alone could hold “somewhere” around 100 units of low-cost housing, he said.

Sullivan said housing is a basic human right, and helping people of all faiths find it is part of the church’s mission.

“Every person made in the image and likeness of God deserves a decent place to live,” he said.
In the past 40 years, the church has developed about 10,000 units of affordable housing in all five boroughs, he said.

It scouts suitable locations and then sets up non-profits to manage housing on the sites. Catholic Charities also repairs affordable housing units that have fallen into disrepair.

Read more online in the Daily News.

More than 6,000 units of affordable housing for financially strapped families, elderly persons and formerly homeless individuals have been developed in every borough of New York City thanks to the dedicated long-term commitment of parishes, clergy, religious communities, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Brooklyn and Queens and affiliated community-based organizations

Heroin’s New Hometown

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Heroin has hit the suburbs. Far too many of us are mourning the loss of children we once knew.

‘”The obituaries have a certain sameness to them,” write J. David Goodman and Michael Wilson in this week’s New York Times, “full of praise and regret for lives cut short, marked by telltale details and omissions. The deaths occurred at home, or at a friend’s house elsewhere on Staten Island. The mourned were often young and white, and although how they died was never mentioned, nearly everyone knew or suspected the cause.

“A 23-year-old man, a cello student in high school and the son of an elevator company vice president died in March. A former high school hockey player who delivered newspapers died in 2013 at 22. Another 23-year-old man who was working construction died at home in July 2012. Family members and autopsy reports revealed that they died from heroin or combinations of drugs including heroin.

“As the problem worsened, (gatherings began being) held at a nearby school, attached to Our Lady Star of the Sea, a Roman Catholic church on Amboy Road. Nearby, in the basement of the church rectory, a Pills Anonymous group meets.”

In Staten Island and suburbs throughout the New York Archdiocese and the nation, the scourge of heroin is tightening its grip. Thirty-six people died in Staten Island from heroin overdoses in 2012, reports The Times, the highest number in at least a decade. The death rate was higher than the city’s other four boroughs had seen in 10 years.

More than a dozen heroin-related overdose deaths occurred in northern Westchester and Putnam counties in the last year as well, reports the Ossining Daily Voice. Tragically, two deaths were reported just six days apart in small, suburban Cortlandt Manor.

Catholic Charities treats and supports those who are struggling to break the cycle of substance abuse. Far too often, substance abusers affect their families, homes, careers, and their health in ways that hurt others, as well as themselves. These programs are designed to touch all stages of the recovery process to assist an individual to become a functioning human being once again and take full advantage of the precious gift of life. Programs range from out-patient clinics and support groups to inpatient recovery programs. Support is also available to family members.

Are you or someone you know struggling with addiction?

To find a Catholic Charities agency that offers preventive services click here.

For more help, call our Catholic Charities Help line at: 888-744-7900.

Read the full story in The New York Times

“Let’s Get Started”: Catholic Charities and Archdiocese Stand Ready to Work With Mayor on Affordable Housing

Monday, May 5th, 2014

photoHis Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York and Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan applaud Mayor de Blasio’s just-announced $41 billion, five-borough, 10-year affordable housing plan to serve more than a half- million New Yorkers.

Called the most expansive and ambitious affordable housing agenda of its kind in the nation’s history, this plan to build or preserve 200,000 affordable apartments across all five boroughs was laid out today, May 5, 2014, by Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference at College Ave. in the Bronx. Mayor de Blasio pledged that the housing plan would reach New Yorkers ranging from those with very low incomes at the bottom of the economic ladder all the way to those in the middle class facing ever-rising rents in their neighborhoods.

“New York City’s current crisis of housing affordability threatens the basic human right to decent housing,” Cardinal Dolan said when he announced his support of the new housing plan.

“Since the 1960s, the Catholic Church in all boroughs of New York City, through parishes, religious communities, community-based organizations and Catholic Charities, has been at the heart of the development and preservation of affordable housing.

“I applaud the Mayor’s far-reaching 10-year plan to build and preserve 200,000 affordable housing units throughout our city, and the Church in all boroughs of New York City looks forward to continuing to work with NYC and Mayor de Blasio to help achieve this important affordable housing goal.”

The Catholic commitment to affordable housing in New York City is illustrated by over 50 years of experience constructing, preserving and rehabilitating housing for the poor, the low income working families, seniors and persons with special needs.

Through the dedicated long-term commitment of parishes, clergy, religious communities, Catholic Charities and affiliated community based organizations more than 6,000 units of affordable housing for financially strapped families, elderly persons and formerly homeless individuals have been developed in every borough of New York City.

To emphasize this support, Msgr. Sullivan spoke in person at the mayor’s press conference today.

“Housing is a basic human right,” Msgr. Sullivan said. “The dignity of the human person – made in the image of God – is threatened when an individual or family does not have adequate housing.”

Msgr. Sullivan provided examples of the Church’s past, present and future commitment to affordable housing. They include Highbridge where for the past three decades Msgr. Sakano and Jorge Battista have rebuilt a neighborhood with almost 2000 units of housing. They include over 4000 units of affordable housing for seniors, families, the formerly homeless and persons with AIDS/HIV built under the leadership of Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens including Bishop DiMarzio, Robert Siebel and John Tynan. And they include 3000 units of housing built and preserved by religious communities such as the Ursalines and Dominicans and the Sisters of Charity, Church-related community organizations and leadership of Msgr. Jenik, particularly in West Farms and Bedford Park.

“Less than a mile to the east on the Franklin Avenue Hill there is property that has been St. Augustine parish’s sacred worship space spanning three centuries,” Msgr. Sullivan added. “That worship community, though still vibrant, has become smaller and now worships in a neighboring parish church.

“That Church building was razed to prepare the site for affordable housing. It stands ready to be part of this initiative. This site will remain a sacred space because on it individuals and families will have a decent place to live, fulfill their potential and raise their families. Here human dignity will be honored and this space held sacred (by creating affordable housing for non-Catholics and Catholics alike.)

“Mr. Mayor, thank you for this initiative. Let’s get started.”

Want to Volunteer but You’re Tight on Time?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

We have tons of volunteer opportunities you can do from home.

Want to flex your artistic muscles? 

We’re looking for volunteers to create paint-by-numbers style images.  We’ll transfer your images to large canvases and get fellow volunteers to fill in the colors.  When we pull the painted canvases together – voila! – we have beautiful murals that brighten our sites serving folks in need.

How about your hospitality muscles?

We need volunteers to pull together hospitality kits for folks newly arrived in the U.S.. Like hotel welcome kits on steroids, they may include in toothbrushes, soaps and other toiletries, cleaning supplies, subway maps, granola bars and other ingredients you want to pop in to welcome and help folks get their bearing.

Similarly, we’re looking for housewarming gift bags to welcome some of the 440 individuals with mental illness we serve who are moving, many for the first time in their lives, into their own supported housing home.

And here’s an opportunity to bring out your inner Martha Stewart.

Help create We-Care cards to express love, support, and encouragement for those who are struggling.  Add your own personal messages of hope and cheer such as “Welcome to New York!” “Good Luck on Your Interview!” or “Happy Easter!”

 

Join us at Catholic Charities and vol-un-teer; [vol-uhn-teer] VERB: 1. TO PROVIDE HELP 2. TO CREATE HOPE

It’s NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK – Let’s Celebrate!

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Two Ten Footwear Foundation paint murals to brighten group homes for the mentally ill.

By Alice Kenny

It’s National Volunteer Week, April 6-12, 2014, our opportunity to celebrate our volunteers’ dedication in helping others and encourage others to join the movement.

And while this is Volunteer Week, here at Catholic Charities, where the breadth of the services we offer depends on giving volunteers, every day is Volunteer Day.

We already have celebrations scheduled for our Refugee Resettlement and International Center volunteers on April 22 at 80 Maiden Lane.  And our Alianza division that provides artistic outlets for teens will hold their volunteer celebration on April 24 at La Plaza Beacon.

Join us in celebrating our wonderful volunteers.

Join us in helping change lives.

Getting started as a volunteer is as easy as 1-2-3.

Step One:
Browse our site

Step Two:
Sign up for an orientation.

Step Three:
Roll up your sleeves and join us.