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

Free Skilled Labor

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

guild anthonyAnthony Severo, Employment Coordinator for Catholic Charities Guild for the Blind and a member of the Brooklyn Chamber’s Ambassador Committee, wrote in Brooklyn’s Progress, about his success pairing visually impaired persons trained by the Catholic Guild with jobs at a local non-profit agency.

Here is an excerpt:

By Anthony Severo
Employment Coordinator, Catholic Guild for the Blind

Kim Fasano, Board Chair of Reaching-Out Community Services…attended one of our Work Readiness Workshops that I conduct, where she had the opportunity to meet our diverse clients and assess the skill sets they can offer…She became enamored with several of the group participants and felt their skills would be applicable at Reaching-Out Community Services…

As with most non-profits, there are budget constraints, but thanks to the contract the Catholic Guild for the Blind has with the New York State Commission for the Blind, we were able to set up two Work Experience Trainings.

This program allows for our visually impaired clients to gain experience or re-acclimate themselves to work, while also providing assistance to an organization at no cost.  During the 260 hours the person is interning, he or she is on the payroll of the Catholic Charities Community Services and is covered by our worker’s compensation and short-term disability.

This literally creates a “win-win” scenario.  The non-profit in this instance can get more work accomplished without impacting their budget, while our clients attain real world work experience and the chance to prove how capable visally impaired people really are with and without assistive technology – which we supply if needed…

Read the full article online.

Looking for a trained, qualified intern free of charge? Call Catholic Charities Guild for the Blind:  646-794-3337


The Best Way to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

By Alice Kenny

Stand up against stigma today, May 7, 2015,  National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.

There are few things sadder than a child struggling with mental health. Yet far too many face this struggle.

Did you know that:

  • One in five children has a seriously debilitating mental disorder? (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Please remember that if you or someone you know is fighting mental disorders, you are not alone.  It is nothing to be ashamed of  and we are here to help.

Our Catholic Charities affiliate, Astor Services for Children and Families, is renowned for the mental health services it provides.  In fact, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray met with Astor staff on April 29th to discuss the value of its services and the experiences of her daughter who suffered from depression.

Check out Astor’s website and Facebook page for suggestions on how to improve your mental health.

If you have any questions or need immediate information, contact Astor by e-mail or by calling (845) 871-1117.

Join us as we proclaim that there is no health without mental health.

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.

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.

Blind Woman Breaks Barriers

Friday, April 17th, 2015

L-R Leon Stallone (Compass USA), Anthony Severo and Alexandria Daly

By Alice Kenny

A former secretary who lost most of her vision, Alexandria Daly has been breaking barriers for much of her adult life.

Now, thanks to teamwork kicked off by our Catholic Charities Guild for the Blind office on the 6th floor of our main office building at 1011 1st Ave. and the cafeteria on the 9th floor, Ms. Daly is living – and working – her dream.

She landed a job as deli cook for the exclusive Dalton private prep school in NYC.

This is a huge achievement, particularly because it employs the visually impaired in the  sharp-knived, hot-stoved food service industry.  Employers often worry that people with visual challenges will injure themselves.  But the injury rate for people with visual impairments has been shown to be no greater than that of the general population.  They have to be more careful by necessity.

The NY State Commission for the Blind and the Metropolitan Placement Consortium acknowledged this  achievement at their annual Breaking Barriers Awards Luncheon held at Baruch College on March 27, 2015.  The event honored Compass USA, the parent company of our 9th cafeteria, along with Catholic Charities for their successful partnership helping Ms. Daly achieve her dream.

Their success story kicks off with Anthony Severo, an employment specialist for Catholic Guild for the Blind.  When he learned from Ms. Daly, a recent graduate of the Culinary Technical Institute, about her goal of moving from secretarial work to food service. He rode the elevator up to meet with Thomas Knipe, chef manager in the building’s cafeteria.  Although Mr. Knipe had no open positions, he spoke with Ms. Daly for more than an hour.

He was so impressed that he shared with her and Mr. Severo job openings at Compass USA.

Not one to wait, Mr. Severo immediately sent Ms. Daly’s resume to the three positions that interested her most.  They received responses the same day.  Ms. Daly’s top choice, agreed to interview her the next day.

“Needless to say, Alexandria aced the interview,” Mr. Severo said.

The rest is culinary history. Ms. Daly successfully passed her 90-day trial period.  She now has union benefits.  And she is saving money to one day open her own restaurant.


What Is Hope?

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
“There’s always hope that there is something better in life.”

Every year we share what hope means to us during the Easter season.

This year we want to know what hope means to you.

Many New Yorkers we met already helped us take on the challenge.

You can, too.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing stories of hope on Facebook.

We’d love to know what you think it means. Send us your photos on Facebook or Twitter by mentioning Catholic Charities NY or using hashtag #WhatIsHope.

You can also email us at

Cardinal Egan

Friday, March 6th, 2015


Today we say adieux to Cardinal Egan.   While we will miss him greatly, we wish him well in his new heavenly home.

Much has already been said and much more will be written on the occasion of his death yesterday at age 82.  Let me share a few items from the perspective of Catholic Charities that may not have been captured elsewhere.

My words are understandably biased.  Cardinal Egan appointed me as Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York shortly after the tragedy of 9/11.  I was privileged to work together with him.   Here are some of the reasons I think he deserves  appreciation for the time he served as Archbishop of New York

He visited our Catholic Charities agencies and programs, meeting regularly and consistently with the people we help and those doing the helping.  Because he was warm and caring with them, all left feeling uplifted and supported, both with the difficult lives they lived and the difficult work they did.   Thank you, Cardinal Egan.

He built the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities,  a dedicated and generous group of New York leaders who undergird  and oversee the support we provide New Yorkers in need.  To attract these talented individuals he passed on his role as Chair of the Board to John Phelan, the former chair of the New York Stock Exchange.

In multiple ways Cardinal Egan encouraged generous philanthropic support for Catholic Charities.  One of his key initiatives involved his own Cardinal’s Committee of the Laity that he intentionally renamed the Cardinal’s Committee for Charity.  He directed the focus of this group of New York business and civic leaders to provide Catholic Charities with financial resources and counsel to amplify the services we provide and the number of people we serve.

To support partnership between the government and the charitable work of the Church he interfaced with officials in a quiet sophisticated way apart from the limelight.  When issues arose that could have damaged this partnership his efforts were effective in preventing actions that could have hurt poor and vulnerable New Yorkers of all religions.

It is also worth noting on this 50th anniversary of the equal rights march from Selma to Montgomery Cardinal Egan’s  presence during the tumultuous sixties in sharing our Church’s vision for the common good.   He was a regular participant with clergy in Chicago, one of  America’s major urban centers, as they worked to overcome racial and social injustice.

In short, Cardinal Egan effectively supported, blessed and encouraged growth of the fair and charitable work of the Church. During his tenure, the 90 affiliated agencies of the Catholic Charities federation grew from providing $500 million to $750 million of services, support that provides help and creates hope for all New Yorkers in need.

And so, again, adieux, fair well, and thank you.  Cardinal Egan, please keep in mind in heaven the needs of those of us still here below – especially, those for whom Catholic Charities provides help and creates hope.

– Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

Catholic Charities Lobbies Albany in the Front Rooms, Face to Face

Friday, February 13th, 2015

albanyselfiesBy Alice Kenny

Battling nearly a foot of snow, Catholic Charities New York representatives organized a show of force in Albany on February 9 – 10 to persuade state leaders to expand Governor Cuomo’s proposed plan to combat poverty.

They joined local Catholic Charities affiliated agencies along with the New York State Council of Catholic Charities Directors that represent all eight dioceses across the state.

The troops maximized their strength on these two frigid days by meeting with every human services chair person in both houses of the legislature and with representatives from the governor’s office.

Their goal, to battle back inequality, was overwhelming.  But their plan to fund it was simple.

New York State received more than $5 billion in recent settlements with banks accused of misconduct.  Surely, they reasoned, a significant percentage of this windfall should be earmarked for the one out of five impoverished families in New York State.

Catholic Charities requests included:

  • Amplify the Governor’s proposed program to target investments in capital projects to improve the quality, efficiency, accessibility and reach of nonprofits serving New Yorkers
  • Provide adequate funding for vulnerable populations including foster children served by Medicaid Managed Care
  • Increase funding for post adoption services and child welfare agencies
  • Address soaring rates of homelessness and hunger by increasing funds for supportive housing, homeless prevention services, emergency food and outreach programs
  • Raise the minimum wage and expand the Unemployment Strikeforce to help the unemployed find work
  • Push back recent cutbacks in services for the physically and emotionally challenged by providing significant funds for permanent and supported housing
  • Help undocumented immigrants become taxpaying members of society by enabling them to apply for state college tuition and education tax credits; expand the Office of New American Opportunity Centers that provide immigrant services and increase funds to help unaccompanied minor children seeking to reunify with family members.

“Thank you for assisting all of us to give voice to the needs of those who are poor and most vulnerable,” Catholic Charities Diocese of Buffalo Director Sr. Mary McCarrick said to Luz Tavarez-Salazar, Catholic Charities NY’s Director of Government and Community Relations who helped organize the event.  “Now we pray those voices will be heard by our New York State government.”

Check out these event photos on FaceBook.