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

Meet Laddie, Our Latest Volunteer

Monday, March 31st, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities Staten Island Senior Center just hired Laddie Boy, our latest and likely best-ever volunteer.

The therapy dog passed a stringent interview process, correctly responding to a demanding series of Q and A’s:  “Sit” (and Laddie sits); “Down” (and Laddie lies down); “Stay” (Well, you’ve got the idea.)

Highly trained and a real people ..err.. dog person, Laddie is part of the Angels On A Leash program,* clocking in his hours at the senior center.

Staff members Marni Caruso and Lisa Harrison say they enjoy getting to know Laddie – as he literally sniffs things out — to make sure he is a good fit.

Needless to say, it was an amazing experience watching him meet clients, they added.  The positive energy and excitement generated make them sure he is the perfect for this group.

Moreover, they look forward to consistent visits…and Laddie looks forward to consistent pets and treats.

*Angels On A Leash

Catholic New York Editorial: More Feeling Hunger’s Effects

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Msgr. Sullivan at St. Jerome’s food pantry

The numbers are shocking, writes Catholic New York in this recent editorial:

 In just five years, the number of New York City residents who depend on food pantries and soup kitchens has shot up to 1.4 million. That’s 200,000 more than in 2008      and it accounts for one-fifth of the city’s residents

And contrary to popular perception, the vast majority of those battling hunger are not the homeless.

They’re older women, they’re working families, they’re children and they’re veterans.

The appalling statistics: 1 in 5 city children live in food scarce homes; 1 in 6 city adults live in food scarce homes; 11.5 percent of people over 60 don’t have   enough food, an increase of 33 percent since 2008; 64 percent of people relying on the city’s food pantries and soup kitchens are women; 95,000 food recipients are     veterans.

The hunger crisis, and it is indeed a crisis, was spotlighted in lengthy and detailed coverage this week in the New York Daily News, which also pointed out the strains   placed on the charitable agencies, many of them Catholic groups, who run the city’s network of some 1,000 food pantries and soup kitchens.

   Catholic New York

 

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of the Archdiocesan Catholic Charities, told the paper that people are turning to us for emergency help because it’s so hard for them to find jobs, or decent-paying jobs. Many, he added, don’t have enough to pay rent and to eat.

To lend an immediate hand and get personal insight he can share with legislators, Msgr. Sullivan is making the rounds, rolling up his sleeves and helping out at local food pantries affiliated with Catholic Charities.  Last week he volunteered at St. Jerome’s pantry in the Bronx.

“It’s an astounding surge in need,” he said.

Read the full editorial in Catholic New York.

 

March Is Social Work Month

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

March is Social Work Month, a time to recognize and honor social workers who provide help, create hope and help rebuild lives.

At Catholic Charities we are fortunate to have great social workers, case managers and other leaders dedicated to solving the problems of New Yorker’s in need.

On what we are calling “Social Work Wednesday” we invite you to meet this week another of our case workers, learn about what she does and see why she finds her career rewarding.

Nancy Cabrera – MSW

Q: How long have you worked in the field of social work?

A: I’ve worked in this field for 20 years.

Q: What does “social work” mean to you?

A: Social Work means to me to advocate, empower, empathize and fight indifferences.

Q: What do you like most about your career?

A: What I like most about my career is the satisfaction of making a difference in people’s life.

 

Disabled Teens Take Their Turn Changing Lives

Friday, March 14th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

In a classroom decorated with primary-colored posters detailing how to tell time, multiply and “Follow Your Conscience,” teens with various disabilities from St. Dominic’s School packed boxes with donated food to support Catholic Charities “Feeding Our Neighbors” campaign.

“A lot of these children feel disconnected,” said St. Dominic’s Principal Paul Siragusa. “Helping feed the hungry makes them feel they have an impact on society that they never before could have dreamed of.”

And the 80 students, ages 5- 21, had a major impact. Together they took on the entire food drive, from making posters to studying foods’ nutritional values to soliciting donations to preparing food for distribution. All told, the students collected 500 pounds of food, enough to provide the hungry with 625 meals.

Some of the financially less fortunate children contributed as well, which, Mr. Siragusa said, “was worth more than an adults bringing in an entire bag.”

Located in Rockland County’s rolling hills, St. Dominic’s School provides targeted learning for children with special needs. Its intimate size, including two instructors for every eight students, is balanced by its large reputation. St. Dominic’s draws children from New York City, Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties whose needs are too great to be met by their local schools.

The school is part of Saint Dominic’s Home. This nonprofit Catholic social welfare agency affiliated with Catholic Charities is dedicated to meeting the educational, physical, social, emotional, medical, vocational and spiritual needs of 2,300 individuals who are developmentally disabled, socially disadvantaged and/or vocationally challenged.

Founded in 1878, Saint Dominic’s Home began as a safe haven for immigrant children who had been abandoned on the streets of New York City. Today, St. Dominc’s Home provides person-centered care for individuals with developmental disabilities in the Bronx, Orange and Rockland counties so they can live their lives with hope and dignity in a family-like setting. It prepares and supports foster parents so they can give children, who often have been neglected, abused, or abandoned, a brighter future and a loving home and family. It delivers a continuum of care to adults with mental illness and provides them the greatest level of independence. It grows the minds of disadvantaged preschoolers so they are motivated to excel. It gives children and youth with developmental disabilities and serious emotional disturbance living at home the opportunity to live in a more stable family environment.

And, through St. Dominic’s School, it enables children facing emotional and educational challenges to reach their potential.

The food drive, Mr. Siragusa said, has served as a springboard for a variety of activities. Students now participate in “Letters to the Heroes” where they write letters to soldiers thanking them for their service. They also take part in “Operation Goody Bag,” sending candy and homemade Valentine’s Day cards to first responders.

Despite their personal challenges, the students have learned, Mr. Siragusa said, that “there is always something they can do to help someone else.”

Learn more about St. Dominic’s School and Home.

Lott Seniors Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Catholic Charities Junior Board members partied with seniors at Catholic Charities’ Lott Residence, a home for the elderly in Harlem, in celebration of Mardi Gras.

They danced to a wide range of Bayou beats, feasted on fruit platters, and threw beads while their faces were masqueraded.

“This was a great opportunity for Junior Board members to socialize with our friends at the Lott Residence and spend time with those who are eager to share their stories and listen to ours,” said Catholic Charities Junior Board Member Kellen Dougherty.

“Although our friends at the Lott live in an assisted living facility, the amount of energy and joy that emanates from these residents is incredible, and an inspiration to all of us on the Junior Board.  We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Lott so we can maintain and strengthen the friendships we have made with so many residents there.”

The event marked one of dozens of volunteer opportunities available this Easter season.

Check them out; Join us and let the good times roll.

Catholic Charities Gala Honors CIT Group Chair, General Maritime Founder & the Altman Foundation

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Peter C. Georgiopoulos & John A. Thain

Peter C. Georgiopoulos & John A. Thain

His Excellency Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan and the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York will honor John A. Thain, Chairman and CEO, CIT Group Inc. and Peter C. Georgiopoulos, Founder and Chairman, General Maritime Corporation at its Gala Benefit at The Waldorf-Astoria on Wednesday, February 26 at 6:30 p.m.

A special recognition will also be given to the Altman Foundation. Altman will receive the Catholic Charities Good Neighbor Award for their long standing commitment to and support of the mission of Catholic Charities.

“Our annual gala continues to be a vibrant display of collaboration with New York’s generous business community to provide help and create hope in the lives of our neighbors who need a helping hand,” said Executive Director, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan. “Our ability to help New Yorkers in need – non Catholics and Catholics alike – and to build a more compassionate and just New York is writ large because of the partnerships Catholic Charities forges with both business and government. This event highlights the critical and effective role Catholic Charities plays in building a better New York.”

The Catholic Charities gala will once again convene a dynamic group of New Yorkers from the worlds of business, philanthropy, culture, fashion, law, media, politics and religion who share a deep concern for the well-being of New Yorkers in need. The event raises more than $2 million annually.

Pat Battle, anchor for NBC4 New York, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. Award-winning actress, singer and dancer Sutton Foster, who held leading roles in several Broadway productions including Thoroughly Modern Millie, Shrek: The Musical and Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, will perform live.

Honoree John A. Thainhas enjoyed a distinguished career in the financial services sector and continues to be a leader in the field. Before joining CIT Group Inc. as Chairman and CEO in 2010, he served as Chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and previously served as CEO and a director of NYSE Euronext, Inc. and President and COO of The Goldman Sachs Group, L.P. He is a member of the MIT Corporation Board, the Dean’s Advisory Council of MIT/Sloan School of Management and the U.S. National Advisory Board of INSEAD. He also serves on the Board of Managers of the New York Botanical Garden, is a member of the Board of Directors of the French-American Foundation and is a trustee of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

“I have long been impressed by the dedication and commitment of Catholic Charities and their efforts to provide food, shelter and comfort to those most in need,” said Mr. Thain. “This evening offers us an opportunity to recognize their work and will help ensure that they have the necessary resources to solve the problems of New Yorkers in need.”

Fellow honoree Peter C. Georgiopoulos has over twenty years of experience in the international shipping industry and is currently chairman of four publicly listed companies. He is Founder and Chairman of General Maritime Corporation, a leading crude and products tanker company. Mr. Georgiopoulos is also the Founder and Chairman of Genco Shipping & Trading Limited and Baltic Trading Limited. Since December 2006, Mr. Georgiopoulos has presided as Chairman of Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc., a leading independent supplier of marine fuel. He serves on the Board of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, the Alfred E. Smith Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House.

“Charity is often described as the greatest virtue. Tonight’s celebration highlights the wisdom of that saying as we come together, regardless of our faiths, to help ensure that the neediest members of our New York family get the help they deserve,” said Mr. Georgiopoulos. “Catholic Charities has made important and lasting changes for a better New York. I’m honored to be recognized, and more importantly, honored to help Catholic Charities carry forward its important, life-changing work.”

Stay tuned for photos of the big event.

 

Congratulations, Donna Corrado!

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Photo Credit: Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens

Photo Credit: Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens

Mayor Bill de Blasio just tapped this former head of Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services in Brooklyn and Queens  to lead New York City’s Department of Aging.

Ms. Corrado kicked off her career with Catholic Charities as an older adult program director before working her way up to chief operating officer.

As a 22-year member of the Catholic Charities community, she brings to her new position our legacy of rebuilding lives, always with compassion and dignity.

Ms. Corrado said her focus would be making the city a better place for the aging where almost a quarter of senior citizens live at or below the poverty line – even with social security benefits.

“This is unacceptable,” she said.  “Our seniors deserve not only respect, but the care and support of our city agencies.”

Watch this video of her appointment now.

 

 

 

Award – Winning Msgr. Patrick McCahill Shares Secret

Monday, February 24th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Msgr McCahill celebrating First Communion

Monsignor Patrick McCahill, the force behind services for the Deaf in the New York Archdiocese and recent winner of the Father David Walsh Pastoral Worker of the Year Award, shares a secret known largely only among the Deaf.

“When hearing people talk about the Deaf they think of it as a negative; that you can’t hear,” he says.  “But to be Deaf is also a matter of belonging; to belong to a group of capable friends who share a special language.”

Msgr. McCahill was let into this secret during his 45 years ministering to the Deaf.

“He has worked tirelessly to build a Church that is truly home for the Deaf in every ministerial capacity,” said Sr. Barbara Ann Sgro, OP, Coordinator of Deaf Services – Hudson Valley, when she nominated him to the National Catholic Office for the Deaf for this annual award that honors individuals who contributed significant dedication, support and assistance to Deaf Catholics.

The understated monsignor, known for his quiet voice and beloved Irish sweaters, already had his moment of fame when the renowned Deaf Choir he leads used sign language to perform before Pope Benedict during his New York visit in 2008.

But folks within the Deaf community, their families, friends and supporters know him better for the day-to-day difference he makes in their lives.

When he began his ministry, people with hearing impairments were stigmatized, he says.  Now they represent every profession, from lawyers to laborers.

“They are respected for their abilities,” he says, “and they have lots of them.”

A New Yorker through and through – his only other home was Yonkers during his stint at St. Joseph’s Seminary – Msgr. McCahill has become adept at translating even the most complex conversations.  He is often called on to translate between those speaking English, those speaking Spanish with obscure native dialects, those using American sign language and even those who grew up in isolated villages and developed their own symbols of communication.

As pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Manhattan where he moderates the archdiocesan Deaf Center located there, Msgr. McCahill celebrates sign language mass twice a month.  He also travels on alternate weeks to provide sign language mass in Staten Island and White Plains.  He conducts prayer services with the Deaf at Rockland Psychiatric Hospital. He supports and hosts Deaf seminarians, taught sign language to seminarians at the Archdiocese of New York’s Dunwoodie Seminary and catechesis at St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf in the Bronx and New York School for the Deaf in White Plains. He has been involved in Marriage Encounter for the Deaf, National Deaf Cursillo and hosted Cursillos for the Deaf throughout greater New York.  He coordinates and facilitates the New York State Pastoral Workers with the Deaf semi-annual gatherings.  And he is currently developing a series of Adult Faith Formation videos that use sign language to minister to the Deaf.

Because he runs so many archdiocesan services for the hearing impaired, he says that his biggest concern, perhaps not surprisingly, is inspiring seminarians to join him.

“You have to concentrate, to learn their language,” he says.  “It requires a fair amount of work and then it gets in your bloodstream.”

Learn more about Msgr. McCahill and his ministry in this latest issue of Catholic New York. 

Mourning the Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Gabriel Buoys Agence France - Presse - Getty Images

Catholic Charities joins in mourning the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the most widely admired actors of our time, who died on Sunday at the age of 46 of a heroin overdose.

Thanks to appearances in such movies as “Capote”, for which he won a best actor Oscar, The Big Lebowski and The Savages, his ease at combining a somehow laid-back intensity with an offbeat sense of humor made millions of us viewers identify with him as Mr. Everyman.

Unfortunately, Mr. Hoffman was also known for his struggle with addiction.  He said on a 2006 “60 Minutes” interview that he had given up drugs and alcohol when he was 22, according to his obituary in The New York Times.  Then last year he checked into a rehabilitation program for about 10 days after a reliance on prescription pills resulted in his turning again to heroin.

He is survived by numerous family members as well as his three young children.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction there is no need to struggle alone.

Catholic Charities affiliated agencies offer specific programs to help treat and overcome addiction.  We helped treat 8,677 teenagers and adults last year for substance abuse.

Please contact us at:

 

Slide Show:  Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman:  The New York Times