Archive for the ‘Welcoming and Integrating Immigrants and Refugees’ Category

Where None Are So Poor They Have Nothing to Give; None So Rich They Have Nothing to Receive

Friday, February 28th, 2014

L-R: Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Peter C. Georgiopoulos, Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, John A. Thain, Pat Battle and Catherine Kinney


Check out the inspiring vision Msgr. Kevin Sullivan shared with a packed crowd on Wednesday, February 26, at Catholic Charities annual gala at The Waldorf-Astoria on Wednesday.

During the past year, stock markets have hit a new high.  New York City has a new Mayor. Tragically, new violence and ongoing civil unrest afflict countries with familiar and unfamiliar names, Pope Francis, whom everybody is quoting, has been named Time’s Person of the Year, and in case you hadn’t noticed it’s snowed a bit.    

And through all of this – daily Catholic Charities compassionately and effectively provided emergency meals, prevented evictions, counseled families recovering from Super-Storm Sandy, provided day care for working moms, welcomed immigrants by teaching  English and finding jobs and established a new youth wellness program – and much more. 

Your critical support for Catholic Charities helps to deepen and expand these services, meet unmet and new needs and strengthen a network of some 90 agencies that carries out this vital work in the communities and neighborhoods of greater New York.

Also we have a new buzz word: “inequality.”  For Catholic Charities inequality is not a spiritual catchphrase, nor a political slogan and certainly not a mantra-like wedge to be used to divide us from each other.  For Catholic Charities, inequality is the sad reality that our staff and volunteers encounter every day in our neighbors – a reality that urgently challenges us to come together to build a common good in which the basics – decent housing, nutritious meals, a good job and a supportive and loving family – are had by all. 

Our core belief that every person is made in the image of God demands no less from us.  

Catholic Charities works with individuals who, along with being poor and struggling, have remarkable strengths.  We envision a world of greater solidarity which builds on, and draws from, the strengths and resources of us all -  a world in which none are so poor that they have nothing to give and none too rich that they have nothing to receive.

Find out more about the event and its honorees

Check out these just-released gala photos.

Looking for more inspiration? Watch our just-released video, “Stories of Help & Hope” now.

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.

 

Cardinal Dolan and State’s Catholic Bishops Support DREAM Act for College Kids

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS Timothy Cardinal Dolan (right) supports creating a state DREAM Act that will allowing state financial aid to go to college kids of undocumented immigrants. Here, Dolan with Mayor de Blasio.

ALBANY — Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the state’s Catholic bishops have come out strongly in favor of creating a state DREAM Act allowing state financial aid to go to the college kids of undocumented immigrants, reports the New York Daily News on February 10.*

“It’s one of our top priorities this year,” state Catholic Conference spokesman Dennis Poust said.

The Catholic Conference, a strong advocate for national immigration reform, views the DREAM Act legislation sponsored by Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens) and Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Queens) as something the state can do in the interim.

“New York State, with its history of welcoming immigrants, should be at the forefront of these efforts to support immigrant populations who have contributed so much to the vitality of our state,” the conference said in a memo supporting the bill.

The state Assembly passed the measure last year and is expected to do so again soon. The Republicans who help control the Senate oppose the measure. And there are questions whether there is enough support in an election year for passage, even if the measure did make it to the Senate floor.

Do you need immigration or resettlement assistance, do you hope to go to college, have you been defrauded by an immigration practitioner?

Or do you need any other type of immigration help such as

  • Reuniting with your family
  • Obtaining proper work authorization
  • Learning English and civics
  • Preparing for citizenship exams.

Call the New York State New Americans Hotline  at 800-566-7636.

Manned by Catholic Charities staff,

  • We fielded more than 25,000 calls each year
  • We make over 42,000 referrals to not-for-profit service providers
  • We answer calls in over 100 languages

Click here for more information.

*Read the full story in The New York Daily News.

Cardinal Dolan Visits Holy Rosary & Don Bosco Community Center in Portchester

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

 

During Cardinal Dolan’s visit to Holy Rosary parish and its Don Bosco Community Center in Port Chester on Friday,  he spoke of the strong collaboration of Catholic Charities with both the parish and the center.

Catholic Charities social worker Mariana Duenas has been providing professional services for almost a decade.  The Don Bosco Community Center was the site of a recent Feeding Our Neighbors service event.

Our immigration services have provided informational sessions at the parish.  There is a connection being developed with day laborer programs at the Don Bosco Worker Center and the Obreros Unidos de Yonkers at St. Peter’s parish in Yonkers.

New York State Office for New Americans Touts Free Immigrant Assistance and Referral Hotline

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

The New York State New Americans Hotline –1-800-566-7636 – provides general information and referrals on immigration and naturalization questions in more than 200 languages; also helps combat fraud against immigrants.

ALBANY – The New York State Office for New Americans (ONA) announced that its New York State New Americans Hotline (800-566-7636) has fielded more than 25,000 calls from immigrants and made more than 42,000 referrals to not-for-profit service providers in response to requests for assistance in 2013.  ONA was launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo in March as the first statewide office dedicated to helping our state’s immigrants contribute to our economy and become part of the family of New York.

Detailed data about the hotline will be released in the winter of 2014.

The New York State New Americans Hotline is a multi-lingual information center providing live assistance on general questions about immigration and naturalization. The hotline provides assistance in more than 200 languages, including Spanish, French, Haitian-Creole, Arabic and Chinese. The hotline operates from 9AM to 8PM (ET), Monday through Friday (excluding Federal holidays), and offers referrals to ONA Opportunity Centers and information on all New York State programs serving refugees and immigrants, other immigrant-related public and private programs, and not-for-profit immigrant service providers throughout the state.

“We are pleased that the New York State New Americans Hotline is helping so many immigrants as they transition to fully participating in New York State’s civic and economic life,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, who oversees ONA for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “The hotline is an important source of information for immigrants and others who seek immigration and naturalization assistance. It also refers New Americans to their nearest ONA Opportunity Center, where they can meet with a staff member to begin the process of learning English, becoming naturalized or starting a new business.”

Raluca Oncioiu, Director of the New York State New Americans Hotline at Catholic Charities Community Services added: “The hotline has an important role to play in educating immigrants about their rights and referring them to reliable service providers in order to prevent anti-immigrant fraud. In particular, the hotline is always ready to educate the public about new programs, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals announced in the summer of 2012, when hotline counselors fielded thousands of calls and made appropriate referrals to agencies providing free legal services.”

The New York State New Americans Hotline supports the network of 27 neighborhood-based ONA Opportunity Centers. Hosted within existing culturally-competent, language-accessible community-based organizations throughout the State, each ONA Opportunity Center helps immigrants learn English, prepare naturalization applications, study for the U.S. citizenship exam, and start and grow businesses.

New York State has the second largest immigrant population in the nation, which includes more than 1.2 million immigrants who reside outside the New York City area. More than one in four New York State residents of working age is foreign-born, which presents a major opportunity for economic growth in our state, where 29 percent of all small businesses are owned by immigrants.

“We look forward to serving more immigrants across New York State and urge them to tap into the hotline,” Perales continued.

For more information on the New York State Office for New Americans, go to www.newamericans.ny.gov

Preserving Dignity and Providing Freedom

Friday, January 24th, 2014

“The freedom of religion that we experience in the United States sometimes makes it difficult for us to realize that this principle does not exist in many parts of the world. In many countries, Christians are the minority and often the  victims of persecution.  Over the years, Catholic Charities has successfully represented victims of religious persecution, thus potentially saving their lives if they had been forced to return to their home countries.”

Read more about this recent story of religious persecution 

Fighting to Keep the Life She Built

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

By Alice Kenny

Seven years old when her family moved her from Mexico to Yonkers, Beatriz Rivera, now 31, does all she can to achieve the American dream.

At age 14, she began her career at the bottom rung as a bagger at a local grocery chain store.  Quickly she was promoted to cashier, then supervisor, then customer service rep, then junior accounting clerk.  Ultimately she worked as the manager’s executive assistant.

However, the work permit she received at age 17 expired years ago.  So, while she has a valid social security number and driver’s license, she also counts herself among the “Dreamers” who live both openly and in the shadows of American society.

This impacts her life in small and large ways.  For example, although she has been paying state, local and social security taxes for more than a decade, she would be ineligible to receive social security benefits.

Fortunately, Catholic Charities attorneys are helping her obtain a two-year, renewable work permit by filling out a Deferred Action Plan for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application.

Now, while working full time, she is also pursuing her associate’s degree to become a registered nurse.

Read her full story in The New York Times.

President Obama and Pope Francis to Meet; Discuss Shared Commitment to Fight Poverty

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Photos courtesy of Fabi/AFP/GettyImages and AP Photo

President Barack Obama will meet with Pope Francis for the first time on March 27 at the Vatican to discuss the Pope’s commitment – made manifest through Catholic Charities – to serve the basic needs of the poor, troubled, frail and oppressed of all religions.

“The President looks forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality,” said a White House news release distributed by CNN and other media outlets. Across the developed world, inequality has increased,” Obama said.

‘How can it be,’ Pope Francis wrote, ‘that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points.’

Read the full story from CNN.

 

Mayor de Blasio meets with Cardinal Dolan; Discusses Catholic Charities and work done on behalf of those in need

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS

Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Mayor Bill de Blasio met yesterday for the first time since the mayor took office to discuss how they might collaborate to foster the common good – particularly helping New Yorkers most in need.

They hope to convince Pope Francis – who the mayor called “the most powerful voice on earth on how to address inequality” — to visit the city to lend his voice to the urgent task of building a more compassionate and just New York.

“We talked a lot about Catholic Charities and the work it does on behalf of children, on behalf of people in need,” Mayor de Blasio said.

“We talked about the need to help prisoners returning to society, a whole host of areas (including affordable housing) where we have common ground and where we can work together.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, who attended the post- meeting press briefing and is serving on the mayor’s transition team, said  “I am not surprised, but still delighted, that the Mayor recognizes the tremendous good being done by our federation of Catholic Charities agencies in touching and responding to almost every human need… We look forward to working with the de Blasio administration and are already convening agencies experienced in these areas to discuss how we might best work with the new administration to expand these services and meet unmet needs.” Read Msgr. Sullivan’s full statement here.

Cardinal Dolan regularly visits Catholic Charities agencies and meets both those being served and the dedicated staff and volunteers.  Cardinal Dolan was upbeat and expressed his strong desire to work with Mayor de Blasio for the sake of the good of New York, and especially those most in need.

Torture Survivor Rebuilds Life

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Angel Franco/The New York Times Angele Nogue and her son Brandon, 9.

A once-successful business person who ran a multi-million dollar interior design firm in Cameroon, Angele Nogue was stripped of nearly all she possessed.  She lost it all, she said, in retaliation for caring for orphans and organizing marches that protested their increasing numbers caused by the country’s chaotic dictatorial policies.

Today an asylee and participant in NYU/Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture program, Ms. Nogue lost the business she built.  She lost her home and homeland.  Worst of all, she lost friends murdered by the government.

When Ms. Nogue tries to describe those who, unlike her, were unable to escape, survivor’s guilt leaves her sobbing.

Catholic Charities Refugee Social Services Program is helping Ms. Nogue rebuild her life.  It provides her with counseling, social service support and job-readiness and placement services.  Catholic Charities also provided her with metro cards to attend job interviews.  And it provides her family with coats, clothes and essential housewares through its St. Nicholas program and food through its pantries and holiday programs.

She and her children currently live in a shelter.  Her Catholic Charities case manager is helping the family find permanent housing and will provide further support when they move into their new home.

Now feeling stronger, Ms. Nogue has begun studying to become a registered nurse at Hostos Community College.

Read Ms. Nogue’s profile in The New York Times.