Newer, Better, Now!

July 21st, 2015

newcclogo

We’re excited to unveil our new digital logo!

What’s so important about a logo? Well, it’s a symbol of who we are. And it’s a symbol of how we respond to changing, increased need.

So over the next few days, we’ll be launching additional enhancements to our online presence.

While our appearance may be a bit different, our mission to help New Yorkers in need remains the same.

Stay tuned, as always.

And thank you for supporting our work at Catholic Charities.

A Special NYC Stop by Pope Francis

July 20th, 2015

Pope Francis plans to make a special stop on his historic visit to New York City; a meeting with immigrants served by Catholic Charities.

In the latest issue of El Diario, Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan shares his insider’s perspective on Pope Francis’ upcoming trip.

msgr-portrait-1By Msgr. Kevin Sullivan

Executive Director, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York

With Love is Our Mission as the theme, the itinerary of His Holiness, Pope Francis’ trip to the United States was made public on July 1st. He will be traveling to the United States to attend the World Meeting of Families, taking place on September 26th and 27th, in Philadelphia.  Many people are surprised to learn that he has never been to the United States.

His Holiness will be visiting New York on September 24th and 25th primarily to address the United Nations.  He will also conduct a multi-religious service at “ground zero” the site of the 9/11 tragedy, hold evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden.

In addition of special importance and note to Catholic Charities is his visit on Friday, September 25, to East Harlem,   There, Pope Francis will visit with immigrant and refugee families and children served by Catholic Charities agencies in the auditorium of Our Lady Queen of Angels School.

Pope Francis has specifically asked to meet immigrant and refugees on his visit.   Special hand-made gifts for the Holy Father are being made by members of Catholic Charities immigration, day laborer, and mothers’ programs. .  The excitement is palpable and for those chosen to create these gifts, it is a labor of love – a gift filled with innumerable blessings.

Pope Francis choosing to visit immigrants and refugees is so apt for Catholic Charities.   So many of our agencies day-in and day-out take to heart the call of Jesus to “welcome the stranger” and serve newcomers to our country with a wide range of services, both in New York City and the Hudson Valley.  Our food pantries feed immigrant children.  Agencies in diverse neighborhoods teach English and civics.  We help organize and protect day laborers.  Mothers are helped to form peer support groups.  Children fleeing violence in Central America are provided safe residences and legal services.  Refugees from Iraq and African are helped to resettlement.  Fearful immigrants are aided in how to avoid exploitation and fraud.  Families are re-untied.  And in so many more ways, our Catholic Charities agencies welcome and integrate immigrants and refugees.  In addition to being helped, hope is created for a better life.

Our Catholic Charities agencies fulfill Pope Francis’ clear message: “helping the poor and vulnerable, of all religions, is essential to our Christian faith.” Our  work touches almost every human need and the vision of our charity  has no boundaries.

Check it out in El Diario.

Cardinal Dolan Reveals Inside Scoop for Pope Francis’ NYC Visit

July 17th, 2015

pope-cardinal

What does Pope Francis want to visit during his Sept. 24-25 whirlwind touchdown in New York?

Who does he want to meet?

How can we get a glimpse of him?

And what’s our chance of meeting him face-t0-face?

Cardinal Dolan takes on all these questions in a recent Catholic New York news story.

By Ron Lajoi

Catholic New York

Some of these would be “must see” stops for any traveler on a whirlwind 36-hour visit to the Big Apple. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is of course on the itinerary. So are the United Nations, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and Madison Square Garden. But so is Our Lady Queen of Angels, an inner-city Catholic elementary school in East Harlem, certainly a less likely tourist attraction. But Pope Francis is no ordinary visitor.

“The Pope is very gracious in saying I’m trusting you. What would you like me to see?” said Cardinal Dolan at an informal press briefing June 30 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to discuss the Holy Father’s impending visit to New York Sept. 24-25 as part his larger visit to the United States. New York is the second leg of a three-city visit that begins in Washington, D.C., two days earlier.

“From the beginning he let it be known that he obviously was going to the U.N., that he wanted to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral. But he wanted to see, and these were his words, an inner-city Catholic school. And he wanted to see a Catholic Charities site and he particularly highlighted care for the immigrants,” the Cardinal explained.

The Pope will visit a third grade classroom at Our Lady Queen of Angels…

At the school Pope Francis will also meet in the gymnasium with recent immigrants, refugees and other poor and marginalized people who are cared for by Catholic Charities programs.

When asked what he hoped to show the Holy Father, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities, responded, “the strangers who are welcomed by Catholic Charities.”

…A Papal Visit team chaired by Al Kelly, former president of American Express, who also served as president and chief executive officer of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee in 2014, is coordinating the sprawling itinerary. Organizers expect huge crowds.

…Kelly said two motorcades were being planned to allow as many people as possible to see the Pope.

…Cardinal Dolan said a lottery system would be used to distribute tickets, through the parishes mostly, to events such as the Mass at Madison Square Garden.

“Any of the tickets that we distribute through any sources will not have a charge associated with them,” he said. “They will all be free.”

Free Skilled Labor

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

 

An Insider’s Take on Training for the NYC Marathon

July 15th, 2015

Our Team Catholic Charities NY  Marathon runners train for months. They rise when the rest of us are sound asleep. And they jog through snow, sun and sweat.

Now, with just over three months to go until the Big Day – the 2015 TCS NYC Marathon  – let’s find out what inspires someone to take on this grueling 26-mile run.

Each of our 12 Team Catholic Charities NY Marathon runners has a different answer.

Today, let’s here from Nick Libertiny.

I will be running my first competitive running race on November 1, 2015.  I am running the New York City Marathon to raise money for a Catholic Charities affiliated agency, Catholic Big Sisters & Big Brothers ,for which I am a mentor.

I am the youngest of four children and have always been active and competitive.  When the opportunity presented itself I realized that this would be a big challenge for me and would take hard work and dedication to prepare myself for the race.  That’s how much the program means to me – it’s worth the effort to raise money for it.

Only being a casual runner I’ve moved up from running roughly 6 -9 miles a week to 20-25 miles per week.  It has not been easy – the aches and pains only intensify! However I believe I’m making good progress: 4 miles a day plus a long run usually gets me to my weekly goal.

It’s been a great experience discussing Catholic Big Sisters & Big Brothers with my friends and family and listening to their comments and ideas.  The donations have been helpful too!  I look forward to meeting my goals and raising awareness along the way for the wonderful program that directly benefits children every single day.

Support Nick’s run for Team Catholic Charities!

Clues on What to Expect During Pope Francis’ Visit to NYC

July 14th, 2015
Pope From Rome

AFP photo / Vincenzo Pintovincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images

During one of the Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff, on-the-plane news conferences that have become a hallmarks of his pontificate, he continues to make history on his flight back from Paraguay to Rome.

And as we parse his words, we begin to get an idea of what can we expect from this humble but bold Pope when he visits our Gotham City this September.

Kevin Clarke, a reporter for the Washington Post, writes today that:

Pope Francis is not interested in changing political or economic systems, but in changing hearts, in acts of personal conversion that can lead to social transformation. He is not calling just for better mitigation of the suffering of the poor or reforms of global markets, but change which is redemptive for everyone.

His is a revolution of conscience that “saves” the tiny percentage of the world’s rich from the spiritual morass of materialism as much as it rescues billions around the world from the blunt deprivations of poverty.

He has come not to profess socialism, but to proclaim a social moral principle: that a just economic order—one well within our reach—is one that serves people and protects the earth, not one that exhausts people and creation as disposable economic inputs.

We embrace Pope Francis’ mission at Catholic Charities.  For more than a century we have rebuilt lives and touched every human need promptly, locally, day in and day out.

We applaud you, Pope Francis.  We welcome you.  And we look forward to your visit.

The Number One Skill for Immigrant’s Success: English

July 13th, 2015
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Practicing English at Catholic Charities International Center

The premier Spanish-language newspaper “El Diario” turns to Catholic Charities Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services, C. Mario Russell, for regular updates on immigration reform.

In this latest issue of El Diario, Mario takes on the key skill for immigrant success.

By C. Mario Russell

There are so many reasons why immigrants are important. They sustain the diversity of this nation, they create businesses critical for the health of the economy, and they contribute to the wealth and welfare of our society.  But underpinning all this is one vital skill they need in order to make these things happen: the ability to communicate in English.

Immigrant parents need English so they can become involved with their children’s education; according to the National Institutes of Health, the level of a mother’s literacy skills is the most important factor affecting a child’s literacy. Workers need English so they can obtain jobs that pay a living wage; it is no accident that the unemployment rate for adults with low literacy is twice that of literate workers. Entrepreneurs need English so they can navigate the bureaucracy involved in starting their own businesses.  Students need English so they can finish their secondary education and go to college. This education benefits all of us. Each worker with a high school credential generates $324,000 in net benefits for the New York City and will rely less on public benefits and contribute more in taxes.

But what is being done to support immigrants who want to learn English? How are so many individuals with different English learning needs finding help? One progressive program, the Catholic Charities International Center in Manhattan, is designed precisely to meet the challenge of giving culturally, socioeconomically, and linguistically diverse students instruction at their level to achieve the same goal: to learn English and develop a greater understanding of American life.

Read the rest of this entry »

Catholic Charities Statement on Child Welfare

July 11th, 2015

MercyCenter

Recently, the media has given attention to the care being provided to children in the New York foster care system. The important issues raised will be dealt with over the next months. Hopefully, these will be handled appropriately for the sake of the vulnerable children being cared for.

For well over a century, Catholic agencies have been meeting the needs of neglected, abandoned and orphaned children in New York. Currently, affiliates of the Catholic Charities Federation of agencies provide foster care services to thousands of children each night. I have often visited these programs, met with their Executive and Board leadership and witnessed the work of their talented staff. .. I wish to note and support their dedicated work.

Our agencies remain committed to providing quality care to these kids and their families. This includes promptly developing plans that move children from temporary care  to permanent homes as quickly and as safely as possible. Our agencies support parents and other caregivers to address and overcome the challenges that caused their children to be placed in foster care.   Our agencies work   with government partners and other groups to advocate for appropriate resources and support so these vulnerable New Yorkers can be effectively served.

As high quality as these services are, our agencies are committed to strong quality improvement programs to further enhance these services. The welfare of those entrusted to their care necessitates nothing less.

It would be my hope, and prayer, that fewer and fewer children experience the pain and hurt that requires their placement in foster care. While we strive toward that end, I am very grateful for the dedicated work of our Catholic Charities agencies that provide such quality compassionate care to thousands of vulnerable children.

 

Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

Inside Scoop From Former Immigrant Teen

July 10th, 2015

elvis

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities’ own Migration Counselor Elvis Garcia Callejas was invited with a group of immigrants and refugees to participate in the national 2015 Migrant and Refugee Leadership Academy held last month in Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Only 85 people were chosen for this three-day conference.   And only eight, including Elvis, were chosen to meet at the White House with top government officials.

The conference goal was to train future leaders to advocate for laws that provide protections for immigrants and refugees.  Elvis and his group of eight then met with officials about immigration policies and the role the U.S. should take protecting these vulnerable populations.

Elvis’ selection was sweeter still because he once was a teenage migrant alone in the U.S.  Now he helps new arrivals who face struggles similar to his.

After the conference Elvis shared his background with Robert Carey, director of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Fifteen years old, hungry and alone, Elvis hitched rides, scrambled atop freight trains and dragged himself through deserts for 1,200 miles to reach his promised land, the United States.  His native Honduras had turned into a wasteland where teenage gangs held shootouts on village streets.

“Coming to the U.S. all by myself at the age of 15 was really tough, but I was lucky to have help from so many great people and organizations,” Elvis told Mr. Carey. “I’m proud to now work for Catholic Charities, who with the help of ORR, make sure unaccompanied children know their rights and are able to access protection under US law. From personal experience, I know how important this support is.”

Civics 101

July 9th, 2015

20150629-DSC_0839-676x385By Yvonne Marcotte

Epoch Times

“If you were asked, “What is the ‘rule of law’?” you might respond with a blank stare,” writes Yvonne Marcotte in the international Epoch Times.

…The exam can be intimidating but the Office for New Americans ONA is there to help. Teaching U.S. history is one of the many services (ONA) offers so immigrants can pass the test required for citizenship.

“We want to encourage people that the exam is doable,” says Shannon Kelly, associate director for Hudson Valley Services of Catholic Charities.

(Catholic Charities Program and Volunteer Coordinator) Jennifer Ramirez coordinates the state-sponsored program Office for New Americans, located at the Catholic Charities office in Newburgh, N.Y. Ramirez says ONA not only prepares immigrants for the citizenship exam, but also offers classes in English, and gives entrepreneurship seminars on a regular basis throughout the year for those who want to start a business.

New York has 4.2 million immigrants within its borders, and one in four New Yorkers of working age are foreign-born, according to the ONA website.

To accommodate this valued workforce, the Newburgh ONA provides outreach to tell immigrants how ONA can help.

…An amazing 31 percent of business owners in New York are immigrants, and immigrant business owners generate $12.6 billion in business revenue for the state, according to ONA.

ONA provides assistance in developing job skills through entrepreneurial seminars. …Ramirez says a tough task for many immigrants is learning English.  Jessica Lazo, Catholic Charities migration counselor, is on staff to provide one-on-one coaching.

…So, what is the rule of law? You’d be right if you answered “everyone must follow the law,” “leaders must obey the law,” “government must obey the law,” or “no one is above the law.”

Read the full story in Epoch Times.