Why I’m Running the NYC Marathon with Team Catholic Charities

July 8th, 2015

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

Now, with less than four months to go until the Big Day – the TCS NYC Marathon 2015 – let’s find out what inspires someone to take on this grueling 26-mile run? 

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

Today, let’s here from Reid Whiting.

By Reid Whiting

I will be running my sixth marathon on Sunday, Nimage001-1ovember 1, five of which have come at the celebration of New York City known as the NYC Marathon.

I continue to run the NYC Marathon due to the pageantry and excitement that is omnipresent throughout the streets of the five boroughs and seen in the faces of each and every runner and spectator on that magical first Sunday of November.

This year, however, will be a particularly special NYC Marathon for me, running for the first time as a member of Team Catholic Charities.

I heard about Catholic Charities through an organization through which I mentor an inspiring teenager and was instantly taken aback by the wealth of assistance and hope Catholic Charities provides for millions of people each year, regardless of their religious, social or economic background.  Catholic Charities’ central mission to reduce poverty by providing services to people in need, advocating for justice in social structures and calling for others to do the same is what I will be running in support of in November.

I hope you will support the same by donating to this great cause!  Thank you for your generosity!  Now, back to training …

Support Reid’s run on Crowdrise.

Healing with Mosaics

July 7th, 2015


By Alice Kenny

Broken children served by Astor, a Catholic Charities affiliated agency that serves children in need, are pasting broken glass into mosaics. Together, they are beginning to mend.

“There is a healing quality in putting fragmented products into a whole,” says Roberta Andersen.

Ms. Andersen has been helping children create mosaics at Astor Residence for the past 15 years. Many of the children struggle with emotional and psychological problems. These problems make it difficult to experience the simple everyday pleasures of being a child.

So Astor uses art, along with therapies and support to reach them. In their last mosaic project, children, guided by Ms. Andersen and Astor Art Therapist Kathleen Gavin, created a huge bright yellow sunflower.

To make it, they combined ceramic pieces into three separate layers of glass. Each layer was heated in a kiln at different temperatures and then fused together. This varied each layers’ texture and added, Andersen says, to the children’s enjoyment as they moved their hands over their creation.

“We wanted the sunflower mosaic to be a strong, uplifting image of color and light,” Ms. Andersen adds.

The sunflower mosaic now hangs proudly on a residence hallway wall.

Find out more details from Astor Development Associate, Carly Hertica, on The Astor blog.

$25K Swindled From Recent Immigrants

July 6th, 2015


In one of the latest publicized examples of immigrants preyed on by swindlers, Hispanic couple Jorge and Gloria were scammed out of $25,000, reports Telemundo in a recent televised news program.

“Immigrants meet with notarios and other people who tell them that they are qualified to adjust their status and nothing happens in the end,” Catholic Charities attorney Johana Vega tells Telemundo’s on-air reporter Liz Gonzalez.

In this latest case, Telemundo reports:

Vivi Nandalai, 49 years old, admitted to larceny after presenting supposedly official identification documents to a Hispanic couple.

She apparently claimed that she worked for the department of motor vehicles. And that she could get them drivers’ licenses and resident cards. And she charged them $25,000 in cash!

Catholic Charities, fortunately, runs the New York State New Americans Hotline and through that hotline, they are able to tell callers how and where to verify whether or not they are dealing with a real attorney and/or a person with the right credentials to help them with their immigration cases. In addition, the hotline is able to refer callers to the right non-profit organization that can provide them with free or low cost assistance.

…Please keep the following in mind:

·         Never pay in cash.

·         Always ask for payment receipts.

·    Always require contracts to be in your own language.

·    Call the immigration helpline at: 1-800-566-7636

Wonder what happened to the swindler?

Watch this televised report in Spanish on Telemundo.

Happy Fourth of July

July 3rd, 2015


Celebrate dignity.

Celebrate independence.

Celebrate the holiday!

Happy Fourth of July from Catholic Charities!

Inside Scoop on Pope Francis’ NYC Visit

July 2nd, 2015


By Alice Kenny

Details are surfacing about the upcoming historic visit by Pope Francis to the U.S.

And Catholic Charities is here to share them with you!

 The Pope’s whirlwind visit, scheduled from Sept. 23-27, touches down in Washington D.C..  It moves to NYC.  And it culminates in Philadelphia.

Here in New York, Kathryn Lopez reports in National Review,

The pope will be visiting a Catholic Charities center…to see how ‘strangers’ are welcomed in the city (by a church that was built by immigrants), as Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities in New York put it.”

 Adding more details, this time about Pope Francis’ visit to those served by Catholic Charities in Washington DC, Matt Hadro reports in Catholic Online,

“The Pope will visit the archdiocese’s Catholic Charities branch where he will meet with homeless persons attending the charity’s weekly St. Maria’s Meal program, blessing the food.”

 Pope Francis, since his election, has made solidarity with the poor and the defense of immigrants his towering priorities. His determination to spend time with those served by Catholic Charities during his short trip along the East Coast comes as no surprise, says Msgr. Sullivan.

“This is so appropriate,” Msgr. Sullivan says.  “So many of our agencies day in and day out serve newcomers to our country with a wide range of services..Our food pantries feed immigrant children…Refugee are helped with resettlement…Fearful immigrants are aided in how to avoid exploitation and fraud.  Families are reunited.”

Check out Pope Francis’ full itinerary in Catholic Online.

Read CrossStreets as we continue to bring you breaking news on Pope Francis’ upcoming visit!

For Every Refugee Forced to Flee, I’m Choosing to Run

July 1st, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 10.16.02 AMJust four months to go until the Big Day – the TCS NYC Marathon 2015!

But just what inspires someone to take on this grueling 26-mile run? 

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

Today, let’s here from Jinah Kim, program assistant with Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement department.

By Jinah Kim

Program Assistant

Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement

It was my Alma Mater’s unofficial tradition to run the Boston marathon before graduating and I wasn’t one to miss out on a Boston College tradition. But what was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience in 2012 turned into an ongoing pursuit of physical excellence and mental discipline.

I signed up for the Philadelphia marathon two years later. I fell in love with the way each community assembled to support runners from abroad and close to home, not to mention the joy of running through carless streets while being cheered by enthusiastic crowds of complete strangers.

I don’t necessarily consider myself a marathon runner, but it was such a natural decision for me to join the Catholic Charities team in the world-famous New York City marathon. I work for the Refugee Resettlement Office of Catholic Charities, I love to run, and it’s New York City. Needless to say, I was quite easily convinced.

This marathon will be especially close to my heart, not only because it takes place in a very special place, but also because I’ll be running for refugee resettlement. I’ll be running for every individual who’s been forced to leave his or her home country because of political or religious persecution, for every family torn apart by war and conflict, for every asylum-seeker struggling to make it in New York City without proper housing and work authorization awaiting a court decision.

Our office works with individuals and families from all over the world, assisting to find employment and resettle in New York City. Regardless of the different traditions and cultural backgrounds our clients come from, I believe that they share the common thread of hard work and extraordinary resilience, the very elements that form the backbone in our pursuits of the “American dream.”

Whenever I go for a particularly difficult run, I have to push myself forward and disregard the pain. Our clients go through a very similar struggle in the resettlement process but with much higher stakes involved. We have clients who were once in well-paid and respected executive positions taking on entry-level jobs as cashiers and porters but they oftentimes do so with great willingness and appreciation. We know mothers who have not seen their children in years but still save up money in hopes that they will soon be reunited, uncertain of exactly when that day will come. I have met men and women well into their fifties traveling an hour and a half each way to attend English classes. By working with my clients, I feel that I’ve tapped into the depths of human potential and witnessed the day-to-day diligence required to run in this very real race of life.

I know from past marathons it’s going to hurt like crazy running 26.2 miles and the several months of training leading up to it are going to require immense focus and intentional sacrifice. But just as my clients are on an everyday basis choosing to hope and move forward, for every refugee, asylee, family, individual, adult and child that was forced to flee, I’m choosing to run.

 Root for Jinah.

Pope Francis Plans to Meet Immigrants Served by Catholic Charities NY

June 30th, 2015


The Vatican today released the itinerary of Pope Francis for his upcoming trip this September to Cuba, Washington D.C., New York City and Philadelphia.

During this five-day, four-city trip, His Holiness will visit with immigrant and refugee families and children served by Catholic Charities at Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem on Friday, September 25, 2015.

“We are honored that Pope Francis plans during his short visit to meet and bless immigrant families and children that Catholic Charities serves,” said Catholic Charities Executive Director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan.

Congratulations, Good Counsel!

June 30th, 2015

By Alice Kenny

What can be sweeter than watching a toddler take his first steps?

Watch it right here in this just-released video by Good Counsel Inc., an affiliate of Catholic Charities.

The video celebrates Good Counsel’s 30-year anniversary helping women and babies in need.

“I came from absolutely nothing,” one mom, Marisa, says. “Good Counsel took me in and got me on my feet.”

Timothy Cardinal Dolan adds his congratulations as he helps the tiny toddler and greets the moms and babies.

“You’re talking about home,” Cardinal Dolan says. “You’re talking about life; you’re talking a choice on the side of God of babies and moms and families.”

Watch the video.

Learn more.

Breaking News! Community Policing & Catholic Charities

June 29th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 1.35.32 PMThe NYPD announced details last week of its new neighborhood policing strategy, reports ABC News 7.

Hundreds more beat cops are working in neighborhoods where violence continues to dominate.

Eddie Silverio, director of Catholic Charities Community Services Alianza Youth Services, joined Mayor Bill DeBlasio and others to speak about their joint work in Washington Heights.

“We continue to improve communication between youth and the police department,” Mr. Silverio says.

These 1,300 new officers aren’t just extra bodies, they’re the start of a new proactive approach to policing that involves you as a team player!

The pilot program rolled out in the 34th Precinct a little over a month ago and already crime statistics are going down. It’s a trend local  leaders hope will now continue city wide.

It’s a bold new strategic plan local leaders believe will give a much needed edge to the NYPD in the ongoing fight against crime.

1,300 additional officers are not only targeting problem areas but building real relationships with everyday people to forge a united front.

In Washington Heights where the new plan has already been executed, officers at a community meeting Thursday night encouraged neighbors to get more involved.

“We are now doing a bottom up approach where an officer knows the community, the community knows the officer, we stop the problem many cases before it even happens,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Called “One City Safe and Fair Everywhere” Mayor De Blasio along with Commissioner Bratton laid out the details of the new policing framework, which also entails additional training so officers can better engage and activate the communities they serve.

Watch the live event on ABC News 7.

Mad Men or Junior Board? You Decide

June 26th, 2015

JuniorBoard-MobileHeaderBy Alice Kenny

Decked out as our Mad Men favorites – Don Draper, Peggy Olsen, Roger Sterling – nearly 150 Catholic Charities Junior Board members and their friends celebrated the board’s Mad Men-themed gala earlier this month.

The event, in typical Mad Men style, of course included drinks, dancing, card games and mingling.  More important, these budding young members of the Catholic Charities family raised nearly $30,000  to benefit Catholic Charities St. Nicholas Project.  This year-round project provides warm clothes and necessities for thousands of New Yorkers.

“There are so many people in need,” says Grace Nordloh, a co-chair of the Junior Board Gala, “and they rely on our generosity to help them endure the winter season.”

The Mad Men series may have ended but Catholic Charities continues.

Will Don return to NYC and reunite with his children?  Who knows.

But we do know you’re very welcome to have fun with our Junior Board.

Click here to learn more.

Check out these photos on Facebook.