Msgr. Sullivan Joins Gov. Cuomo to Celebrate Office of New Americans

March 19th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan joined Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, members of the New York State legislature and fellow members of the New York Immigration Coalition in Albany yesterday, March 18, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Office for New Americans.  A groundbreaking event, the anniversary marks the first time a statewide office has focused solely on assisting our state’s immigrants in their efforts to contribute to the economy and become a part of the family of New York.

The Office’s cornerstone includes a network of 27 neighborhood-based Opportunity Centers hosted within existing community-based organizations throughout the State. The Centers help New Americans learn English, prepare them for the U.S. citizenship exam and help them start and grow businesses so they can fully participate in New York State’s civic and economic life.

Nearly a quarter of these centers are affiliated with Catholic Charities, demonstrating the emphasis and value we place on assisting new New Yorkers to integrate and participate in our state’s civic and economic life.

Msgr. Sullivan joined with fellow community leaders and elected officials to outline the Opportunity Centers’ major accomplishments as well as possibilities for expansion to support economic growth.

“Fostering economic development and allowing immigrants to become fully integrated are important outcomes that the New American Centers allow our new neighbors to achieve,” he said.

Statistics demonstrate their success.  New York’s 4.3 million immigrants make up more than a quarter of New York’s total work force, reported  Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, and account for $229 billion in economic output.  It is estimated that each eligible foreign-born New Yorker increases their individual income by up to $3,800 when they naturalize.  Furthermore, if all eligible foreign-born New Yorkers naturalized, their collective earnings in New York would increase by $1.5 to $2.2 billion.

“Immigrants are an incredible gift to any country and their industriousness teaches the rest of us that even we can strive for greater heights,” Msgr. Sullivan added.  “New York is so blessed to be the home and the gateway for those who have made our state a much richer place.”

The Office for New Americans also supports the New York State New Americans Hotline, the toll-free, multi-lingual information center run by Catholic Charities.

Are you a New American looking for help…

  • Finding English-for-Speakers-of-other-Languages (ESOL) training?
  • Preparing for the naturalization process?
  • Connecting to business resources to harness your entrepreneurial spirit?
  • Developing and leveraging your professional skills?
  • Receiving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals?
  • Strengthening the connections with your community?
  • Avoiding exploitation?

Call our New Americans Hotline at 800-566-7636

Catholic Charities Joins Fellow Immigration Leaders for Day of Action in Albany

March 18th, 2014

SJ Jung, board president of MinKwon Center for Community Action, speaks about need for increased funding for immigrant services. Left to right: Assemblyman Ron Kim; Claire Sylvan, president of the Internationals Network For Public Schools; Judy Wessler, Health Care Advocate, former director, CPHS; SJ Jung, president of Minkwon Center for Community Action; and Mario Russell, senior attorney for Catholic Charities, New York.

Catholic Charities joined 250 immigrants, community leaders, elected officials, and advocates in Albany earlier this month for the New York Immigration Coalition’s 17th Annual Albany Immigrants’ Day of Action. Delegation members including families, farm workers and “DREAMers” shared with nearly three dozen state legislators their experiences on issues faced by the four million immigrant New Yorkers.

The event offered an opportunity for one-on-one conversations about the value of the New York State DREAM Act – which was defeated in the New York State Senate by two votes on Monday, thus likely put on hold, at least for this year – and the need for increased funding for legal and social services for immigrants. Together the group presented NYIC’s Immigrant Equality Agenda.

Assembly members Marcos CrespoRon KimFrancisco P. MoyaFélix Ortiz, Luis Sepulveda and Senator José Peralta supported the group and joined a series of panel discussions on the priorities laid out by local communities.

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

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

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 17th, 2014

We’re wearing the green today.  Yet every day Catholic Charities provides specialized services to address the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable Irish emigrants — along with emigrants from all nations.

Thanks to significant support from the Consulate General of Ireland, Catholic Charities through Project Irish Outreach has offered the Irish community settled in New York City and Westchester County frontline advice, counseling and support services for more than 26 years.

Services include information and referral, immigration legal assistance and/or representation, social services casework, pastoral services, maternity services, ministry to Irish prisoners,  healthcare information and referral and general support services for individuals, families and the elderly.

Catholic Charities staff are located in Aisling Irish Community Center in Westchester County and at the Catholic Center in Manhattan.

Are you an Irish emigrant looking for help?

Please call us at 914-237-5098 or email us at Sr.Christine.hennessy@archny.org

Erin go bragh!

Daily News Exposes Hunger Crisis in New York

March 17th, 2014


“It’s a quiet crisis,” New York Daily News reporters Ginger Otis and Barry Paddock write in this in-depth exploration of hunger in New York. “In a city of plenty,” they continue in this front page story posted Sunday in the New York Daily News, “a staggering number of people are struggling to feed themselves and their families.”

Learn what they find out when they interview experts including Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, visit Catholic Charities food pantries and meet those we serve:

“Nearly one in five New Yorkers, 1.4 million people, now rely on a patchwork network of 1,000 food pantries and soup kitchens across the city to eat.

That represents an increase of 200,000 people in five years — straining the charities that are trying to help…
Yet those working on the front lines of the hunger crisis say it’s still not enough.

‘It’s an astounding surge in need, and it’s because it is so hard for people to find jobs, or find a decent-paying job. They are turning to us for emergency help,’ said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, 63, executive director of 90 free food outlets run by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

‘So many people, too many people, don’t have enough money to pay for rent and also eat.’

At (Catholic Charities’) Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry, bags packed with milk, juice, rice, pasta, tomato sauce, dry beans and other staples fly off the shelves.

Located in a small church vestry, the pantry is open one day a week, serving a steady clientele of 275 people. It could easily help three times as many, if only it had the food, volunteers said.

From soup kitchens in the Bronx, to mobile food markets on Staten Island and in Brooklyn, to pantries in Queens, the story is the same: lines stretching longer and longer, people arriving earlier and earlier, even in the depths of winter.

‘Our Lady of Grace, in the northeast Bronx, saw the number of new households double in November — a 100% increase,’ said Paul Costiglio, spokesman for Catholic Charities. “Across the board, our programs are reporting a continued increase in the number of working people, unemployed and families.”

Read more in the Daily News.

Check out this accompanying Daily News editorial:

Too many New Yorkers, too many good hard-working people, too many children, too many elderly parents, lack the resources to put food on the table.

Too many cannot afford basic nutrition — bread, milk, a piece of fruit, a portion of vegetables, a slice of meat. The stuff of survival, not the stuff of fun or frivolity…

These are our neighbors, family members and friends.

This is not New York, city of limitless opportunity. This is a New York that must do better.

Disabled Teens Take Their Turn Changing Lives

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.

Catholic Charities Links Agency Leaders with Newly Appointed City Officials

March 13th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities and fellow social service organizations hosted a reception at the Human Services Council on East 59th Street. on Wednesday, March 5th, to welcome newly appointed New York City officials, introduce them to leaders of our affiliated agencies and provide a ground-floor opportunity to share our experiences and priorities serving New Yorkers in need.

Formal and informal discussions focused on establishing strong collaborative relationships between the human services and government agencies to effectively tackle the issues of poverty, illness and barriers to success.

New York City Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Deputy Mayor for Policy Initiatives Richard Buery and Director of the Office of Operations Mindy Tarlow were some of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s frontline team who spoke with dozens of directors and staff from agencies affiliated with Catholic Charities.

Several other New York City nonprofit leaders including the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, UJA Federation of New York, United Neighborhood Houses, Human Services Council and the United Way helped host and participated in this groundbreaking event.

March Is Social Work Month

March 12th, 2014

March is Social Work Month, a time to recognize and honor those social workers who help make a difference in people’s lives.

At Catholic Charities we are fortunate to have many compassionate employees, including social workers  and case managers dedicated to providing hope to New Yorkers in need.

On what we are calling “Social Work Wednesday” we invite you to meet some of our case workers, learn about what they do and see why they find their careers rewarding.

 

Milagros Nolasco – Senior Case Manager

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

A: I’ve been working in this field for about 10 years.  

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

A: I could define social work in so many ways. Yet, most significant is being empathetic towards others’ needs. It’s providing services to the less fortunate and by this I’m not only referring to the poverty level but also to those other needs that remain such as the social environment, empowering individuals to reach out or connect with needed services, helping our client’s become aware of their situations and how to deal with them. Overall, social work involves having the empathy & devotion to assist individuals in need and more so helping stop the injustice which many times takes place within this society. 

Q: What do you like most about your career?

A: What I like most about my career is being able to assist individuals in accomplishing their goals or in many cases just being able to plant that seed of hope or expectation in an individual that’s not feeling too good.   

 

 

Park Ave. Buildings by Train Tracks Explode

March 12th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Our thoughts and prayers are with all hurt when two five-story buildings in Harlem adjacent to the elevated Metro North train tracks collapsed shortly after 9 a.m.this morning. According to latest reports, an explosion in the buildings on the corner of 116 St. and Park Ave. occurred shortly after Con Edison received a call reporting the smell of gas, killing at least two persons and injuring nearly 30 others.

The explosion in 1644 and 1646 Park Ave., just nine blocks south of the Metro North’s 125th St. station, was so great that windows in buildings across the street shattered. Buildings blocks away rattled as if an earthquake had taken place.

200  fire fighters rushed to the site.

Metro North railroad service has been suspended.

Do you need help? Visit the Red Cross assistance center that just opened at P.S. 57 on 115th Street between Lexington and Third avenues or call 311.

Click here for live breaking news on ABC.

Super Storm Sandy: Help is Still Available

March 11th, 2014

Whether you have applied for FEMA or not, there may be free local resources available to you. A trained, compassionate case manager can work with you one-on-one.

  • Are you going it alone and it is not working?
  • Are you still waiting for responses from agencies?
  • Have you been denied and do not know why?
  • Are you having trouble applying for NY Rising?
  • Are you still living away from or in your damaged home?
  • Do you need someone to talk to?

Call today – Help is here
855 – 258-0483
www.sandydcm.org


The New York State Disaster Case Management program is operated by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York under the auspices of the New York State Office of Emergency Management and funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency

Lott Seniors Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler

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.