Posts Tagged ‘Beacon of Hope’

Christmas Hope for the Mentally Ill

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Decked in Santa caps, plates brimming with food and Christmas carols ringing in the background, mentally ill adults served by Catholic Charities Beacon of Hope Division celebrated the holiday season last week at the annual Beacon of Hope Holiday Party at the Epiphany Parish Hall on East 21st Street.

Some spoke and danced, some rocked and observed and nearly all chuckled as Cardinal Dolan showed off his Irish step-dance moves.

Beacon of Hope staff joined with Catholic Charities board members and volunteers from the national consulting firm, Deloitte, to celebrate the event. The Beacon of Hope Division of Catholic Charities Community Services is a residential program for approximately 436 individuals at 10 sites primarily in the Bronx, and on Staten Island.  Those served are seriously and persistently mentally ill adults; the program strives to enable them to live as independently as possible in their community.

“Beacon of Hope… taught me everything I need to know to basically live … on my own,” says Angela in this holiday video of the event.

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Dinner Theatre Morphs into Magic

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Dennis Scimone, Director of Residential Services for Beacon of Hope House with Denise Bauer Director, Beacon of Hope House

By Alice Kenny

Hosted by and for consumers with mental illness, the Catholic Charities Beacon of Hope annual talent show and dinner theatre– now in its twenty-eighth year — is always packed with creativity, comedy and fun.

But this year’s show held at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Center in Harlem on May 1 went over the top thanks to a last-minute rendition of “God Bless America” belted out by the Harlem Alumni Boys and Girls Choir.

Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Center is always a hopping place.  Dance classes, music, theatre and social service programs fill this central Harlem meeting spot day in and day out from its basement to its top floor.

Sometimes the synergy morphs into magic, as it did on Talent Show night.

Ninety consumers along with family and friends from Beacon of Hope residential programs and its vocational club house had already feasted at the dinner theatre event as fellow consumers emceed and regaled them with a fashion show, songs, dances, original poetry, and outstanding music played on the guitar, drums and harmonica.

A special night like this, however, seemed to need something extra, said Damian Buzzerio, who helped coordinate a team of five volunteers that helped at the event.  That’s when the Harlem Alumni Boys and Girls Choir that had been training in their usual rehearsal room, made their surprise appearance.  As their special gift to this special group, the choir trooped on stage and belted out God Bless America.

“It is becoming more and more difficult to find such a special and safe place for events such as these to flourish,” says Debbie Ciraolo, an American Sign Language interpreter with Beacon of Hope who assisted with the show.  “I cherish this experience.”

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Beacon of Hope House Christmas Party Brings Holiday Cheer

Friday, December 14th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

On December 4th, 2012, Beacon of Hope House held their annual Christmas party at the Church of the Epiphany in Manhattan. Over 160 people attended for an evening of holiday celebration.

Catholic Charities staff and volunteers helped set up the party, serve food and drinks and organize a raffle for party attendees. The creative raffle baskets handed out to lucky winners included supplies for a movie night, a spa basket and a healthy eating kit.

In addition to Beacon residents, among the guests in attendance were Executive Director of Catholic Charities Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, who gave the blessing, and Catholic Charities Community Services Board Member John Baldante.

Guests spent the night dancing to Latin music and savoring delicious food. They also had their pictures taken with friends and received a picture frame along with it as a party favor. Denise Bauer, Director of Beacon of Hope House, noted how much the guests enjoyed the chance to be photographed with their friends and how much they appreciated the special keepsake.

Beacon of Hope House operates residences and an employment Clubhouse in the Bronx and on Staten Island for over 430 individuals with mental illnesses.

To volunteer for upcoming opportunities to spread holiday cheer and help those in need, sign up on our volunteer website.