Posts Tagged ‘Catholic Charities Community Services’

Teens Trade in Washington Heights for Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Trading in their Washington Heights neighborhood for a tour of Washington, D.C., more than three dozen low-income teens checked out monuments and colleges in our nation’s capital during their recent winter break, thanks to Catholic Charities Community Services-Alianza Division.

The tour, funded through a grant from the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation and collaboration with the High School for Media & Communications and Catholic Charities Community Services-Alianza Division, offered the students a glimpse of a future outside their neighborhood, a reason to study, and a step-by-step outline of how to apply for and get accepted by top-tier universities.

The visit included stops at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington and Lincoln memorials, a tour of Georgetown, George Washington and Howard universities and photos and selfies in front of the White House.

The trip was one of – and many say the most fun – of numerous offerings  Catholic Charities Alianza Division offers young people in the Washington Heights school community.

All the offerings share the same goal:  to inspire students to dream big and give them the resources to make it happen.

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

Toys & Coats Bring Warmth to the Holiday

Monday, December 16th, 2013

For the seventh consecutive holiday season, Catholic Charities teamed up with Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway to make the holiday season a little warmer and a little brighter for families in need.

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and Timothy Rooney

Empire City Casino President & CEO Timothy J. Rooney presented over 500 toys and coats gathered from its two-week toy and coat drive to Catholic Charities yesterday, December 12.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, accompanied by Catholic Charities Community Services Supervisor Karen Reynolds along with Sister Christine Hennessey  and Orla Kelleher of the Aisling Irish Community Center accepted the gifts for distribution to  local children and families.

“Providing help by giving a warm coat also provides some Christmas hope this season,” Ms. Reynolds said.

Read more in the Yonkers Tribune

Catholic Charities Joins Upstate Rally Promoting Services for Immigrants

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Representing Catholic Charities Community Services and the new Opportunity Center that provides English as a Second Language and immigration legal assistance in Orange County, Catholic Charities Migration Counselor Jessica Lazo joined U.S. representatives, businesses, farmers and community leaders at a rally held in Newburgh earlier this month. Ms. Lazo spoke about services Catholic Charities provides immigrants as others urged Congress to take immediate action to pass immigration reform.

“Now is the time that the House should come together to support a bipartisan plan that will … create an earned pathway to citizenship,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D- Cold Spring. “It’s not a handout but a fair way for hard-working people and their children to become citizens.”

Assemblyman Frank Skartados, D- Milton, agreed.

“As an immigrant who came to America when I was a teenager I have learned to appreciate the value of people who come here to make a better life for themselves and their families,” Assemblyman Skartados said. “The time is now.”

Meanwhile, President of the Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester Farm Bureau Mark Adams drew a loud ovation, reports The Times Herald Record, when he said that said the farming industry would be one of the biggest beneficiaries of reform. The industry, he said, needs a “willing legal workforce” or food may be produced offshore.

“It’s good for the economy, it’s good for business and it’s the right thing to do,” Skartados said.

Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center Opens Its Doors

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center (ADCC) officially opened its doors to the community yesterday with an open house featuring performances by children from its classical and folkloric music programs, and from its partner organizations in theater and film. The Center has been operating since this past  September under the direction of Program Manager Altagracia Diloné Levat.

In addition to visual, performing, and literary arts programming, ADDC seeks to build and strengthen community
through the arts by providing capacity building support to small arts nonprofits and actively reaching out to foundation
and other private funders to bring desperately needed funding to the Heights. Housed in the beautiful Alianza Dominicana Triangle Building, ADDC will become a home for local artists committed to enriching the lives of the residents of Northern Manhattan through the arts.

In 2012, the Board of Trustees of Alianza Dominicana reached out to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York for assistance. The Alianza Board wanted to ensure that there was continuity of services and that the programming stayed in the Washington Heights community and not be lost due to the financial difficulties the organization was facing. Through negotiations with the City of New York and other funders, Catholic Charities Community Services (CCCS) was assigned several contracts that maintained youth and cultural programs in the community for over 1100 youth in the Washington Heights and South Bronx communities.

“Catholic Charities is committed to ensuring that the community continues to receive, without interruption, the youth and cultural programs key to the Washington Heights area. It is important that the funding and programming stay in this community,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. “Catholic Charities supports the decision of the Alianza board and looks forward to a continued collaborative partnership.”

Part of this collaboration included CCCS’ commitment to the development of designated space at the Triangle building into a Cultural Center as had been originally envisioned by Alianza Dominicana. Thanks to the support of Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, CCCS was able to get funding through the City Council to centralize the cultural programs that that had been part of Alianza Dominicana for many years, and to promote collaboration among the many cultural service providers in Washington Heights. This collaboration keeps the dream alive of having a cultural center providing art, music, and theater programming free of charge to the community.

“We are setting out to make 165th Street the cultural gateway to Washington Heights, with the Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center playing a major role in the ambitious project,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “Our community has so much to offer in the way of music, art, literature, drama and dance, but too few spaces for which to showcase it all. That is why I was pleased to allocate $250,000 so a state of the art facility could house the great groups already doing amazing work in Northern Manhattan. We are keeping Alianza alive through the rich culture that blends so many communities together to make Washington Heights a beacon of the arts in New York City.”

ADCC’s 2013 – 2014 season is a testament to this commitment. For its premier season, the Center has partnered with several well-known cultural organizations in Washington Heights: the Association of Dominican Classical Artists and its Washington Heights Community Conservatory and Camerata Washington Heights, the People’s Theatre Project, KidCinema Fest and Dominican Film Festival, and the Conjunto Folklórico of Catholic Charities Community Services/Alianza Youth Services Division.

“This beautiful space was filled with children learning to make music and joyfully playing theatrical games while learning about healthy habits, all thanks to our partnership with the Washington Heights Community Conservatory and the People’s Theatre Project. These are just two of the many small, arts organizations in Northern Manhattan doing the work with little or no institutional support, said Altagracia Diloné Levat. “It is a great honor to have the opportunity to lead this effort to realize Alianza Dominicana’s vision for a multicultural center– with a focus on Afro-Dominican artistic traditions– in the heart of its Triangle Building. This new beginning would not have been possible without the support of Catholic Charities Community Services and for that, our community is deeply grateful.”

Alianza Cultural Center’s mission is to produce literary, performing, and visual arts programs; to support and strengthen community cultural programs and institutions in Washington Heights and Inwood; and to serve as a home to local artists committed to enriching the lives of Northern Manhattan residents through the arts. Alianza Cultural Center is a multicultural project, celebrating Dominican, Latino, and Latin American cultures, with a special focus on Afro-Dominican artistic traditions in our own programming. The Center’s physical space comprises the beautiful second floor gala/exhibition space, two performing arts studios and a large multipurpose space in the lower level, the lobby exhibition space, and the spectacular rooftop terrace.

Calling All DREAMers!

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Want to prepare for possible Immigration Reform? Apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals now if you are eligible.
You may qualify for a work permit, driver’s license, and Social Security number if you:

  • Came to the US before your 16th birthday
  • Have continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007 and are presently in the US
  • Were born on or after June 16, 1981
  • Are currently in school, or have graduated from high school, or have obtained a GED certificate, or are honorably discharged from the US military
  • Have not been convicted of certain crimes or pose a threat to public safety

Receive FREE legal assistance from Catholic Charities Community Services to determine your eligibility and apply.

Call one of these locations:

  • New York City  (212) 419-3700
  • Staten Island    (212) 419-3700
  • Poughkeepsie   (845) 452-1400
  • Kingston             (845) 340-9170
  • Newburgh          (845) 304-7442
  • Middletown       (845) 343-7675
  • Haverstraw        (845) 942-5791
  • Yonkers               (914) 476-2700
  • New Rochelle     (914) 476-2700
  • Monticello          (845) 794-8332
  • Peekskill              (914) 476-2700
  • Port Chester       (914) 476-2700

 

For other locations and general questions about an immigration matter call the NYS New Americans Hotline:

 1-800-566-7636.
Open Monday-Friday 9am-8pm

 

78-Year Old Breast Cancer Patient Beats the Odds & Hurricane Sandy

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

by Teresa Santiago

Edith DiCarmine, 78 has lived in Mahopac for over 45 years and in the same home for 42. She raised 18 foster children and adopted 4 of them 2 brothers and 2 sisters. She was unable to have children of her own but her life was dedicated to being a foster mom, nurturing, caring and loving children that so desperately needed her. It was not easy and she has gone through many challenges and heart breaks in her life, the most devastating the murder of her son Christopher, but she has persevered and has come out stronger in the process.

So when Edith one evening getting ready for bed felt a lump in her breast she thought “oh that’s not good.” She immediately saw a doctor to confirm her finding then a surgeon. She was diagnosed with an advanced stage breast cancer in 2010. For the past three year, Edith has been battling the cancer which has reoccurred 4 different times. She received three operations to remove the malignant mass and lymph nodes. She has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy and was scheduled to begin another round of chemotherapy in late October early November.
On October 29th Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast of the United States with 90 miles an hour gale force winds, flooding, and heavy rain. Edith’s area was hit hard, the road leading to her home and her drive way became a fast rising and flowing river, washing away cars, pavement, and trees and leaving behind deep muddy craters, uneven earth, and big rocks varying in size.
“In the 45 years I have lived in this area I had never seen anything like it. It looked like the surface of the moon with deep holes all over my driveway and front lawn,” remembered Edith. “I was stranded I could not get out.”

The time came for Edith to start her chemotherapy. Her car was at the mechanic because it was damaged. Several volunteers from her church came to take her to her appointments but could not get up the road or the drive way because of the severe damages sustained so she did not go to her chemo appointments. Her church friends came to bring her food and spend time with her but the visit was cut short when they got stuck in one of the craters for hours a tow-truck had to be called to get them out.

Edith was finally able to get her car back from the mechanic but had to park on the makeshift street. Finding herself with no groceries, feeling sick and very weak after chemo and with no help she decided to go to the supermarket on her own. When she arrived home exhausted she parked her car and preceded to, carefully climb up the driveway looking out for the holes. It had snowed and rained and the path was very icy and slippery. She finally got about halfway to her door when she fell spilling her groceries all over the driveway. She tried 2 more times to get up but kept falling. She crawled on her hands and knees until she couldn’t anymore. She began to yell as hard as she could for someone to help her but no one came.

Meanwhile in her next door neighbor’s house Molly their dog was becoming very restless, barking and running from the door to her master. Her owner could not understand why she was so agitated. The dog bit into his pant leg and pushed and nudged him towards the door to go outside. It was then that her neighbor heard Edith’s faint but desperate call for help. When he finally got to her about half hour later her hands, legs and face were blue from the cold and she was developing frostbite. He helped her up and carried her into her home. He then picked up her groceries and brought them inside. “Molly wagged her tail as Edith thanked her and her master for the helped they had given her.

A few days after this incident Edith was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, the chemo this time around was doing more harm than good. She spent weeks in the hospital. The chemo was suspended. “The chemotherapy affected me terribly. I lost my bottom teeth, part of my eyesight, hearing and my hair, remembers Edith. “The doctors took away the chemo and waited for my body to recuperate before I began radiation therapy.”

In early April Edith called the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA representatives came out and inspected the damage and they referred her to Catholic Charities. A few days later Edith met Christine McCormack, Catholic Charities’ Disaster Case Manager, Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of NY.

Ms. McCormack provided her gift cards for food and immediately began a recovery plan that includes the reconstruction her driveway. Ms. McCormack researched and identified pavement and construction companies to get estimates. She has received estimates  for the work on Edith’s driveway which will include much needed drains in front of the garage to avoid future flooding. A decision on which company to use has not been made yet however Ms. McCormack has outreached to several Catholic Charities partners to assist with underwriting the cost of the driveway repair including the United Way of Westchester and Putnam County, which has committed $6,000 to $8000 to go toward the repairs with Catholic Charities contributing the remaining amount. Edith also received $600 from FEMA which will also be used.

“Ms. DiCarmine has gone through a very difficult time. She is very frail because of the breast cancer and the chemo treatment but don’t let that fool you. She is a very independent person with great faith. My main concern was to make sure she was safe, getting to the hospital for treatment and beginning the search for a company that would do the work and the resources to pay for it,” recalls Ms. McCormack. “With our Catholic Charities partners and resources I am confident that Edith will have her driveway completed in a couple of months before the winter starts.”

“Christine has been an inspiration to me. She is such a caring person. She is a super, super, super star, in my life. I wish I had met her many years ago. I have learned a lot about myself with Christine about staying positive and not giving up,” recalls Edith.

In the middle of August Edith received great news, a clean bill of health. Her cancer is in remission.“You were a very, very sick lady. We almost lost you a few times,” Edith recalls the doctor telling her. “But after several serious operations, three rounds of chemotherapy that almost killed me, radiation therapy, and Hurricane Sandy, I have survived. I am still here!”

“I am not a Catholic, I was raised Baptist and I am a born again Christian. I have been a member of the Red Hills Baptist Church for over four decades. My church family has been very, very strong in their prayers and faith that I would get better,” says Edith. “At first I was a little apprehensive that Catholic Charities would not assist me because I was not Catholic but that is so far from the truth. They help anyone and everyone in need because we are all God’s children. I don’t know what I would have done without Christine, Catholic Charities and my church family. I would have been lost,” said a grateful and emotional Edith.

Help & Hope Career Coaching Workshops

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Join us at St. Christopher’s Parish Center in Red Hook, NY.

Catholic Charities Community Services is offering two free career coaching workshops with Ann Ruecker, MA, MPA and Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC).  She will work with you on staying motivated in these tough economic times, as well as where and how to look for jobs, networking techniques, building a better resume and cover letter, and other documentation that can be used when job searching.

By attending these two workshops, you are eligible for (3) one-hour personal coaching sessions.

Register now for the next series of workshops:

Part 1: Monday, September 9, 2013               6:15pm-8:30pm

Part 2: Monday, September 16, 2013             6:15pm-8:30pm

Workshops will be held at St. Christopher’s Parish Center, 30 Benner Road, Red Hook, NY  12571

Space is limited – Please register by September 6th.   

Contact Catholic Charities at (845) 452-1400 ext. 4905 or e-mail  mary.marshall@archny.org for registration and/or further information.

Looking for a (Better) Job?

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

If you are unemployed, underemployed, or simply looking for a better job, then you will want to attend our FREE Help and Hope Career Coaching Program offered by Catholic Charities Community Services.

Ann Ruecker, MPA, MA CPCC will provide you with:

• practical information
• follow up strategies that you can take with you and use the next day.

The program consists of:

• two group sessions
• and 1:1 optional follow ups

When: 
Part 1: Thursday, Aug 1st    7pm – 9pm AND
Part 2:  Tuesday Aug 20th  7pm – 9pm

Location:  Immaculate Conception Lower Church  53 Winter Hill Road, Tuckahoe, NY 10707

There is a $10 co-pay for each of up to three follow-up sessions.

You determine how many you need.  Use the follow-up sessions to:

• refine your resume
• discuss interviewing strategies
• hone your job searching skills.

To register or for more information please call Karen Reynolds  by dialing 914-476-2700.

First-Hand Stories of Tragedy and Survival; JustLove Celebrates World Refugee Day

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

A Nigerian man had his finger tips sawed off.  A Muslim child was threatened with death by her Serbian playmates.  They are two of the thousands of refugees helped by Catholic Charities Immigration and Refugee Services whose stories Mark Von Sternberg, Senior Attorney of Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Department, shared with Msgr. Kevin Sullivan on the recent JustLove radio program in celebration of today, World Refugee Day.

Millions of families have lost their homes to violence and war.  Some, such as the Nigerian man for whom Mr. Von Sternberg successfully gained asylum, lost body parts.  Others lost husbands, wives and children.

Tune in to our recent show on JustLove on The Catholic Channel 129, SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio to learn more.

World Refugee Day is a time when the United Nations, Catholic Charities and other civic and religious groups honor the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.

The Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program is dedicated to serving survivors of violence and persecution who have fled their home countries to seek a new life in the United States. Catholic Charities Community Services assists family members and sponsors in making applications for refugees who are outside the United States, and for asylees with recently obtained status.

Multilingual, multicultural staff assist in the processing of refugee applications with overseas posts and make pre-arrival arrangements to assure that the refugee will be cared for upon arrival to the United States. After arrival, the office provides direct services, material assistance, job search assistance, job training and placement, ESL classes, school enrollment and other social services.

Do you need help?

Catholic Charities operates the New York State New Americans Hotline , a statewide information and referral hotline that gives general information and referrals to appropriate service agencies in response to immigration and citizenship-related questions. Hotline operators speak English, Spanish, French, Haitian-Creole, Italian, Polish, Arabic, Turkish, Albanian, Macedonian, Bosnian, Serbo-Croatian, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi. New Americans Hotline provides an expanded menu of language options, previously not available, via a language service line, as well.

Call the New York State New Americans Hotline at 1-212-419-3737 or 1-800-566-7636 (Toll-free in NYS)