Posts Tagged ‘catholic charities staff’

Celebrating Day Laborers on Three Kings Day

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Ringed with garlands of evergreens and bows, St. Peter’s Church kicked off this year’s Three Kings Day celebration with a mass for the day laborer group, Oberos Unidos de Yonkers and their young families on Saturday, January 7.   The nearly 300-member crowd — with children in tow — then moved to the gym below converted into Santa’s workshop.  Children flocked to a stage brimming with trucks, teddies and toys and families feasted on ethnic specialties.

Organized by Catholic Charities staff and volunteers, the event offered respite for these day laborers who line up daily waiting for work during heat, rain and freezing snow.

It also served as a way to thank the day laborers for their hours volunteering, commuting by bus, train and ferry, to rebuild Staten Island homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

Three Kings Day, widely celebrated in the Hispanic community, commemorates the Twelfth Day of Christmas when the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem to share with the infant Jesus their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

This annual celebration is part of Catholic Charities’ ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos of Yonkers.  Catholic Charities educates workers about employment rights and responsibilities.  It provides assistance to prevent exploitation and workplace abuses including help with collecting unpaid wages. It assists with integrating workers into society.  It provides local resources including access to healthcare, emergency food and identification cards.  And it offers a meeting space along with English as a Second Language and computer classes to help immigrants with their goal of acclimating and contributing to their new homeland.

 

Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

Click here or call 917-579-9048

Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — for help finding more services you need.

 

Battling for Bishops and Pawns, Day Laborers Face Off with Friars at Family Day Celebration

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Day laborers’ children battled to capture bishops, kings and pawns at chess competitions held with Franciscan Friars at a family day celebration on May 19th.  For the first time ever, St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers opened its doors to Obreros Unidos and their families on Pentecost Sunday.  City of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano joined in the festivities.

The Catholic Charities-sponsored Family Day brought together more than 150 local day-laborer family members with seminarians, friars and Catholic Charities staff.  It was part of Catholic Charities’ ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area.

Through this program, Catholic Charities educates workers on employment rights and responsibilities to prevent exploitation and abuse. Catholic Charities also assists in the collection of unpaid wages, helps workers get access to healthcare services, provides emergency food, and offers English language and computer skills instruction.

The midday event began with Pentecost Sunday mass to celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Next, at an indoor picnic pulled together in response to the pouring rain outdoors, participants feasted on tacos, churros and flan.  Then they partied together as they faced off at chess matches, danced in Zumba exercise classes, painted faces and dabbled with arts and crafts.

Check out our Facebook page for more photos of the event.

Would you like to join Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

Call (914) 375-6729/48 or visit the office at St. Peter’s Church basement, 91 Ludlow Street, Yonkers, NY  10705

Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — to find services you need.

Final Public, Prayerful Words of Cardinal Dolan Before Flying to Rome

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Standing at the altar of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church before a life-size statue of Jesus crucified on the cross, His Excellency Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan celebrated his final mass with Catholic Charities staff and coworkers before leaving later today for Rome.  Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and 11 fellow concelebrants assisted with the celebration of the Eucharist.

The mass provided the Cardinal with a final time of prayer with members of the Archdiocese of New York before Pope Benedict XVI steps down from the papacy on Thursday. Cardinal Dolan will participate in the conclave of Roman Catholic cardinals to choose the Pope’s successor.

“What a source of consolation it is to be with all of you, people I love very much, people whose work I admire so completely, today before I leave for Rome,” Cardinal Dolan told the hundreds of staff members that packed the church at the Catholic Center on First Avenue and 55th Street in Manhattan.

His sermon combined his well-known wit with gratitude and guidance.  Garbed in a magenta robe, the Cardinal joked about his concerns about the “break-a-leg” good wishes he received.  He explained the logistics of his upcoming trip.  And he called for contrition, repentance, and renewal.

He hopes, he said, to return to New York before the end of March in time for Holy Week.

“To know that you’re going to be with me means a great deal,” he said, “so keep me in your prayers.”

A Blind Man Sees. A Deaf Man Hears.

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

A blind man – Iking Little – can now see thanks to services Catholic Charities staff maximized by drawing on publicity from The New York Times Neediest Cases campaign.

A deaf man – Vladimir Gongora – can now hear.

Learn more about how Catholic Charities partnered with the New York Times Neediest Cases campaign to transform lives in
this final story that concludes the campaign season.

Catholic Charities Volunteers Visit Home-Bound Seniors to Provide Help

Friday, December 14th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities staff and volunteers continue to partner with parishes and communities to assist people affected by Sandy, identifying those who still need help throughout the Archdiocese. For example, the storm presented a particular hardship for home-bound seniors on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, leaving them not only stuck in their houses but all alone as well.

This weekend, Catholic Charities staff and volunteers will go door-to-door among several especially hard-hit buildings in the neighborhood to assess the needs of residents. In addition to handing out informational flyers, volunteers will check in on individuals and determine how many seniors are in need of help or company.

With the information they learn from residents, Catholic Charities will plan new programs to meet the long-term needs of Sandy survivors.

If you would like to volunteer for one of the ongoing opportunities, sign up on our volunteer website:

 

Day Laborers help Hurricane Sandy Victims

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Fifteen volunteers from Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, a group of day laborers in the Yonkers area served by Catholic Charities, accompanied Catholic Charities staff on Sunday, November 18, to help people in the New Dorp neighborhood in a Staten Island whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.  Donning work gloves and masks they responded to requests, moving from house to house to break down walls, remove crumbling sheet rock and pull out destroyed furniture.

Catholic Charities has an ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos De Yonkers, a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area. Through this program, Catholic Charities educates workers on employment rights and responsibilities in order to prevent exploitation and abuse. Catholic Charities also assists in the collection of unpaid wages, helps workers get access to healthcare services, provides emergency food, and offers English language and computer skills instruction.

TRADING PLACES – From Volunteer to Staff and Back Again

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Pegeen Wall and Mary Marshall

Pegeen Wall and Mary Marshall did a double take when they heard one another’s name announced at a recent Catholic Charities volunteer training session held in Poughkeepsie.  They met decades back when Ms. Marshall, then a young mom, volunteered to teach children to swim at the local YWCA where Ms. Wall then worked as aquatic director.  But this time Ms. Wall, now semi retired, was the volunteer and Ms. Marshall was the recruiter seeking help.  Their professional and volunteer careers, they later learned, mirrored one another’s as they zigzagged back and forth from volunteer to staff and expanded their expertise along the way.

After their first meeting, Ms. Wall, today a grandmother of six, built a successful career in public relations and fund raising for nonprofit organizations while volunteering on a variety of boards and committees.  Meanwhile Ms. Marshall, a former IBM employee,  volunteered as president of a local nursery school board,  Parent-Teacher Association, garden club and more before volunteering at Catholic Charities in Ulster County in 1990.  She joined the agency staff in 1993 and has since worked her way up to her current position as Director of Catholic Charities Community Services in Poughkeepsie.

Now this social service agency is in the midst of a major drive to tap into volunteer expertise so that it can enhance and expand services offered.  Ms. Marshall has taken a leadership role in the effort in Poughkeepsie by drawing on expertise she developed working with and as a volunteer.

“We want to make sure we honor people who are generously giving their time,” Ms. Marshall said as she took a quick break from a monthly volunteer orientation and recruitment session in Dutchess County.  “Instead of fitting people into narrow volunteer positions,  we let them bring who they are and match them with what they have to offer.”

For Ms. Wall, this means the opportunity to do hands-on volunteer work by greeting clients, taking intake information and referring clients to Catholic Charities staff for help.

“I volunteered on boards and committees before but this has been an eye opener,” Ms. Wall said.  “I hadn’t expected the caliber, education and gratitude of people needing help,” she added, “and I’m impressed by the professional, gracious staff here that goes over and above in their efforts to serve.”

Looking for your perfect volunteer opportunity?

Visit www.CatholicCharitiesNYVolunteer.org to learn more information about volunteers and volunteer opportunities.

  • It’s easy. Simply type in a keyword such as “hunger,” “Thanksgiving,” or “seniors” AND your zip code.
  • Search for volunteer opportunities by your schedule, zip code and skill set and apply online.
  • Visit Getting Started to start volunteering right away.