Posts Tagged ‘disability’

One-Legged Dad & Deaf Son Refuse to Let Disabilities Define Them

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Jose Arias did not curse fate when, at age 7, a car side swiped the car where he sat on a road in his native Dominican Republic and tore off his entire right leg. And he did not curse fate when his four-year-old son was diagnosed as deaf.

Instead he took any job he could get from cleaning cars to painting houses in Puerto Rico.  He and his son received legal U.S. permanent residence there nearly 20 years ago.

He also did all he could to help his son work hard as he did to overcome his own disability.  During school semesters, he sent the younger Jose to a school for the deaf in their native Dominican Republic because the school offered him a scholarship and a superior education than similar schools in Puerto Rico.  And during holidays and the summer months, he reinforced with his son the value of working hard to move beyond their life of poverty.

But when the U.S immigration authorities incorrectly took away young Jose’s green card in July 2011, Mr. Arias and his son did not accept this as fate.  Instead, for more than two years they fought back, hobbling from street to street and office to office speaking in Spanish, broken English and sign language to reverse this erroneous immigration decision.

Finally, thanks to free legal support supplied by Catholic Charities, an immigration judge completely reversed the flawed 2011 decision on October 24, 2013.  Now that Jose del Carmen is acknowledged once again as a lawful permanent U.S. resident he plans to complete studies to become a computer technician and land a job that will enable him to support his father as well.

Read their story in The New York Times.

Celebrating the Americans With Disabilities Act

Monday, July 29th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities celebrates the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act signed into law 23 years ago last week. It protects millions of persons with physical and emotional challenges across the United States. It prohibits discrimination and helps to enforce fair laws for the disabled across America.

The senior adjusting to recent blindness, the developmentally disabled child, and the emotionally challenged adult need the intensive care and support provided by Catholic Charities to live with dignity and in safety. Through a network of specialized services, Catholic Charities cares compassionately for the most vulnerable New Yorkers – non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

Click on an individual service to learn more:

Supportive Housing for the Mentally IllResidences for Special Needs • Early Intervention and Special EducationCaregiver Respite Adaptive Services for Deaf and Blind

According to the 2010 Census Data, 56.7 million people in the United States live with a disability, including half of all individuals over 65. Of those under the age of 65, only 1 in 3 are employed. And 23% of those with a disability live in poverty. By comparison, the poverty rate for those without a disability is 15%.

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Struggling with Disability, Abandonment and Adoption, Young Adult Finds Success

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Otis Hampton who lives at Create, a shelter affiliated with Catholic Charities for homeless young men, along with a group of fellow young people with big hearts, big challenges and big dreams had an afternoon to remember.

As CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reported, they got a real taste of Hollywood in Chelsea at the School of Visual Arts, complete with a red carpet before their movies were screened.

All the participants struggle with disability, abandonment and adoption. Otis, for example, was born with cerebral palsy that makes it difficult for him to walk.  His sister, who had a tracheotomy and was separated from him by adoption, also participated in the project.

They are channeling their challenges by creating mini movies about their lives.   Otis appeared in his sister’s movie and starred in his own movie as well.  The movies and the celebration were the result of a partnership between two groups: New Alternatives for Children and the Make a Film Foundation.

Growing up, Mr. Hampton was often teased by classmates and was stigmatized both for his disability and for the time he spent in the foster care.  He was adopted at age 8, but his adoptive father died after a stroke two years later. His profile was published last year as a New York Times Neediest Case.

Otis’ life at Create freed him from worries about living on the street.  While there, he has worked towards a college degree, is mastering the steps he needs to live independently and following his passion in film making.

Read his profile in The New York Times.

Watch him on CBS 2 News.