Posts Tagged ‘human services’

Isolated by Speaking only an Indigenous Language

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Today marks another in our Summer Agency Series.  The series spotlights some of the 90 agencies in our Catholic Charities federation that, day in and day out, provide help and create hope for New Yorkers in need.

Today, let’s take a look at Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service and a recent story written about this Catholic Charities affiliate in The New York Times.

Laura is a Mexican immigrant who lives in East Harlem, a neighborhood with one of the largest Latino populations in New York City, reports Kirk Semple in this recent New York Times article. Yet she understands so little of what others are saying around her that she might just as well be living in Siberia.

Laura, 27, speaks Mixtec, a language indigenous to Mexico. But she knows little Spanish and no English. She is so scared of getting lost on the subway and not being able to find her way home that she tends to spend her days within walking distance of her apartment.

After arriving in New York, most indigenous Latin Americans will learn Spanish before they learn English — if they ever learn English at all. The need has driven demand for Spanish language classes around the city. About a decade ago, the staff at Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service, an organization in East Harlem that provides services to the poor, noticed that an increasing number of the students enrolling in its English as a second language classes were not only indigenous language speakers from Latin America but were also illiterate.

Reasoning that it would be easier to teach the newcomers Spanish, which they were beginning to pick up at home and on the street, the organization turned the English classes into Spanish classes.

Beyond the critical language and literacy instruction the classes provided, they also helped the newcomers build “a much-needed social support network,” said Rosemary Siciliano, head of communications for Little Sisters of the Assumption. In 2012, however, the organization had to cut the program because of budget shortfalls.

Little Sisters of the Assumption nurses, social workers and aides began working intensively in East Harlem in 1958 and incorporated Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service, Inc. ten years later.  This neighborhood-based nonprofit organization delivers a holistic model of human services to the underserved, marginalized and poorest families in East Harlem through a variety of means.  These include home visits, onsite services and support groups to help people achieve the wellness and strength they need to thrive.

 

Find out more about Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service

Read the full story in The New York Times.

Giving Ex-Offenders a Second Chance

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

By Alice KennyATI & Families Shared Meal Time

The Catholic Charities federation of 90 agencies provides a wide range of human services throughout the Archdiocese of New York. Some are sponsored by religious communities, while others have grown from parish communities. Still others were founded by charismatic clergy, religious, or lay leaders. Together they form the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York: a federation of administered, sponsored and affiliated agencies touching almost every human need.

This summer offers a great time to spotlight their impressive histories and the unique, unparalleled services they offer.  Today, let’s learn about Abraham House.

This Catholic Charities sponsored agency traces its origins to two Roman Catholic clergy, Sr. Simone Ponnet, a Belgian nun of the Little Sisters of the Gospel order and Fr. Peter Raphael, a French priest who volunteered as a chaplain and celebrated mass with inmates at Rikers Island maximum-security prison.

Alarmed by the continuing cycle of repeat offenders, they founded Abraham House in 1993. Located in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South Bronx, Abraham House offers the incarcerated, ex-offenders and their relatives, regardless of their religion, a place of hope and community where lives can be rebuilt, families mended, lessons learned, and men, women and children deeply marked by crime can receive the spiritual, social and practical tools to become productive citizens.

Their innovative programs include an alternative-to-incarceration program for first-time offenders, especially those convicted of nonviolent crimes. Sponsored by the Catholic Charities Alliance, Abraham House offers extensive services to hundreds of adults and children affected by incarceration or other social factors like poverty, violence and truancy.

Find out more.

Catholic Charities Links Agency Leaders with Newly Appointed City Officials

Thursday, 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.

Inspired by Faith: An Ash Wednesday Reflection from Catholic Charities Executive Director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

February 22, 2011 — Ash Wednesday began for me on the West Side of Manhattan across from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.  For 80 years, St. Francis of Assisi parish has provided simple meals to hundreds of New Yorkers each day.

Cardinal Dolan at the St. Francis Food Line on Ash Wednesday 2012

Cardinal Dolan hands out food on Ash Wednesday morning at the St. Francis Food Line in Manhattan.

Today was much like others.  More than 300 hungry men (mostly) and women – known and called by name – received a simple meal to begin their day.  Today was also special because Cardinal Dolan, only back from Rome yesterday, helped to distribute meals this morning.  He pointed out that this is the right way to begin Lent.  He quoted from Ash Wednesday’s scripture readings: this is the type of fasting that the Lord desires – sharing your bread with the poor.

Lent provides us the opportunity to reflect on the all too present reality of suffering in the lives of those we help.  Day in and day out, the dedicated women and men of Catholic Charities work not merely alleviate this suffering, but to transform it.  This is done with limited resources and in an increasingly difficult environment that threatens not only those we serve, but also the organizations that provide this help.  Now more than ever we need each other’s support and prayers.

There are three traditional Lenten practices – prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  While sometimes seen as a burden, this season of Lent and these practices are also a gift.  Take the opportunity to pause and break the ordinary and necessarily hectic rhythm of your personal and professional lives to reflect and draw inspiration from the mysteries of our faith and tradition – and the relationships that provide strength.  In fasting, we touch our own self and focus on what we truly need.  In almsgiving – which takes so many different forms – we touch our human sisters and brothers with whom we share the same divine Father.  In prayer, we draw closer to the God whose love for us never ends.

A blessed and grace filled Lent.

Sincerely, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

We invite you to watch this special Lenten message from our executive director, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, and learn about how to approach the upcoming weeks as a time of renewal.