Posts Tagged ‘kennedy center’

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s Work Personified

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

More than 600 people gathered last week at the Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center to celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr.  This central Harlem landmark hosted celebrations sponsored by multiple groups that regularly meet there including, the Harambee Dance Company and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center New York Support Group.

“Harlem is the central point in the New York Archdiocese of Dr. Martin Luther King’s work personified; he walked the streets of Harlem,” said Kennedy Center Director Deacon Rodney Beckford.

The Deacon also served as the master of ceremonies at the at the Central Harlem Vicariate-sponsored interfaith service held last week at All Saints Roman Catholic Church in Harlem.

“The community was not only familiar with Dr. King as a national figure but as a personal figure; at this time every year all the institutions in Harlem rise to the occasion of remembering him and promoting the justice, peace and equality he espoused,” Deacon Beckford continued. “We at Catholic Charities Kennedy Center have always been at the forefront of that celebration.”

Transition to Adulthood Program Celebrates Students’ Success

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Forty-five high school juniors and graduating seniors from the Transition to Adulthood Program (TAP) gathered for an end of year celebration at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Center on June 29 to celebrate the year’s successes and to honor those who made the program so meaningful in their lives.

Christy Mathurin, right, congratulates a Transition to Adulthood Program student at the 2012 end of year celebration.

The program, based at the Kennedy Center and funded through the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, helps high school students from the Harlem community and beyond prepare for college and careers through leadership development classes, workshops, college visits and summer internships.

“All of the students who attended the event commented that they felt that the Kennedy Center was like a second home to them – a place where they truly belonged – and that program staff was like family,” said Christy Mathurin, youth program coordinator at the Kennedy Center.

At the event, program staff members awarded certificates to the rising seniors who completed one year of the program, and to the graduating seniors who had completed the program and are going off to college this fall. The celebration also welcomed back five TAP graduates who are currently attending college. Program graduates were awarded stipends to help cover college tuition and other expenses, and awarded certificates in recognition of their successful completion of a year in college.

Performances by members of the Kennedy Center’s African dance, modern dance and drumming groups followed the awards presentation.  As a special touch, TAP students, graduates and their families were invited to join these groups on stage and participate in the performances themselves.

“The event was very touching for students and all attendees. It brought something magical,” said Mustafa Tabakovic, Catholic Charities program director. Tabakovic said he hoped that the creative performances would inspire students and community members to get involved in the diverse activities offered by the Kennedy Center, and enrich the Harlem community through their energy and participation.

This is the second year that the Kennedy Center has hosted this end of year celebration for its students and performers, and it promises to be a long-standing tradition.

“We were told by everyone who attended the event that we need to hold this celebration every year,” said Mathurin.


Deloitte Volunteers Make a Big IMPACT at Catholic Charities

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Deloitte IMPACT Day 2012 volunteers with artwork created for Beacon of Hope House.

On Friday June 8, Deloitte employees volunteered for a variety of Catholic Charities programs and agencies as part of Deloitte 2012 IMPACT Day — an annual organization-wide event where Deloitte employees celebrate the beginning of their new fiscal year by giving back to the community and the nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to service all year long.

At the Catholic Charities Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry, volunteers distributed fresh produce along with new vegetable steamers to individuals from the Washington Heights/Inwood communities. The focus of this project was not only to feed the hungry, but also to provide the necessary tools for food pantry clients to prepare healthy meals for their families.

During a morning address to volunteers, Jeanne McGettigan, Catholic Charities Community Services Director of Emergency Food Services, explained the importance of healthy eating for families living in a neighborhood with a proliferation of  cheap, deep-fried food and a scarcity of fresh produce markets.

“While we work in providing food to the community, we consider ourselves public health workers,” McGettigan said.

McGettigan discussed how statistics consistently reveal that harmful health issues stemming from deficient nutrition plague low-income areas, making this project particularly important to the community.

Deloitte volunteers spent the morning preparing vegetables and learning how  many New Yorkers have come to depend on the pantry in these difficult economic times. As volunteers quickly washed and chopped broccoli, carrots, red peppers and fresh greens, a line of clients formed outside the pantry.

By lunch time, the room was transformed into a health-themed showroom. On one side of the room, bilingual volunteers individually showed clients how to use their new steamers. On the other side, a row of freshly steamed vegetables awaited clients as volunteers served them plates with various homemade dipping sauces to sample.

“The idea of giving back is always good, but our work is especially meaningful today, since we are helping people prepare healthy food and contributing to good nutrition,” said Deloitte volunteer Yohan Bobcombe.

In addition to volunteering at the Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry, Deloitte volunteers also gave back at the following locations:

At Grace Institute, a Catholic Charities affiliated agency that provides tuition-free, practical job training for underserved New York area women, Deloitte IMPACT Day volunteers helped students prepare for upcoming job interviews by giving mock job interviews and assisting students with interviewing skills. View pictures of Deloitte IMPACT Day volunteers working with Grace Institute students.

At the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Center, Catholic Charities’ thriving community center located in the heart of Harlem, volunteers helped the center prepare for an upcoming open house by refreshing the building and helping it look clean and new.  The IMPACT Day team painted hallways and the exterior of the building, and also painted the outside of the “white building”, which used to serve as a coventry for women religious. View pictures of Deloitte IMPACT Day and see how volunteers dramatically refreshed the appearance of our Kennedy Center.

Another Deloitte IMPACT Day team created beautiful artwork to help improve the emotional well being and quality of life for clients of Beacon of Hope House, which operates residences and a day program for the mentally challenged in Staten Island and the Bronx. Volunteers helped paint multiple canvas paintings to be displayed in four Beacon of Hope House locations. View pictures of Deloitte IMPACT Day volunteers and the art they created for Beacon of Hope House.