Posts Tagged ‘New York Times Neediest Case’

Brothers Break Barriers; Set Legal Precedent

Monday, June 15th, 2015
Vargas

Carlos Vargas

By Alice Kenny

Cesar Vargas just joined his now much publicized brother, Carlos, in breaking barriers so big that his story also landed in The New York Times.

As CrossStreets readers, you probably  remember Carlos. He interned with Mark Zuckerburg at Facebook.  He washed dishes at a restaurant to help support his family at age 13.  He put himself through the College of Staten Island, taking seven years to graduate because he held down full time jobs while studying at the same time.  But because his mother brought him from their impoverished Mexican home to the U.S.  when he was 4 years old, he could not gain legal status.

Catholic Charities helped him renew his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.  This program does not alter his immigration status but does allow him to work and not face deportation.  And The New York Times reported on our success in this New York Times Neediest Case.

Now Cesar, who, like his brother, also has DACA status, just won a precedent-setting legal ruling.  An appellate panel of the State Supreme Court approved Cesar’s application to join the New York State Bar last week.  That makes him the first immigrant without legal status to be approved to work as a lawyer in New York.

The decision could be a test case, writes The New York Times, not only for the city but also for the country.  It could affect hundreds of immigrant would-be lawyers.  And it could empower fellow immigrants who arrived as children to the United States and received a reprieve from deportation.

Closer to home, this Supreme Court decision also directly affects Cesar’s brother.  Carlos just entered law school.

And both brothers plan to continue breaking barriers.

“In the end, if you are really going to be an advocate,” Cesar told The Times, “you can’t hide and you can’t just wait in the shadows.”

Read all about it in The New York Times.

Single Father Embraces His Role with Pride

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Aphotolong with all the demands and unpredictability of single fatherhood comes something else: all of the credit. And Romaine Sweat, 37, could not be prouder to take it.

“The great part about it, they are going to school and getting 100s,” he said of his oldest children. “I don’t have to say, ‘Me and Mom did it.’ It’s me.”

Catholic Charities Community Services Dutchess County steered this single dad to parenting classes, food pantries and provided him with financial help.   Astor Services for Children and Families, another Catholic Charities affiliate, provided counseling and early intervention programs for his two daughters who have learning disabilities.

Read their New York Times Neediest Case here.

Disabled Son & Abused Mom on Path to Self Sufficiency

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

 

zababa-dyp2

Wheelchair bound from the severe brittle bone disease he was born with, Edwin Zabala, 10, shares a single room with his mother and younger brother in a shelter for domestic violence survivors.  Edwin is about three feet tall with a round head nearly the size of his torso; his arms and legs are bent inward from frequent breakage.

His younger brother, Jorge, 6, acts as his protector during the rare times, other than school, that their mother feels it is safe to walk with them on the streets outside their shelter.  It is not that she is an overly-cautious mother.  It is that she knows, after witnessing Edwin’s bones crack again and again when they experience the slightest pressure, after seeing criminals hanging out on the tough streets outside and after enduring 11 years of abuse from their father, that the world outside their room for them is a dangerous place.

Thankfully, Dominican Sisters Family Health Services, a Catholic Charities affiliate, has made it safer.

Read their New York Times Neediest Case now.

 

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.