Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

Heroin’s New Hometown

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Heroin has hit the suburbs. Far too many of us are mourning the loss of children we once knew.

‘”The obituaries have a certain sameness to them,” write J. David Goodman and Michael Wilson in this week’s New York Times, “full of praise and regret for lives cut short, marked by telltale details and omissions. The deaths occurred at home, or at a friend’s house elsewhere on Staten Island. The mourned were often young and white, and although how they died was never mentioned, nearly everyone knew or suspected the cause.

“A 23-year-old man, a cello student in high school and the son of an elevator company vice president died in March. A former high school hockey player who delivered newspapers died in 2013 at 22. Another 23-year-old man who was working construction died at home in July 2012. Family members and autopsy reports revealed that they died from heroin or combinations of drugs including heroin.

“As the problem worsened, (gatherings began being) held at a nearby school, attached to Our Lady Star of the Sea, a Roman Catholic church on Amboy Road. Nearby, in the basement of the church rectory, a Pills Anonymous group meets.”

In Staten Island and suburbs throughout the New York Archdiocese and the nation, the scourge of heroin is tightening its grip. Thirty-six people died in Staten Island from heroin overdoses in 2012, reports The Times, the highest number in at least a decade. The death rate was higher than the city’s other four boroughs had seen in 10 years.

More than a dozen heroin-related overdose deaths occurred in northern Westchester and Putnam counties in the last year as well, reports the Ossining Daily Voice. Tragically, two deaths were reported just six days apart in small, suburban Cortlandt Manor.

Catholic Charities treats and supports those who are struggling to break the cycle of substance abuse. Far too often, substance abusers affect their families, homes, careers, and their health in ways that hurt others, as well as themselves. These programs are designed to touch all stages of the recovery process to assist an individual to become a functioning human being once again and take full advantage of the precious gift of life. Programs range from out-patient clinics and support groups to inpatient recovery programs. Support is also available to family members.

Are you or someone you know struggling with addiction?

To find a Catholic Charities agency that offers preventive services click here.

For more help, call our Catholic Charities Help line at: 888-744-7900.

Read the full story in The New York Times

Pushing for Worker Safety

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Today, April 24, 2014, marks the tragic one-year anniversary of the worst disaster in garment industry history, the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed 1,129 workers.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan has taken an active role keeping this issue in the forefront.  He joined a delegation this past December that included New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, whose state pension investments include companies that contract with garment factories and Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union to Bangladesh to observe garment industry conditions and meet with survivors and the families of victims.  Msgr. Sullivan published his concerns on blog posts and more recently in a New York Times editorial co-authored with Mr. Appelbaum.

“All of us must help minimize the human casualties of our global economy and ensure that the dignity of working people doesn’t end up on the clearance rack,” they wrote.

In this recent episode of JustLove, Catholic Charities’ weekly radio show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, The Catholic Channel 129, Msgr. Sullivan spoke again with Comptroller DiNapoli.

“It was a very moving experience,” DiNapoli said about their trip to Bangladesh, “with you, from the spiritual dimension and me from the investor side with our perspective… about social justice and worker rights.”

While western retailers and apparel brands are now pushing to improve safety at the Bangladesh factories they do business with, results, twelve months later, have fallen short.

Inspectors, The New York Times reports, have found problems in every factory they checked including, “buildings so overloaded that their columns had cracked, flammable fabric storage areas adjoining work spaces and fire stairways leading to the factory floor rather than outside the building.”

Second only to China, Bangladesh’s ready-made garment industry employs between three and four million workers.  Its history of corruption and slipshod work leaves open the potential for still greater loss of life.

“These heart-wrenching tragedies are not a sustainable business model,” Mr. DiNapoli said.  “They cannot keep this industry going if people are going to be maimed, injured or killed.”

Learn more on JustLove.

Read the full story in The New York Times

 

A Call to Do Better as a City

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Left to Right: Central Park South Skyline and The Auburn Family Residence Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES – THE OPINION PAGES | LETTER

MARCH 3, 2014

To the Editor:

Re “A Packed Forum for a Rising Concern: New Skyscrapers Near Central Park” (news article, Feb. 21) and “400 Children to Be Removed from 2 Shelters” (front page, Feb. 21):

In the eclectic way I look at the morning news, I read these two articles back to back. Two numbers caught my attention: From the first article, apartments selling for as much as $95 million; and from the second article, the cost of two homeless shelter upgrades, $13 million.

Something is seriously wrong with this picture. We cannot refrain from demanding that we do better as a city, as a country and as a world. I am not looking to assign blame, but the end result is just plain wrong. I am more interested in identifying those who are willing to be responsible to help right the situation.

We don’t and we won’t live in a perfect world, but we have to do better. As a first step, let’s just reverse the numbers: Cap the apartment at $13 million, and provide $95 million for shelter upgrades. At least then we’d be moving in the right direction.

 

Msgr. KEVIN SULLIVAN
Executive Director, Catholic Charities
Archdiocese of New York

 

New York Times Reports Increased Demand for Food Banks as Donations Decline

Friday, January 24th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Exacerbating cuts made last November in food stamp programs that feed the hungry, Congress is now eying significant additional reductions, reports The New York Times on Wednesday, January 22.

“Food banks across the country,” reports The New York Times, “are increasing efforts to prepare for the increased demand even as donations decline.”*

It is crucial now more than ever to join with us in Feeding Our Neighbors, our united effort to fight hunger.

Now in its third year, Catholic Charities will be joined by UJA/Federation to make Feeding Our Neighbors 2014 an interfaith campaign on behalf of New York’s hungry.

Starting January 26th, we’ll be leveraging our collective reach and already expansive networks for even greater impact — with the goal of collecting and distributing a combined one million meals to feed the hungry throughout New York.

Too many children and families struggle every day with hunger.

Feeding Our Neighbors, An Interfaith Response unites Catholic Charities and UJA-Federation of New York, two of the largest faith-based, not-for-profit organizations, to combine efforts to help fight hunger and replenish dwindling supplies.

You can be part of this united effort.  Help us collect and distribute food packages across pantries and shelters throughout the New York area.

Because ultimately, we do the most when we do it together.

Please join us!

Click here to donate – and write “Feeding Our Neighbors” in the comments field.

Reading this on your smart phone?  Text CCHOPE to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.   (Standard text rates apply.)

*Read the full story in The New York Times.

 

Abandoned Teen Plans Army Career

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Although he is only 19, Miguel Hernandez Ford has planned out his future.

In it, he has something he has never known: a real family.

Mr. Hernandez Ford’s mother abandoned Honduras for the United States when he was young, leaving him and his younger brother in the care of his grandparents. By the time he was 7, Mr. Hernandez Ford had to work operating furniture-building equipment instead of attending school.

He still bears the physical scars from those days.

As he talks about them, he fingers a spot on his hand where an accident left a wound requiring 25 stitches. “Sometimes they would hit me,” he said of his grandparents, attempting to shrug off the memories.

When Mr. Hernandez Ford turned 15, his mother, whom he had not seen in nearly a decade, sent for him.

Once again Mr. Hernandez Ford was forced to work, this time helping to support his mother and his four half brothers and sisters. After six months, he asked to be allowed to attend school. His mother denied his request and kicked him out of the house, he said.

Fortunately, Catholic Charities, in partnership with South Bronx United and the Medical-Legal Partnership Immigrant Youth Clinic, stepped in.  They found him a home and a caregiver.  Most importantly, they provided him with legal assistance to get a green card so that he can build a life for himself.

“First I want to get my G.E.D.,” Mr. Hernandez said, “then go to the Army.”

Read Miguel Hernandez’ full story in the New York Times

Msgr. Sullivan’s Trip to Bangladesh Continues to Resonate as We Approach Christmas

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Tomas Munita for The New York Times

“Adequate compensation for the disabilities and loss of life caused by the disasters along with safe building and working conditions were the major themes I heard from the garment factory workers in Bangladesh immediately after Thanksgiving.”

 Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

In a front-page story published just yesterday in The New York Times, reporter Jim Yardley documents how those living after the collapse are still struggling to make ends meet.   Even though the Bangladeshi government, local associations and overseas retailers have provided short-term compensation to survivors and loved ones, many still require financial support.

Last month, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan was invited to visit garment factories in Dhaka, Bangladesh with a delegation of New Yorkers that included Tom DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller, and Stuart Appelbaum the head of the RWDSU (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.)

The delegation met with surviving workers of the Rana Plaza factory collapse as well as family members of those who perished, labor leaders and retailers tied to the factory. More than 1,100 workers’ lives were lost nearly eight months ago.

“Our trip was intended to meet with the various sectors involved in the garment industry, the workers themselves, organizers, brand names and government officials to learn about what was going on,”  Monsignor Sullivan told Catholic New York.  RanaPlaza survivors and family members of the workers killed had a number of concerns regarding reforming building and work space conditions and receiving adequate compensation from the disaster.

Read more survivors’ stories featured in The New York Times.

 

Bullied Boy Begins to Thrive

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Bullied for much of his childhood and bounced between eight inner-city schools Edwyn Colon, 11, was treated for anxiety and panic attacks.

The young boy shares a one-bedroom apartment with his mother who is disabled by asthma, neuropathy and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and his grandfather who needs constant care due to the three strokes he suffered and Parkinson’s Disease.  His father left the family when Edwyn was four years old.

Edwyn needed someone outside his family, his mother said, someone healthy who he could look up to, learn from and begin to enjoy life outside their urban Bronx neighborhood.

Fortunately, the family found Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers, an affiliate of Catholic Charities New York.  The agency matched volunteer and investment banker Noah Anderson, 33, a “big brother”/mentor for Edwyn.

“I don’t believe anyone is self made; you are the people you interact with,” says Mr. Anderson.  “I was fortunate to interact with good people and I want Edwyn to have that experience.”

Read more in The New York Times.

Invisible Child

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

“She wakes to the sound of breathing,” New York Times reporter Andrea Elliott writes in this compelling new series that shines a light on the growing number of homeless children in New York City.

“The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets. A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet. Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.”

Ms. Elliott’s story follows the life of Dasani, an eleven-year-old who lives in the shadows of New York City’s high rises.  Her life appears more reminiscent of a 19th-century Dickens novel than of New York’s better-known twenty-first century stories of success.

The reality is that hunger and homelessness is growing in New York.

As Ms. Elliott reports:

  • Dasani belongs to a vast and invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression.
  • The ranks of the poor have risen, with almost half of New Yorkers living near or below the poverty line.
  • One in five American children is now living in poverty.
  • Nearly one-third of New York’s homeless children are supported by a working adult.
  • Even with both parents working full-time jobs, on minimum wage they would have combined salaries of only 2,300 per month.

Dasani and her fellow modern-day Oliver Twists have come to be known, among the city’s homeless advocates, as “the lost generation.”

At Catholic Charities we find and help children and families in need.

Thanks to Catholic Charities and our affiliated agencies, this year:

  • 6,600,000  children and their families received nutritious meals in parish & community food programs
  • 9,051   children and their families were provided with emergency overnight shelter
  • 7,254   children are growing and learning in day-care
  • 6,066   children and teens were placed in safe foster care
  • 4,628   youth are participating in sound after-school programs
  • 382      children were adopted by loving families

Do you or does someone you know need help?

Please call the Catholic Charities Help line at: 888-774-7900

For more information about a particular service, click below:

Day Care Summer Camps
Foster Care Community Centers
Adoption Preventive Services
After School / Out of School Time Activities

Can you help?  Join us now during this Christmas season and throughout the year.

 

 

Growing Up Among Addicts & Gangs,Teen Finds Help

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

The journey from home to school is an effortless walk for Xavier Cruz, 14, who just strolls around the corner and down the block. But considering where he is going, he may as well be traveling to another world.

Since the sixth grade, Xavier has attended St. Ignatius School, an educational oasis in Hunts Point, a Bronx neighborhood known for rampant crime and grinding poverty.

Now, thanks to the school’s and Catholic Charities’ intervention, Xavier sidesteps the gangs that surround him. Instead he prepares for high school, then college and finally, he says, a career in computer technology to help him pull his family from these streets.

Read Xavier’s profile in today’s New York Times.

 

 

 

 

 

A Dead Father’s Presence, A Daughter’s Challenge

Friday, November 15th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Julie Vann, 17, whose parents fled the brutal assault of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, dreamed of one day going to college and building a better life for her family.  But when her father who had found work in the U.S. as a maintenance worker, died last year from skin cancer, the challenge of overcoming her family’s tragic history grew tougher.

Her mother, who speaks little English and can no longer work as a manicurist due to carpal tunnel syndrome, weeps every day as she shares her dinner with a photo of her dad.  The family’s sole income is now just $1100 in Social Security survivor benefits for Julie and her younger sister.

Yet Julie remains determined to not only graduate from high school this year but to go to college to become an engineer.
Fortunately, Catholic Charities and its Transitio

n to Adulthood Program stepped it. Catholic Charities helped her prepare for her SAT exams, took her on trips to visit colleges, helped her complete her college applications and provided her, thanks to funds from the New York Times Neediest Cases program, with the money she needed to purchase her cap and gown, graduation tickets, senior award dinner and yearbook. Most important, it provided her with the counseling and support she needed to fulfill her dream.

 Read her story in today’s New York Times.