Posts Tagged ‘Our Lady Star of the Sea’

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

Catholic Charities Announces $250,000 Holiday Assistance for Staten Island Sandy Survivors

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Msgr. Sullivan speaks with Sandy survivors

By Alice Kenny

Staten Island families can still sign up for Disaster Relief Services to become eligible

Catholic Charities announced a $250,000 program to provide holiday assistance to Staten Island families still affected by Hurricane Sandy.

  • The help will come in the form of gift cards for holiday meals and needed food or other necessities  such as coats, blankets and household items during this Thanksgiving through Christmas season.
  • The focus of this service, to begin in mid-November, are families with  an open case through the disaster case management program available through Catholic Charities and other Staten Island organizations.
  • Case managers remain ready to accept additional referrals and provide help.
  • The announcement coincides with the first anniversary Hurricane Sandy Mass of Remembrance at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Staten Island celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan on October 27.

“As the holiday season approaches, we know this is the time of year we can do more,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities. “Catholic Charities has been on the ground in Staten Island since Sandy hit, thanks in part to the many local pastors who did a tremendous job assessing needs and finding ways to give back to the community. We plan to be in the community for the long haul since we know more work needs to be done. It is our hope that these gifts during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons will alleviate some of the overwhelming physical and emotional devastation experienced by these families. For any family still seeking help, our case managers are ready to help.”

Cardinal Dolan, who has made several pastoral visits to the people and parishes of Staten Island that were affected by Sandy, noted that “Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York has been on the front lines, providing not only relief, but coordination of aid, helping as well to renew the spirit by providing counselors for those hit hard by loss. In the days and weeks immediately following the storm, I saw firsthand their work and those of our Pastors with people whose lives had been so badly impacted by the storm. I know that Catholic Charities will be here continuing to help for as long as they are needed.”

The holiday assistance program is part of the ongoing assistance that Catholic Charities has provided Staten Island communities since last year. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Catholic Charities:

  • Distributed more than $1 million in direct assistance
  • Converted existing space into a Staten Island collection center to provide food, water, cleaning supplies, blankets, and financial Support to over 1,000 individuals with lasting power issues
  • Mobilized hundreds of volunteers to work reconstruct homes and streets
  • Provided meals
  • Staffed a disaster relief center in Staten Island seven days a week to centralize resources with an intake hotline to answer residents’ questions

Due to ongoing unmet needs facing many Staten Island families, Catholic Charities has committed to helping the borough for the long term.

One of the ongoing initiatives, the disaster case management program, was announced by Governor Cuomo in April and is administered by Catholic Charities. It provides disaster survivors with a single point of contact to develop and carry out a disaster recovery plan by getting access to a broad range of needed resources.

  • Roughly 200 service coordinators are stationed throughout the 13 hardest-hit counties, including New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties.
  • Catholic Charities provides the services directly or partners with local not-for-profits like the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Staten Island, El Centro del Inmigrante, Lutheran Social Services, the Arab-American Family Support Center and the Center for Independence of the Disabled.
  • In Staten Island alone, nearly 800 families have been provided disaster case management through this program.

Eligibility for the program is open to anyone with an unmet need that arose from or was exacerbated by Superstorm Sandy, even those who have not applied to FEMA for assistance.

Those impacted by the storm can call the Sandy Referral Line, 1-855-258-0483, to find out the location and contact information for their nearest service provider.

A full list can also be found online at  www.catholiccharitiesny.org/disasterrelief

Check out more photos of the event.

Boos for Hurricane Sandy; Cheers for Its Victims

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Synchronizing flying Dutchmen’s with back flips and shouts, cheerleaders raised spirits and funds for a good cause at the 2013 Cheerleading Competition held on Saturday, March 2, at the largest youth sporting event staged every year on Staten Island.

This year marked the 57th annual Cheerleading Competition held by Catholic Charities Catholic Youth Organization, CYO, in Staten Island.  But in the wake of Hurricane Sandy that destroyed the homes and businesses of families and friends throughout much of this borough, the cheerleaders decided to do something different.  Instead of competing, high school cheerleaders performed in a Cheer for Sandy exhibition that donated proceeds to benefit victims of the storm.

Nearly one thousand parents, grandparents and friends filled the stands at the College of Staten Island’s Sports and Recreation Center in Willowbrook.

“This is like the Super Bowl, the World Series for Staten Island,” said Kristine Romano, cheerleading coach with our Lady of Queen Peace.

Elementary-aged cheerleaders held their regular annual competition earlier in the day.  Winning teams – including Our Lady Star of the Sea that placed first for both the Elementary Varsity and Deb Regular competitions – then performed their routines with high school cheerleaders during the afternoon Cheer for Sandy performance.

“We try to teach our kids that there is a connection; that it’s not just sports,” said Joe Panepinto, executive director of Staten Island Catholic Charities.  “And they’ve been wonderful.”

Click here if you missed the competition but still want to help

Watch the video on NY1.

Read more in the Staten Island Advance.