Posts Tagged ‘preschoolers’

Disabled Teens Take Their Turn Changing Lives

Friday, March 14th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

In a classroom decorated with primary-colored posters detailing how to tell time, multiply and “Follow Your Conscience,” teens with various disabilities from St. Dominic’s School packed boxes with donated food to support Catholic Charities “Feeding Our Neighbors” campaign.

“A lot of these children feel disconnected,” said St. Dominic’s Principal Paul Siragusa. “Helping feed the hungry makes them feel they have an impact on society that they never before could have dreamed of.”

And the 80 students, ages 5- 21, had a major impact. Together they took on the entire food drive, from making posters to studying foods’ nutritional values to soliciting donations to preparing food for distribution. All told, the students collected 500 pounds of food, enough to provide the hungry with 625 meals.

Some of the financially less fortunate children contributed as well, which, Mr. Siragusa said, “was worth more than an adults bringing in an entire bag.”

Located in Rockland County’s rolling hills, St. Dominic’s School provides targeted learning for children with special needs. Its intimate size, including two instructors for every eight students, is balanced by its large reputation. St. Dominic’s draws children from New York City, Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties whose needs are too great to be met by their local schools.

The school is part of Saint Dominic’s Home. This nonprofit Catholic social welfare agency affiliated with Catholic Charities is dedicated to meeting the educational, physical, social, emotional, medical, vocational and spiritual needs of 2,300 individuals who are developmentally disabled, socially disadvantaged and/or vocationally challenged.

Founded in 1878, Saint Dominic’s Home began as a safe haven for immigrant children who had been abandoned on the streets of New York City. Today, St. Dominc’s Home provides person-centered care for individuals with developmental disabilities in the Bronx, Orange and Rockland counties so they can live their lives with hope and dignity in a family-like setting. It prepares and supports foster parents so they can give children, who often have been neglected, abused, or abandoned, a brighter future and a loving home and family. It delivers a continuum of care to adults with mental illness and provides them the greatest level of independence. It grows the minds of disadvantaged preschoolers so they are motivated to excel. It gives children and youth with developmental disabilities and serious emotional disturbance living at home the opportunity to live in a more stable family environment.

And, through St. Dominic’s School, it enables children facing emotional and educational challenges to reach their potential.

The food drive, Mr. Siragusa said, has served as a springboard for a variety of activities. Students now participate in “Letters to the Heroes” where they write letters to soldiers thanking them for their service. They also take part in “Operation Goody Bag,” sending candy and homemade Valentine’s Day cards to first responders.

Despite their personal challenges, the students have learned, Mr. Siragusa said, that “there is always something they can do to help someone else.”

Learn more about St. Dominic’s School and Home.

Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan Marks Return from Rome with a Tour of Catholic Charities of Orange County Events

Monday, April 1st, 2013

By Alice Kenny

His Excellency Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan will make his first New York Archdiocesan tour since returning to New York after helping to elect Pope Francis.

Cardinal Dolan has scheduled three events on Thursday, April 4, 2013 that celebrate the work of Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County.  Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York Executive Director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan will join him.

At 3 p.m. on April 4, Cardinal Dolan will bless tour and cut the ribbon at Catholic Charities’ new locations at 305 North Street in Middletown, NY.  This location consolidates several programs into a single location: housing an OASAS licensed Substance Abuse Clinic, Case Management staff, Immigration Services, and our Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  The Substance Abuse Clinic provides assessments and individual and group counseling to individuals and families to help ensure a lasting recovery from substance abuse.  Case Management and Immigration provide a variety of bi-lingual services to individuals in need.  The EAP works with businesses, municipalities, organizations, and parishes, providing support and counseling services to over 65,000 covered employees and their family members.

The next stop at 4:15 p.m. will be a tour where Cardinal Dolan will give a special blessing to children that attend Catholic Charities Early Learning Center at 59 St. John Street in the Village of Goshen, NY. The Early Learning Center offers a full-day program for children ages six weeks to five years focused on early childhood learning, socialization skills and kindergarten readiness skills.

Cardinal Dolan’s final destination at 6 p.m. will be a cocktail reception at the 7th Annual Celebration of Charity held at Anthony’s Pier 9, 2975 Route 9W in New Windsor, NY.  This annual event also includes a dinner and silent auction.  2013 Caritas Award Honorees include Reverend Jeffrey Maurer, Pastor at St Mary’s Church in Washingtonville, Scott Batulis, President and Chief Executive Officer at Orange Regional Medical Center and the Eva Fini Fund for Rett Syndrome Research.

“We are honored by Cardinal Dolan’s visit and the significant statement it makes,” says Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County Executive Director Dean Scher. “By opening our new clinic in Middletown, Catholic Charities highlights the value we place on providing a wide range of accessible services to our local community and on providing help and hope for those struggling with substance abuse.  In the Early Learning Center, we underline the importance of daycare and early education for preschoolers to ease the minds of working parents.  And we gratefully acknowledge the key role of donors whose continuing support enables us to provide help and create hope for those in need.”

For information about purchasing a ticket for the upcoming 7th Annual Celebration of Charity contact Catholic Charities Community Services at 845-294-5124 ext. 303.

About Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County

Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County, one of the human service agencies of the Federation of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, is committed to building a compassionate and just society.  It is dedicated to serving the homeless, the hungry, the emotionally and physically handicapped, immigrants and the marginalized and vulnerable of Orange County regardless of religion.  It collaborates with parishes, individuals, government and other agencies.