Posts Tagged ‘social service programs’

Blind Immigrants Tour Metropolitan Museum of Art

Friday, June 13th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

On June 6th one hundred and sixty volunteers from the national consulting firm Deloitte ventured away from their offices and gathered at more than a dozen separate site locations affiliated with Catholic Charities and its social service programs.

The combined effort of so many volunteers at so many different locations in a single day made a visible impact on those we serve. During the following weeks we will offer a glimpse at their adventures and at the large amount that together we can accomplish.

Blind, poor, many fleeing oppression from another nation and most barely able to speak English, 12 adults huddled around the red granite sarcophagus of Usermontu, the First Prophet of Muntu, and gasped.

“Oh, I love this,” said Lordina Osei–Ofori as a Metropolitan Museum of Art museum guide encouraged her to feel inside the 4,000-year-old coffin and search for inscriptions.

Most of the tour participants had never before been inside a museum. Yet here they were in the largest museum in the nation, the 10th largest in the world, thanks to Catholic Charities Guild for the Blind and navigational support from six Deloitte volunteers.

Watch our slideshow as together participants master city streets, subways and art.

 

From Super Heroes to Liturgical Dance

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Looking for Super Heroes Movement classes, African Drum instruction or just good old ballet lessons?  Check out Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Center’s new Project Performing Arts dance programs for children.

Administered by Nina Klivert-Lawson, this former performing arts director worked for 26 years at The Harbor, a well-known community organization in East Harlem.  She and her instructors collaborate with Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese Office of Black Ministry to provide classes to youth registered as members of the center.

Volunteer instructors screened by Catholic Charities’ volunteer division provide skilled instruction each Saturday at Kennedy Center.  Not surprisingly, the various dance classes – that also include drama as well as modern, liturgical, jazz and African dance – have often attracted over 70 participants ages 4 years to 18.

These new classes bring added life to this already active center. They also broaden the center’s reach to middle-school-aged children and their parents, linking them to the numerous social and social service programs offered there.   Perhaps most important, the programs expose neighborhood children to the arts while encouraging life-skill disciplines that help them perform better in school and in life.

 

Dinner Theatre Morphs into Magic

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Dennis Scimone, Director of Residential Services for Beacon of Hope House with Denise Bauer Director, Beacon of Hope House

By Alice Kenny

Hosted by and for consumers with mental illness, the Catholic Charities Beacon of Hope annual talent show and dinner theatre– now in its twenty-eighth year — is always packed with creativity, comedy and fun.

But this year’s show held at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Center in Harlem on May 1 went over the top thanks to a last-minute rendition of “God Bless America” belted out by the Harlem Alumni Boys and Girls Choir.

Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Center is always a hopping place.  Dance classes, music, theatre and social service programs fill this central Harlem meeting spot day in and day out from its basement to its top floor.

Sometimes the synergy morphs into magic, as it did on Talent Show night.

Ninety consumers along with family and friends from Beacon of Hope residential programs and its vocational club house had already feasted at the dinner theatre event as fellow consumers emceed and regaled them with a fashion show, songs, dances, original poetry, and outstanding music played on the guitar, drums and harmonica.

A special night like this, however, seemed to need something extra, said Damian Buzzerio, who helped coordinate a team of five volunteers that helped at the event.  That’s when the Harlem Alumni Boys and Girls Choir that had been training in their usual rehearsal room, made their surprise appearance.  As their special gift to this special group, the choir trooped on stage and belted out God Bless America.

“It is becoming more and more difficult to find such a special and safe place for events such as these to flourish,” says Debbie Ciraolo, an American Sign Language interpreter with Beacon of Hope who assisted with the show.  “I cherish this experience.”

Join us to find a “special, safe place” that recognizes your talents and creativity.

 Click here to find a volunteer opportunity tailored just for you.

Fidelis Care Provides Grant to Help Serve Needy New Yorkers

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

From Left to Right: George Rodriguez, Fidelis Care NY Director of Marketing; Mark Sclafani, Vice President, Marketing; Pamela Hassan, Chief Marketing Officer; Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Catholic Charities Executive Director; Beatriz Diaz Taveras, Executive Director CCCS

By Alice Kenny

Fidelis Care, a partner with Catholic Charities Community Services (CCCS) for nearly a decade, donated $509,000 to Catholic Charities on May 3, 2013 to further the two agencies’ aligned mission to serve the poor and needy of New York.

This partnership has proved particularly important in light of the punishing impact the lasting effects the economic recession and deep cuts in social service programs have had on families in need.

  • One in every six New Yorkers – 1.4 million of our neighbors – now relies on daily emergency food.
  • More than half are employed yet still cannot manage to make ends meet with their earnings.  Close to 9,700 families with 15,000 children sleep in homeless shelters.

These numbers indicate what Catholic Charities already knows.  Poverty is not merely the lack of adequate financial resources.  Instead, it entails a profound deprivation, a denial of full participation in the economic, social and political life of society and an inability to influence decisions that affect one’s own life.  It means being powerless in a way that assaults not only one’s pocketbook but also one’s fundamental human dignity.

Fidelis Care is the New York State Catholic Health Plan, providing health coverage to children and adults in 58 counties statewide. The mission of Fidelis Care is to ensure that every resident, regardless of income, age, religion, gender, or ethnic background, has access to quality health care and is provided with dignity and respect. Through partnerships with providers, schools, and community agencies like Catholic Charities New York, Fidelis Care works to foster healthier futures for members and their families.

Now as more and more individuals and families seek help, the Fidelis Care grant assists Catholic Charities Community Services as we continue to respond as we always have, with professional case management services across the ten counties of the Archdiocese of New York that alleviate crises and set families and individuals on a path toward stability.

Immigration Reform; This Suffering Must End

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
  • USCCB President says “Now is the Time” to reform Immigration system
  • Cardinal Dolan: Suffering of migrants must end
  • Path to citizenship should be improved and families protected
  • Enforcement should guarantee basic human rights

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said in a press conference April 22 that “now is the time” to fix the nation’s broken immigration system. Cardinal Dolan was joined at the press conference by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the USCCB Communications Committee.

“Let me say that now is the time to address this issue,” Cardinal Dolan said. “As we speak, persons are being deported and an untold number of families are being divided. Human beings continue to die in the American desert. This suffering must end.”

The Catholic Church has much to bring to the national immigration debate, given the Church’s history as an immigrant church, “having welcomed successive waves of immigrants into our parishes, social service programs, hospitals, and schools,” Cardinal Dolan said. “As the pastor of the archdiocese of perhaps the greatest immigrant city in the world, I know first-hand of the many efforts that have been made by the Catholic community on behalf of immigrants.”

He pledged to work with the sponsors of immigration legislation and other elected officials to “achieve the most humane legislation possible.”

In responding to recently introduced immigration reform legislation in the U.S. Senate, Archbishop Gomez said the path to citizenship for the undocumented population in the legislation is welcome, but certain requirements “could leave many behind, remaining in the shadows.” He pointed to the need to shorten the time required to obtain citizenship, to create a more generous cut-off date and to remove barriers for low-income migrants as areas for improvement.

“If the goal [of the legislation] is to solve the problem in a humane manner, then all undocumented persons should be able to participate,” Archbishop Gomez said. He also cited the need to preserve family unity as the cornerstone of the nation’s immigration system.

“This is an important and historic moment for our country and for the Church,” Archbishop Gomez added. “We hope to see the legislation improve and advance, and we will work toward that end. The lives of millions of our fellow human beings depend upon it.”

Bishop Wester said that eligibility for permanent status and citizenship should not be contingent upon enforcement initiatives contained in the legislation. He warned that it could create a de-facto permanent underclass.

Bishop Wester also called for the immigration debate to be conducted in a “civil and respectful” manner.

“This is an important and historic moment for our country and for the Church,” Archbishop Gomez concluded. “We hope to see the legislation improve and advance, and we will work toward that end. The lives of millions of our fellow human beings depend upon it.”