Posts Tagged ‘Staci-Jo Bruce’

Young and Rubicam Teams Up with Developmentally Disabled

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

With breakaways, drop kicks and punts, eight volunteers from the international marketing and communications company, Young and Rubicam, teamed up with 20 developmentally disabled adults at Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Memorial Center gym earlier this month for a day filled with soccer drills and games.

Organized by Catholic Charities Director of Volunteer Services Staci-Jo Bruce, the event enabled volunteers to provide a meaningful day for the developmentally delayed adults, all passionate soccer players, served by Catholic Guardian Services, an affiliate of Catholic Charities.

Teaming Up with Corporate Volunteers, Artist Brightens Lives

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Theresa Flaherty turns on a projector and casts her blueprint onto an 18-square-foot canvas divided into six equal sections  temporarily housed in a Terrance Cardinal Cooke Catholic Center conference room.  After pairing her inspiration with hours of painstaking computer design work, this Catholic Charities volunteer’s creation is ready to roll.

Her creativity provides the essential link between corporate volunteers yearning to brighten the lives of persons in need and locations where some of those served by Catholic Charities live and thrive.

Catholic Charities Beacon of Hope, for example, provides supportive housing and vocational transition programs for persons challenged by mental illness.  While providing much needed services, the sites could benefit from brightening.

Meanwhile, corporate volunteers from the financial services company Deloitte LLP and the media company Viacom offered their help to cheer up these sites.

But their know-how was in business, not in art.

So Catholic Charities Director of Volunteer Services Staci-Jo Bruce advertised for a volunteer mural artist to design paint-by-number-type canvases that corporate volunteer groups could complete.  Voila…Theresa saw the ad posted and signed right up.

“A lot of art out now is about self expression,” Theresa says, as she traces her projected design on to the canvases.  “I want to go someplace else, to give something to the viewer to uplift them.”

Once she finishes her outlines, corporate volunteers can dawn aprons, pick up paint brushes and try their hands in a new line of work.

They have already completed six designs — 36 canvases all told — that now brighten Beacon of Hope locations.

“The unusual coupling of artists with corporate volunteers and persons in need creates a dynamic where everyone wins,” says Damian Buzzerio, who assists with the Catholic Charities volunteer program.

For corporate volunteers, it offers a morale booster where artistic clerks and less artistic bosses swap leadership roles as they take advantage of the opportunity to help those in need.

For Theresa, who earns her living as a book and poster illustrator, volunteering provides a stress reliever that offers an opportunity to create according to her own inspiration.

And for Beacon of Hope residents, the donated art serves as an uplifting reminder that people, many of whom they never meet, care enough to brighten their homes and lives.

“I think art should be where you need it,” Theresa says, “for regular people and not just in galleries.”

Artistic or not, you can make a difference.

Check out our comprehensive list of volunteer opportunities.

Come join us. 

Sign up now.

Volunteers Put Down Their Frying Pans and Had a Feast

Monday, May 6th, 2013

On the very last, most beautiful day of April 2013, 143 tireless workers put down their frying pans, serving trays, aprons, and hand trucks to feast and be celebrated.  From the farthest corners of the Bronx to the Lower East Side, volunteers from food pantries and soup kitchens  supported by Catholic Charities Community  Services gathered at the Triangle Building of Alianza for the first-ever Volunteer Appreciation Event held in their honor.

The same men and women who, earlier that day, were packing 200 bags of food or scrubbing pots, got the chance to sit down to a catered meal while CCCS staff called out name after name of volunteer chefs, food packers, inventory specialists, and data base managers.  In all, 46 program coordinators and long-time volunteers from 14 different programs came up to the podium to receive certificates from Monsignor Kevin Sullivan.  Honors were given for years of service ranging from 20 to 36 years, and for those special volunteers who worked “Above and Beyond”, as their certificates stated.   These included senior Maria Sanchez, founder of St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen in the Bronx, who has been leading the program for 20 years, and young Walter Martin, who uses his free time in between job interviews to work for no less than 4 different pantries.

“We’ve been wanting to do this for so long” said Jeanne McGettigan, Director of Emergency Food Services.  “Monsignor Sullivan and Staci-Jo Bruce, Director of Volunteer Services were the ones who finally made it happen.  It was so moving to see all of these generous, hard-working people gathered together in one place.  We really are one big team, but we don’t often get to see ourselves that way.”

Ms. McGettigan said the event organizers were particularly pleased that CCCS staff was able to make these activities completely bi-lingual.  Well over 50% of the volunteers in attendance consider Spanish their first language.  To make sure that all felt included, everything from invitations, to program cards and presentations by speakers was carried out in Spanish and English.  Project Manager Lizaura German emceed and translated as needed.  Monsignor Sullivan and Beatriz Diaz Taveras, Executive Director of CCCS traveled comfortably between languages as they thanked the volunteers for their steadfast efforts to beat back hunger in their communities.

Also delivering a rousing speech in two languages was special guest Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez of Washington Heights and Inwood.  Remembering how, during his childhood, his own family had sometimes needed food assistance, he told the volunteers that he “didn’t think twice” about dedicating Council discretionary funds to the busy CCCS pantry nearby his office.

An additional service award was presented to Christopher Melito of Credit Suisse, recognizing the company’s Day of Service, which brought 20 corporate employees to a CCCS food pantry for the day to prepare and demonstrate healthy cooking methods and give pantry customers the equipment to carry out the same practices in their own kitchens.

The feeling in the room was so joyful, and the cumulative effect of hearing story after story of faith in action was so moving, a number of staff and volunteers  stated their conviction that this first-ever event should now be considered an annual gathering not to be missed.