Join us in celebrating Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC’s 20th Anniversary in 2019!
Twenty years ago the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus noticed a need for immigration services in the Lower East Side and began offering any support they could. Over the past two decades CIS-NYC has grown into an organization that supports and advocates for hundreds of immigrant families each year, providing a range of vital services in the spirit of Mother Cabrini, Patron Saint of Immigrants.
Throughout the year we will be celebrating this milestone by releasing stories and photos from CIS-NYC community members and clients, each of which capture the spirit of our work. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter at @cisnyc, or Instagram at @cis.nyc to make sure you catch all of these beautiful stories as they are released! Please feel free to share so that others can learn more about our immigrant community members and the work we do. You can view our first two stories here: http://bit.ly/cisnyc20 [Read more…]
On Tuesday, April 10th, 2018, Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC hosted our fifth annual “Heart of Cabrini” Benefit Dinner at the Manhattan Penthouse on Fifth Avenue. We kicked the evening off with music from Hector Martignon and the Foreign Affair Trio, followed by dinner with a view!
We were proud to recognize the achievements of our two honorees, Cristina Jimenez and FWD.us, who have been fearless advocates for the immigrant community. Award presentations were followed by a screening of “I’m Not the Only One,” a short film produced by Dreamers who participated in the DACAmented Voices Program (a collaboration between CIS-NYC and Los Herederos).
It was a wonderful night full of inspiring speeches, delicious food, and great conversation. Thank you to all of the generous donors and committed supporters who made the night a success! We would like to extend a special thank you to our event sponsors: First American International Bank, Cabrini of Westchester, and Cabrini University
Thanks to a grant from St. Faith’s House Foundation, the Cabrini Kids from Cabrini Immigrant Services (CIS), Dobbs Ferry, NY were able to help some people who are experiencing homelessness in Peekskill, NY. The packages that were made are being donated to CHOP (Caring for the Homeless and Hungry of Peekskill). There are some veterans who are part of CHOP so our Kids made cards thanking them for their service. In addition to the card, an American flag was also put in their bag.
This Giving Back Program had a very special blessing: Missionary Sisters Sr. John Giani, Sr. Joan Marie Sariti, Sr. Patricia Dunleavy and Sr. Damien Ciminera, joined the children of Grades 1-3 for the program. Each Sister worked with 3 children as they made cards for the veterans and packed bags with facecloths, body wash, deodorant, shaving cream, shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a pair of socks and a notebook and pen. Another special part of the program was the donation of socks from The Joy of Sox, an organization founded by Tom Costello, husband of Nancy Costello of the Province Communications Office.
The Sisters enjoyed listening to the children and learning about their countries of origin. The children also enjoyed hearing the stories of the Sisters’ great works over the years. Interestingly, all the Sisters had worked with children. One Sister worked with children who were sick in Africa while another Sister worked as a nurse in the United States. They both spoke about how hard it was to see children who were sick. One Sister was a teacher and another Sister had a very unique story to tell. Sr. Patricia said that she worked with cowboys and indians!
The Dalai Lama said, “When educating the minds of the youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts.” Our Kids learned about the need to help those who are less fortunate but more importantly, their hearts were moved. When asked about how they felt helping those experiencing homelessness, we heard responses like, “It’s a wonderful day because we are helping someone else have a wonderful day.” Another child said, “We should always help other people.”
A special thank you to the Cabrini Sisters and to Tom Costello for all their help in making this another successful program.
Pope Francis has always stressed the inclusion of all people. He stated that “although we seek or meet God in different ways, we are all children of God.” What better time than during the Easter/Passover holidays to help spread the words of our Pope!
Thanks to a grant from St. Faith’s House Foundation, Cabrini Immigrant Services (CIS), Dobbs Ferry, held a special program for its Kids in Grades 1-5. The children learned through story, food and art about Easter, Passover and Ramadan. We had people present who are Christian, Jewish and Islamic. Their personal thoughts and experiences certainly added to the program.
Ellen Tessitore, a retired art teacher, created the program for the children. When the children first arrived, they completed a “Search a Word” puzzle where she used specific words that had to do with each of the holidays. She then read about each holiday and had the children do a project that was related to each one.
After reading about Easter, the children dyed Easter eggs. They decorated them and then added them to some “Easter grass.” Following Easter, Ellen read about Passover and the special meal that is served. The children then had matzo and charoset, which is a mixture of apples, pears, cinnamon and honey. They learned about what the different foods represent and why they are used at the Seder. The children then learned about Ramadan. They learned that the ninth month of the Muslim year is called Ramadan. It is a time of strict fasting. Besides fasting, people are encouraged to do good works, to be light in the world. Our children made “Charity Jars.” A votive candle was placed inside a jar and then the children dec
orated the outside of the jar with diverse color tissue paper. The jar is a reminder to always do good to others and to themselves. Every time they do a good work, they can open their jars and light the candle as a reminder that they are doing good works.
The children enjoyed hearing about the various religions and also about the different traditions. The main learning that everyone took home was that it doesn’t matter what religion you practice but that we are all one. What is important is what is in your heart and how you treat others. What a wonderful lesson for everyone to learn and how important it is to teach children the importance of acceptance. After all, as Pope Francis says, “We are all children of God.”Reli
So often we hear the expression, “Time, Talent and Treasure.” It was the combination of all three that created the “Enhancing Family Literacy” program at Cabrini Immigrant Services (CIS), Dobbs Ferry, NY.
What started as a dream, turned into a reality when Dr. Marie Amoruso, Dr. Paulette Sansone, Deborah Mosley, a Certified Storyteller and I, came together to plan a program for parents, grandparents and caregivers. The gift of time was spent planning ways in which we could help the families of CIS enhance their English language as well as their reading skills.
Quickly, the gift of talent came through as Dr. Amoruso presented us with ideas and ways of improving literacy. Dr. Sansone used her talent as a grant writer to help us get funds so we could offer the program. “Miss Deb” as she is known to our Cabrini Kids, used her talent of storytelling.
The gift of treasure is what allowed us to begin the program. CIS was blessed to receive a grant from Cabrini Mission Foundation, NYC. We are able to offer a 10 month literacy program. We started the program on March 23rd. What a wonderful experience to have our moms and caregivers come together to listen and watch as they heard the story, Grandma Needs A Nap written by Dr. Amoruso. Yet another gift of treasure was the donation by Dr. Amoruso of her book for every participant. Everyone h
ad smiles on his and her face as each received a copy of the book. Of course, being teachers, everyone went home with homework. The participants were asked to practice telling the story with their children. When we return next month, we will hear about how successful they were in their storytelling.
We also received another gift of talent, when Ellen Tessitore, a retired art-teacher, offered to work with the young
children who accompanied their parent or caregiver to the program. In the story, we read about how Grandma enjoys her time with her grandchildren as they use their imagination as they climb upon Mt. Sofa or made some gelatin molds. Ellen had the children make playdough and then they made different shapes using cookie cutters. At the end, everyone received a bag with some playdough, cookie cutters and a recipe explaining how to make the playdough. What a great way to enhance not only literacy but also family time together. As the moms/caregivers read the story to the children, the children can make some playdough and enjoy creating different designs or use some of the other ideas in the book.
We look forward to our next session when we will be reading Stone Soup by John J. Muth.
Cheers and congratulations filled the air at Cabrini Immigrant Services (CIS), Dobbs Ferry, NY in celebration of two of our students becoming United States citizens!
Sabrina Grant, came to the office with a big smile on her face and announced, “I am an American citizen!” Sabrina has worked very hard with her tutor, Sr. Damien Ciminera, MSC, for about 3 years. She not only worked on preparing for her citizenship exam, she also worked on her reading, writing and even improved her skills working with money.
Sabrina is a native of Jamaica and could not wait until the day that she could call America home. Of course, Jamaica is and always will be close to her heart but now when she visits Jamaica, she will be coming home to the USA.
Sabrina’s smiling face and infectious laugh brings so much joy to CIS. Congratulations Sabrina!
Our other student, Alina Gajewska, was born in Poland. She, too, was so excited to pass her citizenship exam after a lot of hard work and study.
Alina has worked with her tutor, Mary Gallagher, for several years. She worked to improve her conversations in English, her reading and her writingskills, all the skills needed to pass the naturalization exam. It also took a lot of dedication and effort to learn the 100 questions about US Civics. Alina’s determination certainly helped her achieve her goal of becoming a US Citizen.
Congratulations Alina! We are so proud of all that you have accomplished.
Over the past couple of months Dreamers, community leaders, and staff at Cabrini Immigrant Services, NYC,
have been putting all of their time and effort into the fight for a clean DREAM Act.
On January 11th, we held a phone bank where Dreamers and community leaders called community members, encouraging them to call theirelected officials to demand a DREAM Act. While some of the calls were frustrating and discouraging, we also encountered many people who were eager to help – we were even able to change a few peoples’ minds by educating them about Dreamers!
On January 18th – right before the government shutdown – Cabrini Dreamers and staff went to Washington, DC to encourage elected officials to stand up for Dreamers. Cabrini Dreamers shared their stories, participated in sit-ins in various legislators’ offices, and attended a vigil in front of the Capitol Building. The struggle to protect Dreamers continues; we hope that you will support us in these efforts by calling your elected officials! You can call them at: 478-488-8059.
Last week, staff and community members also visited the state capitol, in Albany, for a day of legislative visits with the New York Immigration Coalition. We participated in trainings and visited state legislators to discuss the needs of immigrants in New York. We encouraged legislators to support increased funding for areas such as legal services for immigrants and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), both of which are very important to clients at CIS-NYC. While our focus in recent months has been on federal issues, this was a great reminder of how
important local policies are for the well-being of our community!
Cabrini Immigrant Services held its annual Liberty & Justice Awards Reception on Thursday, November 16th at Estherwood Mansion in Dobbs Ferry, New York. The event was held in honor of the Sisters of Charity of New York and Thomas Dobbins, Coordinator of Justice and Peace and Producer of Sirius XM Radio at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.
In addition to the honorees, Marianne McGowan, ESL Coordinator for Cabrini Immigrant Services, was also recognized upon the occasion of her retirement for her 15 years of dedicated and outstanding service to the program and presented with an inscribed globe by Cabrini Immigrant Services Volunteer and former honoree, Sr. Damien Ciminera, MSC.
The honorees drew a record crowd of over 100 supporters and raised a record-breaking net of $28,000! The evening was made even more special with the presence of Provincial, Sr. Pietrina Raccuglia, MSC (see photo below) and who shared a little-known fact about the history of Mother Cabrini. When Mother Cabrini arrived in New York with the first group of MSCs, they had nowhere to stay. They were taken in by the Sisters of Charity of New York and told they could stay as long as needed. As 2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the Sisters of Charity of New York and the 100th anniversary of the passing of Mother Cabrini into eternal life, it was very fitting and moving to witness Sr. Pietrina, MSC, thank the Sisters of Charity of New York for providing Mother Cabrini and the MSCs with refuge and present them with the Cabrini Liberty & Justice Award!
Proceeds from the event will benefit the programs of Cabrini Immigrant Services, which include: English for Speakers of Other Languages (“ESOL”) Programs, after-school homework help program, assistance with preparations for the citizenship test, aid in procuring benefits, provision of health screening and referrals, and various other support and educational services. We are grateful to the honorees for their many contributions to immigrant services and all who supported this important fundraiser.
The statistics are staggering. Every 9 seconds a woman in the US is either beaten or assaulted; more than 3 women a day in the US are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends; domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US; the costs of intimate partner violence in the US exceeds $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion on direct medical and health care services and $1.8 billion per year for productivity losses. This horrible crime affects everyone. For those who are not US citizens or may be undocumented and living in this country, they face yet another fear. If they report the abuse to the authorities, they are risking deportation, which may also result in separation from their children.
Cabrini Immigrant Services (CIS), Dobbs Ferry, NY, offered Part 1 of a two part series. On September 26th, a ‘Know Your Rights for Domestic Violence’ workshop was held. The workshop was given in English and Spanish. It was presented by Bertha Diaz, MSW, a former intern at CIS. The participants left CIS with a wealth of information about their rights and also about safe places that they may contact.
We also want to educate our Cabrini Kids about domestic violence. They will be making packets for domestic violence victims. On October 20th, the children will be putting items such as combs, toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner into a bag that will be donated to an agency that assists victims. These packets will not only be given to people who are victims but also to those who are in transition to safe houses. It gives them a few items to help them get started in their new surroundings.
In October, CIS will offer the second part of the series, a workshop on Sexual Assault. Ms. Diaz will return to do the presentation.