Immigrants And Refugees

Catholic Charities Welcomes Deloitte Impact Day Service Volunteers

Deloitte volunteers help out at the Mercy Center. Credit: Catholic Charities New York

To mark Deloitte Impact Day on June 9, thousands of workers from the famous accounting firm took a day off regular work to perform volunteer service.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York was among the agencies providing volunteer opportunities to about 500 Deloitte employees, who lifted boxes, counseled immigrants, and chatted with seniors, as well as performed other chores in Manhattan and the Bronx.

The Catholic Charities-Deloitte connection offered a perfect match, noted Donna Szatkowski-Zych, an Audit and Assurance Partner for Deloitte and a Catholic Charities board member.

“We are a purpose-driven organization,” she said of Deloitte. “It’s not just about making money, it’s about giving.”

Deloitte volunteers help out at Good Counsel Homes. Credit: Catholic Charities New York

Impact Day has been a company tradition going over more than two decades, planned each fiscal year to emphasize the corporate priority of service. It is part of Deloitte’s mission to contribute over $1.5 billion over 10 years to assist social service organizations and other groups “to level the playing field” in the areas of education, health and financial initiatives, said Ms. Szatkowski-Zych.

Speaking from the lunchroom at Encore, a Catholic Charities agency that provides nutrition to seniors in the Theatre District, Ms. Szatkowski-Zych said Deloitte workers were spending the day delivering lunch to Encore clients. She also spent part of her day at Mercy Center and at Betances Houses in the Bronx. More than 30 Deloitte employees spent the morning at Encore, loading lunch trays on vehicles to aid the daily food distribution.

We are a purpose-driven organization.

Jennifer Asquino, Director of Community Outreach for Encore, told the Deloitte volunteers to spend time conversing with the clients, many of whom are shut-in and lack human contact.

“You may be the only person they will interact with today. Feel free to chat,” she said.

Other Deloitte volunteers worked with immigrants and refugees at Catholic Charities’ Immigration & Refugee Services in downtown Manhattan. They assisted newcomers to the U.S. in creating resumes and preparing for job interviews.

Deloitte volunteers help out at Encore Services. Credit: Catholic Charities New York

They devoted nearly an hour apiece to each potential job seeker, hitting them with questions they might be prepared to face with American employers. The job seekers were recent arrivals from Ukraine, Haiti, Afghanistan, and other countries.

“They need to know what interviewers are going to ask them,” said Mariana Kopachevska, Education and Employment Trainer, noting that the 20 Deloitte volunteers who offered them advice are well-schooled in job-seeking techniques and what to expect in the job search process.

Roberto Baron, who works in financial systems for Deloitte, went through the job interview paces with Jose, a recently-arrived Venezuelan migrant. Roberto, a native of Argentina, was able to use his Spanish language skills with Jose.
Jose, who worked as a bank teller in Venezuela, wants to find work in New York in the hospitality industry. He needs to develop his English skills, hone his resume, and acculturate himself to U.S. styles, including the confidence to talk about himself in job interviews.

“I was trying to explain to him how it works here, in New York,” said Roberto. “There was something with Jose I saw in myself when I moved to this country. We don’t speak too much about ourselves. That is a cultural thing in the U.S.,” he said.

The day was an opportunity to bring together the common focus of the large accounting firm and Catholic Charities.

Catholic Charities’ mission dovetails with Impact Day and other Deloitte initiatives because “it ensures the dignity of all people regardless of their backgrounds,” said Ms. Szatkowski-Zych. She talked about how the volunteer service provides an opportunity “for our people to learn about the challenges we have in our country. It inspires in some of our people the desire to do more. It plants the seed in our people to give back to the community.”

Deloitte Impact Day volunteers also served on a career and college readiness panel at Alianza, a Catholic Charities agency serving disadvantaged youth in the Bronx and Washington Heights; surveyed tenants about needs at Betances Houses in the Bronx, and worked with children with Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Children’s Center, among other tasks.