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A Gathering of Catholic Charities Agencies

L-R: Executive Director Of Catholic Charities NY Monsingor Kevin Sullivan, Daiana Castillio,  Tyneisha Fraser, James Addison, David Shuffler   

By Jim Sliney Jr

This October, the federation of agencies that make up the Catholic Charities of New York gathered together. Several agencies came to discuss their programs but the highlight was the panel of people who have been helped by those agencies. Here are four of the agencies and people they helped who went on to serve in the agencies that made such a difference in their lives.

Catholic Charities Community Services, Alianza Division (CCCS, Alianza)

As a junior in high school, Daiana Castillio participated in the Alianza afterschool program. She is now the Director of Alianza’s Learn to Work program (LTW). The program teaches students the skills that will help them obtain jobs. Diaiana incorporates music and dancing in her program as a way to make the participants feel safe and welcomed.

“My experience as a participant in the program allows me to better understand the situation my students are going through.  It helps me connect in a way I wouldn’t be able to otherwise”. – Daiana Castillio

Catholic Guardian Services (CGS)

As a child of the foster care system, Tyneisha Fraser attended a number of programs run by Catholic Guardian Services. She is now working for the organization as a Case Planner providing support to the youth who are currently in the foster care system. Her mission is to provide a safe environment for youth to share, learn and to become productive members of society.

“I was lost. I had no ambition. But with CGS’s support I’m now the first in my family to graduate college.  I want to pass that example on to the youth in foster care who I work with.” – Tyneisha Fraser

Life Experience & Faith Sharing Association (LEFSA)

James Addison participated in the Employment Opportunity Program (EOP) provided by Catholic Charities as well as several programs run by LEFSA. Since then James has been an advocate for New Yorkers who are homeless and struggling with substance abuse issues. He is now serving as the Interim Director of Life Experience & Faith Sharing Association.

“I was in one of the most dangerous shelters in the City – they called it the House of Pain – I knew I needed a change. In walked these two little nuns – joined their prayer group and it saved my life. That’s why I work with LEFSHA today.” – James Addison

Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice (YMPJ)

As a youth, David Shuffler participated in YMPJ’ afterschool program. He grew to become a youth mentor and organizer. Now he is YMPJ’s Executive Director. David continues to be an influential figure in government advocating for resources for poorer communities.

“I wasn’t a bad kid, but I had no direction. The programs at Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice was the best thing – it put me on the right path.” – David Shuffler 

A large part of the strength of Catholic Charities of New York is the vocation and determination of the people who make up its member agencies. Thankfully for us all, that is a house build on stone.

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