Archive for March, 2010

Interfaith Partnership for Census Accuracy

The Interfaith Center of New York (ICNY) has received a grant to implement the first large-scale and sustained interfaith collaboration between Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York and Muslim social service organizations in the New York area.  The collaboration will consist of three strategic service partnerships between local Muslim groups and Catholic Charities in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island.

The first of these three service partnerships launched on March 15, 2010 with an interfaith Census training program for Muslim and Catholic volunteers from the Muslim Women’s Institute and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. The training took place at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in the Bronx for thirty-two people in English and Spanish.  The pantries serve residents in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx. 

Pantry volunteers learned about Catholic and Muslim teachings on caring for the needy, the importance of the Census, and how to answer concerns that people raise, including issues of confidentiality and who needs to be included on the form. 

Training for Food Pantry Volunteers

Bronx Interfaith Census Training

Those present at the training included Tom Dobbins, The Peace and Justice Department of Catholic Charities, Jeanne McGettigan, Coordinator of Emergency Food Services, Catholic Charities, Nurah Amat’ullah, Exec. Director of the Muslim Women’s Institute, Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Program Associate the Interfaith Center of New York, and Interfaith Interns for the project, Malika Pulatova and Joshua David Bishop.  Milagros Vicente from the Census Bureau trained the participants. Nurah Amat’ullah also published an op-ed in the Black Star about the importance of the Census, particularly in underserved areas such as Highbridge: “Bronx Works To Improve Census Count”  http://www.blackstarnews.com/news/135/ARTICLE/6358/2010-03-12.html

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Interfaith Center Takes on New Diabetes Initiative

Allysa De Wolf

Did you know that diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death in New York City?  Over half a million people are affected with this disease, with over 200,000 more people who have yet to be diagnosed. The number is rapidly increasing. Low-income and minority adults are the most susceptible to the disorder and often have the least amount of health insurance and care. Diabetes is not merely a disease that deals with blood sugar but can affect almost every organ in the body. It is the leading cause of blindness, end-stage renal disease, lower-limb amputation, and cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular diseases. Needless to say it is a problem that needs more attention and action taken.

The Interfaith Center of New York has partnered with The Institute for Leadership in a State-Wide Consortium on Diabetes to promote education and self-care for people with or at high risk for diabetes. Through funding by the New York State Health foundation, The New York State Faith-Based Diabetes Initiative will be a year-long program that will inform, equip, and help in the detection, prevention, and wellness of those affected with or susceptible to diabetes.  

Diabetes is a critical health issue for New York City that affects primarily minority  adults. The Interfaith Center has sought to reach out to faith leaders from high risk areas to empower them to educate their communities on the disease. Faith-based communities are situated in an ideal setting. They acquire a strong foundation of trust from the congregants that cannot be replicated in community and government organizations. Often faith-based organizations are the sole representatives and voice for their community. They are where the people and the problems are.

With trust comes influence. Faith leaders are able to more successfully educate and implement new initiatives. Their congregants are more likely to open up about their problems and seek sources of change and comfort from faith leaders. The Diabetes Initiative seeks to use the influence of these leaders to create a difference in the lives of New Yorkers. By partnering with these leaders we are able to come along side them and offer support and training.

Many leaders recognize that Diabetes is a problem in their communities but do not have the proper resources or education. This initiative seeks to answer that problem. Through a year-long program, volunteers from the faith-based organizations will be trained to lead a 6 week preventative program. Along with that program volunteers will be partnered with community medical professionals to screen the community for Diabetes.

The initiative is about empowerment. When leaders have the proper tools they can empower their communities to fight a terrible disease, prevent more suffering, and save more lives.