Camille Tisdel To Be Honored at Fifth Annual Salt City Shaker

Camille Tisdel To Be Honored at Fifth Annual Salt City Shaker

Salt City Shaker
October 5, 2016
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
King + King Architects
358 West Jefferson Street


We’re proud to host the 5th Annual Salt City Shaker and honor Camille Tisdel with the “Mover & Shaker” award on October 5th! The “Mover & Shaker” award is presented to a community leader who lives out our mission of promoting human development and working to eliminate poverty and injustice.

Portrait of  Camille Tisdell
Camille Tisdell

Camille Tisdel is the Director of Web Services in the Office of Advancement and External Affairs at Syraucse University and an Adjunct Professor at the Madden School of Business at Lemoyne. A community-oriented professional, Tisdel has a wide range of volunteer experience. She is currently the Board President at Baltimore Woods and serves on the board of Interfaith Works. She has also served on the board of the Preservation Association of CNY and as a mentor for Lemoyne business students.

The Salt City Shaker is a networking event that informs professionals about how to get involved with the programs and services of Catholic Charities. Guests will enjoy a cocktail party with light fare and music.  This year’s event will be held at King + King Architects on October 5, 2016 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm. Reservations are $50. For more information visit or call 315-362-7579.


Posted by Bridget Dunn, Communications Coordinator

Volunteering – A Family Affair

Volunteering – A Family Affair

Barbecues are a cherished summer ritual, as are their counterpart, a hot meal enjoyed with friends and family on a cold winter’s night. Volunteers like the Galletta family are vital to making sure that the men who reside in our shelter on South Clinton St. don’t miss out on these happy moments.

The Gallettas approach service as a team. In mid August this year, six members of the family (Mary Jo, John Sr., Betty, John, Emma and Julian) representing three DSC_0280generations, cooked and served their annual barbecue for our residents in the shelter parking lot. This is part of a two-year-old tradition of supplying a barbecue in the summer and a hot cooked meal in December, at which the men receive toiletry bags. This is in addition to several other monthly and yearly breakfasts that Mary Jo helps coordinate.

The dinners and amenities the Gallettas supply are part of a community effort. The toiletries are donated by local dentists and teachers Mary Jo works with. Six local churches are involved in providing hot breakfasts once a month.

The Gallettas enjoy working with shelter staff on their visits to South Clinton St. They value working together to provide meals and small gifts for the residents. Their dedication has brought a lot of good to the shelter; we are blessed to have them contributing so generously of their time and resources.


The Gallettas are six of many standout volunteers who help make our work possible every day. Our volunteers are vital in many departments. They help refugees learn English, mentor at-risk youth, assist the elderly, support or shelter residents and much more. We are grateful for every single one of them. To join their ranks, follow the “Volunteer” link below.

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Posted by Bridget Dunn, Communications Coordinator

Galletta Family Men's Shelter

50+ Years and 50+ Hats – Crocheting it Forward

50+ Years and 50+ Hats – Crocheting it Forward
Jeanette and Dale at the House of Providence.

Jeanette and her husband Dale had a long trip ahead of them yesterday. After spending the weekend at Jeanette’s 50th high school reunion in Solvay, they were headed back home to South Carolina. Before they hit the road, though, there was one more stop they needed to make: our headquarters at the House of Providence.

Jeanette was a resident at the House of Providence when it operated as an orphanage. She lived here between the ages of 3 and 11 and remembers aging up through the building, initially on the first floor, and then through the second, third and fourth floors as she grew. At age 11, Jeanette moved to a foster home and went on to graduate from Solvay High School. She and Dale met while working at the Strathmore Products factory. “She was a sweeper; she swept me right off my feet,” Dale says fondly.

The House of Providence, completed in 1910, operated as an orphanage into the 1960s.
The House of Providence, completed in 1910, operated as an orphanage into the 1960s. It is now the headquarters of Catholic Charities of Onondaga County.

Jeanette and Dale returned both to revisit the building and to deliver a donation. The donation was almost 60 winter hats Jeanette crocheted herself. Jeanette specified that they be given to “those in need” whom the present House of Providence residents – Catholic Charities staff – serve today. This is the second hat donation of this size that Jeanette has crafted and donated. The last batch of hats was mailed up from South Carolina; she was happy to deliver this one in person.


On this return to her home of 8 years, Jeanette pointed out differences and old photographs to Dale, and remarked on how much the building has changed to accommodate the offices of Catholic Charities staff. The varied history of the building is common in our locations; many have served different purposes over the years. In general, however, the buildings share a theme of community service. It’s a theme acted out by our people, be they staff, donors, partners or the people we’ve served who have gone on to help others.

There is satisfaction in bringing a story full circle, and we thank Jeanette – a House of Providence child who came back to lend some warmth to the families we serve now – for her thoughtful donation.

Posted by: Bridget Dunn, Communications Coordinator

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In Response to Recent Comments about the Northside

In Response to Recent Comments about the Northside

Yesterday afternoon, shared Wendy Long’s response to criticism of her comments following a visit to the Northside of Syracuse on August 11. Ms. Long’s original commentary on the neighborhood included a series of inaccurate statements about the character of the neighborhood and the residents who live there.  Her response yesterday was in a similar vein. Ms. Long claims refugees enter this country without thorough screening, which is simply untrue.  Every person seeking refugee status undergoes a rigorous screening process carried out by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and various U.S. security agencies.  In fact, less than 1% of the global refugee population qualifies for refugee status after this process is complete.  We as an agency play no role in granting refugee status to individuals; our role is providing support for those who arrive here.

Catholic Charities believes that everyone—including people of every faith tradition—is worthy of dignity and respect.  Ms. Long’s comments deeply offend many individuals in our city and our core values as an agency.

We know the reality of challenges on the Northside. We live it every day as we work with residents and community members to ensure all individuals have their best chance at success. We know the enormous potential of recent refugees and all those we work with throughout Onondaga County.  Syracuse is a city with a proud immigrant heritage: Germans and Italians on the Northside, Irish, Polish and Ukranian in Tipperary Hill, and many other groups who have left indelible signatures on our region. We will continue to foster stability and independence for all individuals in Syracuse in all stages of life, as we have done since Catholic Charities of Onondaga County was established in 1923.

We applaud those neighbors, partners, organizations and elected officials, Mayor Minor and Congressman Katko, who have responded with dignity to Long’s uninformed and inflammatory comments. We appreciate their defense of the Northside and the refugee population in Syracuse.

Mike Melara

Serving Seniors in Syracuse

Serving Seniors in Syracuse

It takes a village to raise a child.

True. Every day in our youth programs, we see how kids benefit from having their “village” support them. Kids have a better chance at success if they have access to supportive programs and positive mentors. These crucial aspects of their village have a significant impact on them.

Here’s a revision to consider on National Senior Citizens’ Day this Sunday, August 21st: it takes a community to care for the elderly. The elderly in Onondaga County, particularly low-income seniors, face many challenges that can make it difficult for them to participate in their community. Lack of adequate transportation, nutrition, home safety concerns and in-home services can combine to make it impossible for seniors to remain in their homes.

Support Seniors in Your Community with a Donation

Our Elderly Services work with seniors and community partners to help ensure these needs are met. We support the elderly and their caretakers to enable the elderly to remain safely living in the community. We address concerns about access to services with our Neighborhood Advisors program, which organizes outreach to seniors who may be in need. Transportation is sought through Area North Transportation Services (ANTS) and referrals to other transportation programs. Concerns about nutrition are addressed through referrals to SNAP, Farmer’s Market Coupons, and the Senior Nutrition Site. Our maintenance program Project Fix is available to address minor home repairs, such as replacing locks and installing grab bars in showers. Personal care, housekeeping services and case management are provided through the EISEP program or through referrals to the Long-Term Care resource center. (For a full overview of programs, visit our site.) This comprehensive suite of programs enabled us to address needs for over 2700 seniors in Onondaga County in 2015.

This is an age group that gives back, too. We work with 340 senior volunteers through our Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). They work with 50 different community agencies that concentrate on hunger, companionship, disaster preparedness, and transportation. Their support is vital to the success of many programs.

So on this National Senior Citizens’ Day, we’d like to share our thanks – a thank you to our seniors, our senior volunteers and the donors who help raise up all members of our “village.”

Donate to Support Seniors in Your Community

Hank and John, RSVP volunteers, at their volunteer location, our downtown food pantry
Hank and John, RSVP volunteers, at their volunteer location, our downtown food pantry

Posted by: Bridget Dunn, Communications Coordinator

An Appreciation for the Game

An Appreciation for the Game

Above, youth at our Bishop Foery Foundation neighborhood center run in the backyard.

The dog days of summer.  This irrepressible heat reminds me of my boyhood growing up in Watertown, NY.  My friends and I would make our way to the local city park, Kostick’s field, to play sandlot baseball.  The first pitch was thrown somewhere around 9am and the last out was usually made around dinner time.

We were serious about “America’s pastime” and would make all types of adaptations to the game in order to play the game.  Not enough players?  Not a problem; we’d close left field and even center field.  If you hit into one of those fields, it was an automatic out.   Older kids had to hit opposite handed when playing against younger kids.  And there were no walks; either you hit the ball or struck out.  This rule could sometimes lead to what seemed to be an endless stream of pitches being offered up, with the batter lamenting “get one over the plate,” and the fielders drowning “take a swing!”  Games lasted anywhere from four innings to infinity… or at least it seemed that way.   There were no coaches or umpires.  We lived by the honor system and were ruled by the oldest and meanest kid on the field.

We learned a lot of lessons playing sandlot baseball.  If you’re waiting for me to say sportsmanship and team work, well, I guess there was some of that.  What we really learned was an appreciation for the game of baseball: how this sport could transform a dozen kids, all from different backgrounds, into organized teams with clear boundaries and purpose.  It wasn’t about being the best or worst athlete; it was simply about playing the game.

Bishop Foery Youth August 2016 (28)
A program participant (and his bunny ears) at Bishop Foery neighborhood center.

I recently visited one of our Catholic Charities neighborhood centers during the height of our summer program.  During the summer, Catholic Charities provides daily summer programming to over 1500 children living in some of the toughest neighborhoods in the city.  On this day, a group of adolescent boys were playing basketball.  They had made several adaptations: half court rules, teams were evenly divided based on size and age, and fouls were called on each other, with no disputes.  I was reminded of my own childhood and thankful that our agency can offer these youth a safe place to meet, recreate, play sports, and learn the value of friendship, team work and an appreciation for the game.  Not a bad gig.


Sharing the Sun on Skaneateles

Sharing the Sun on Skaneateles

Kids from our summer youth programs around Syracuse enjoy field trips out of the city every week. The programs are a great chance for the kids to explore the area and, for many, provide a rare opportunity to travel beyond their neighborhoods. One such field trip in particular is a summer institution: Beach Day on Skaneateles Lake.

Beach Day on Skaneateles is a day of fun in the Finger Lakes hosted by the Skaneateles Vincent House Guild. The Guild has been a generous supporter of Vincent House on the Near West Side for decades. In edition to a day on the lake, they hold an annual fundraiser ever year which provides crucial funds to the shelter.

To take part in the fun, see below!

Photos provided by Guild member Kathleen Morrissey.