First NYC Baby Shower Will Be Held Saturday March 4 in Throgs Neck, Bronx with Community-Based Organization Partner Catholic Guardian Services


NEW YORK—For the second year in a row, First Lady Chirlane McCray and the New York City Children’s Cabinet, chaired by Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery, will host a series of free baby showers for new and expecting parents. The first shower will be held this Saturday at Monsignor Scanlan High School in Throgs Neck, Bronx with community partner Catholic Guardian Services.

NYC Baby Showers acclimate new parents and caretakers to raising a family in New York City by providing practical items like diapers, clothing and other baby supplies. They are also a direct-service opportunity for attending families to connect to City and community resources such as registering for a library card, IDNYC, and child care services. In addition, families will have a chance to learn about the Safe Sleep for Babies program, and the maternal and child health resources available in local communities.

Five NYC Baby Showers are scheduled to be held between March and June.

“A child’s emotional resilience and educational success begin with loving parents and caregivers,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Our NYC Baby Shower Series brings communities together and provides families with books and other resources to help prepare their children for a bright future. These baby showers are one of the important ways we are helping make NYC be the best big city in America to raise children."

“The NYC Baby Showers are a fun way to celebrate with the entire community while providing new parents with all of the critical information and resources that the City of New York and its partners offer to families raising young children. I am thrilled that in our second year hosting these Baby Showers we will be able to serve 2,000 additional families. Thanks to our partner Catholic Guardian Services for helping us to kick off this year’s series in the Bronx!” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Chair of the NYC Children's Cabinet.

“We are most pleased to partner with the NYC Baby Shower Program. For many of the women we serve, this is the only baby shower they will experience. The importance of our community reaching out to support effective parenting warrants all of our collective support and a baby shower is a very special way to convey to these mothers that they are not alone and can turn to others for needed assistance,” said Craig Longley, Executive Director of Catholic Guardian Services.

“The City of New York offers a wonderful array of resources and services for families, but too many are not aware that they exist or are unsure how to connect to them. NYC Baby Showers bring City services to life as a catalyst for person-to-person information sharing, live health and safety demonstrations, and fun!,” said Benita Miller, Executive Director of the NYC Children’s Cabinet. “These showers tell all new parents and caregivers that the City of New York is here for you as you navigate the journey of parenting.”

During the program, First Lady Chirlane McCray will read from the original baby book Love is Love published by Scholastic, Inc. to encourage early childhood language development as part of the Children’s Cabinet’s Talk to Your Baby campaign.

Thirty City agencies and community organizations will be on-site at the Throgs Neck Baby Shower on March 4 to provide information about support programs available to New York City families. The attending groups are broken into the following categories: Parenting and Mentoring Supports, Baby Health and Family Benefits, Child Safety and Child Care, Early Education, Personal Health and Wellness, and Activity Stations.

Three of the four additional showers this year will be targeted to reach special populations with this critical information, including immigrant parents, LGBTQ parents and parents living in temporary housing.

More information about the NYC Baby Shower series can be found at

Council Member Debi Rose said, “With gifts of diapers, clothing and other baby essentials, these baby showers are an important part of our commitment to health care and early childhood development for the 100,000 babies who will be born in New York City this year. Last year, I had the pleasure of welcoming new and expectant parents to a city-hosted baby shower at Snug Harbor Cultural Center with First Lady Chirlane McCray, and I look forward to doing the same this year.” 

"Raising a child is not an individual endeavor," said Council Member Stephen Levin, Chair of the General Welfare Committee. "We all have a role to play in making our community the type of place children thrive. This starts with supporting our city's parents and giving them to tools they need to succeed. These baby showers go beyond education and resources – they show parents we are in this together. As the proud father of a newborn, I fully support this initiative, and look forward to its continued success."

 Council Member Mathieu Eugene said, “I want to commend the New York City Children’s Cabinet for their continued support of new and expecting parents. It is of vital importance that we provide families with all available social services to help them raise their children. This program is a wonderful example of how we can utilize valuable resources to put new parents on a path to success.”  

About the NYC Children’s Cabinet

The NYC Children's Cabinet is a multi-agency initiative created by Mayor Bill de Blasio to bolster communication and coordination among city agencies and provides a space to identify and analyze individual and common areas of work that impact child safety and well-being. The Cabinet is chaired by Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery, and is comprised of commissioners and directors from 24 City agencies and Mayoral offices.

The Children's Cabinet promotes opportunities to develop partnerships and efficiencies, allowing each agency's efforts to build off each other and produce a greater cumulative impact on youth and their families.



The 31st Annual Child of Peace Awards Dinner

was held on October 18th, 2016 

at The Pierre Hotel 

Over 370 friends came together in order to celebrate the work of our Honorees and Catholic Guardian Services.  

Mrs. Mary McCooey received the Child of Peace Award for her history of dedication to the church. The Child of Peace Award is given to a distinguished individual or individuals to acknowledge the peace and comfort that he or she brings to those in need.

Mr. and Mrs. John V. Perna received the Rosalie Cadron-Jette Award for Courage and Compassion, in recognition of their dedication to Catholic Guardian Services, their parish and many other charities.

The late Mrs. Ann Mara was honored with the Golden Heart Award, a new award especially to commemorate her life and generosity to the community, which her family received in her honor. 

Janice Huff, NBC4 meteorologist, was the Emcee for the evening.

Heyrres Galva, a former foster child who is now a young, independent adult gave a testimonial of her experience as a CGS foster child and a participant in CGS' Youth Employment Services Program (YES) which provides career skills training to youth leaving the foster care system. Ms. Galva shared that in YES she "learned so much about career readiness but, most importantly, I learned about myself." Her remarks were inspiring to all who attended.

Bishop John O'Hara presented the Awards on behalf of His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, who was traveling. The Honorees praised the work of Catholic Guardian Services for its commitment to women, children and families.

In his introduction to his parents, John and Marina Perna, Vincent Perna told the guests that his father's recovery from a serious illness has made this year a difficult one, but that the challenging experience made honoring his parents at the Child of Peace Awards Dinner "all the more meaningful."

Mrs. McCooey remarked that her family and the Mara family, close family friends for many years, have always been close to the Child of Peace Awards Dinner because "we knew that supporting this dinner was helping people who needed support....mother with children facing challenges." 

The dinner raised $575,000 dollars to support the Parenting Resource Center and Youth Employment Services. 

Read more about our 2016 Honorees and Emcee Below:

Mary McCooey 31st Child of Peace Recipient

Mary McCooey

31st Child of Peace Recipient

Catholic Guardian Services will be presenting Mrs. Mary Joyce McCooey with the 31st Child of Peace Award at the Annual Child of Peace Dinner on October 18, 2016, at The Pierre Hotel in New York. The Child of Peace Award is given to a distinguished individual or individuals to acknowledge the peace and comfort that he or she brings to those in need. 

Mrs. McCooey has a long history of dedication to her Church and faith. She has been a board member and loyal supporter of Catholic Guardian Services and Rosalie Hall Maternity Services. She is the President of the Saint Elizabeth’s Guild, a position she has held since 1980, and is a former Trustee of The Church of the Resurrection, where she is an active Eucharistic Minister. Since 2002 she has been a “Friend” of the Sisters of Life, a special recognition of service to the Order. She also served as a former Board Member of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, The College of Mount Saint Vincent, and Iona Preparatory School.

Mrs. McCooey has been a member of the Order of Malta since 1985, where she was the Hospitaller of the Order. She has participated in over ten Lourdes Pilgrimages in that time. She is also a member of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and has been a Lady of Charity for over fifty years.

She is a graduate of the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, and Duchesne Residence School. The wife of the late Bob McCooey, whose dedication to the Church provides continuing inspiration, she is the loving mother of six children and has seventeen grandchildren.

Mrs. McCooey will be honored with the 31st Child of Peace Award in the presence of family and friends who share her commitment to the Church and community.

“Mary is one of those people who can be relied upon to bring comfort to those in need,” says Bill Plunkett, member of the Honoree Selection Committee. “Whether it is support of her parish or support for children in underprivileged schools, Mary is involved. She has been recognized by many organizations for her work and the Honoree Selection Committee and the Catholic Guardian Services Board is pleased to recognize her service with the 31st Child of Peace Award this October 18th.” 


Mrs. Ann T. Mara 2016 Golden Heart Award

Mrs. Ann T. Mara

2016 Golden Heart Award

Mrs. Ann Mara will be the posthumous recipient of the Golden Heart award, given by Catholic Guardian Services at the 31st Annual Child of Peace Dinner on October 18, 2016. The Golden Heart Award was developed specifically to honor Mrs. Mara who was a loyal and committed supporter of Catholic Guardian Services. The Award will be accepted by her family. 

Mrs. Mara was the matriarch of the Mara family, longtime owners of the New York Giants NFL franchise. Along with her husband, Wellington, she raised eleven children who continue in their parents’ legacy to lead one of the most storied franchises in the NFL. Known and respected for her kindness and for raising a large family, she was also recognized for her dedication to the Church and greater community. She supported numerous schools and organizations for youth, such as the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Inner-City Scholarship Fund, Boys Hope Girls Hope, and Life Athletes, as well as children with cancer through her support of the Ronald McDonald House of New York. Shortly before her passing, she dedicated the opening of a new building for the San Miguel Academy for children at risk, which was built through the NFL Snowflake Foundation.

In 2013, three days before MetLife Stadium hosted Super Bowl XLVIII, Mrs. Mara received the Paul J. Tagliabue Award of Excellence, which is presented to a league or team executive who demonstrates integrity and leadership. Mrs. Mara showed that integrity and leadership each and every day and Catholic Guardian Services is pleased to recognize her considerable contributions on October 18, 2016, at the 31st Child of Peace Award Dinner.

“Mrs. Mara and her family are deserving of such recognition from Catholic Guardian Services. There are few people so revered for their commitment to the Church and service to the community. They are truly an inspiration to all of us.”  — Bishop Gerald T. Walsh, Vicar for Clergy, Chair of the Honoree Selection Committee.

Click here to purchase tickets and tables


Mr. & Mrs. John V. Perna  2016 Recipients of the Rosalie Cadron-Jetté Award for Courage and Compassion

Mr. & Mrs. John V. Perna 

2016 Recipients of the Rosalie Cadron-Jetté Award for Courage and Compassion

Catholic Guardian Services will present the Rosalie Cadron-Jetté Award for Courage and Compassion to John and Marina Perna at the 31st Annual Child of Peace Dinner on October 18th at The Pierre Hotel. The Award is named for the founder of the Misericordia Sisters, Venerable Rosalie Cadron-Jetté, who dedicated her life to caring for young women in need and their children.

The Pernas have been staunch friends and supporters of Catholic Guardian Services and Rosalie Hall Maternity Services for over forty years. John has been a board member since 1986. Marina and John have given to their community and the Church in many ways. John is in his final year of study in the Diaconate program and will serve at the family’s parish, Immaculate Mary Church in Scarsdale. In addition, John has served on the boards of Rice High School, Iona Grammar School and Mount Saint Michael Academy. He is also a member of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. Marina has been a committee member and volunteer for the Mary Jane Ridder Spring Luncheon, which supported the Rosalie Hall Maternity Services program of Catholic Guardian Services. She is also an active volunteer at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Scarsdale, cooking in the soup kitchen and serving as a Eucharistic minister.

John is a CPA with extensive professional experience as a partner in the accounting firm of L.H. Frishkoff & Co. LLP and has shared his business knowledge as a dedicated participant in the Finance, Executive, and Nominating Committees of Catholic Guardian Services.The Pernas reside in New Rochelle and have two children, a lovely daughter-in-law, and a beautiful granddaughter. They are currently planning for the November marriage of their daughter to their future son-in-law. Friends and family will join the Pernas at the Awards Dinner to celebrate their life of service and commitment to the Church. 

“Marina and John Perna have been dedicated members of the Church and supporters of Catholic Guardian Services for many years. They know the challenges that many in our city face and the work that Catholic Guardian Services does to bring real and lasting change in the lives of families. As Chair of the Board of Directors, I cannot think of a more deserving couple to receive the Rosalie Cadron-Jetté Award for Courage and Compassion.” — Rory Kelleher, Chair of the Board, Catholic Guardian Services. 


NBC4 Meteorologist, Janice Huff 2016 Child of Peace Emcee

NBC4 Meteorologist,
Janice Huff

2016 Child of Peace Emcee

Award-winning Janice Huff will emcee the 31st Annual Child of Peace Awards Dinner for Catholic Guardian Services on October 18th, 2016 at The Pierre Hotel in New York. Huff reports weather for NBC 4 New York’s weekday 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts. Huff, one of New York’s most recognized and respected weather forecasters, was recognized by and inducted into the New York Broadcasters 2016 “Hall of Fame” for her work as a meteorologist and a child advocate. Huff has been a weather reporter for the NBC Saturday edition of the “Today” show and NBC 4’s “Weekend Today in New York” and “New York Nightly News @ 7p.m.” that aired on COZI-TV (WNBC’s cable station) and streamed live on 

Huff has covered major weather events over the years and as part of NBC 4’s continuing coverage of Hurricane Sandy, won a 2013 New York Emmy, a 2014 National Emmy, and an Edward R. Murrow award. Huff was one of eight meteorologists chosen to travel to Washington, D.C. to interview President Barack Obama on the effects of climate change in the United States.

A passionate advocate for children, Huff is the host of Wednesday's Child, a weekly televised feature on adoptable children in the tri-state area’s foster care system. Every Wednesday, Huff introduces a child who is looking for a forever home. The segment airs every Wednesday during News 4 New York at 5 p.m. and again on the Sunday edition of Weekend Today in New York at 6:45 a.m.

Huff’s work on Wednesday’s Child has earned her many awards and honors that include:  The Alice Spivey International Women’s Day Award;  Montclair State University’s Allen B. Dumont Broadcaster of the Year Award, FedCap’s Excellence in Media Award;  Morris County Family Services Service Award; The Friars Club Best Meteorologist award; the Community Health Care Association of New York State Service Award; CASA-NYC’s Family Focus Adoption Service’s Service Award, the Administration for Children’s Services’ Golden Heart Award; the Miracle Makers Media Award for her commitment and dedication to helping New York City’s foster care children and the Second Annual Nicholas Scoppetta Award for Service to Children.

She is a member of the National Weather Association, The American Meteorological Society, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Friars Club. 

A native New Yorker, Huff graduated from Florida State University at Tallahassee with a degree in Meteorology. She is married and resides with her husband in New Jersey. To read more about Janice Huff please log on to: and on Instagram and twitter @JaniceHuff4ny.

“We are so pleased to have Janice Huff as our emcee for our dinner this year.  She is not only a well-respected member of the community, she has a deep passion for our mission. Her work on behalf of children is testament to her commitment to their well-being.   Janice is a perfect example of the type of people who are drawn to support Catholic Guardian Services and we look forward to an enjoyable evening with her leading the way.” — Craig Longley, Executive Director of Catholic Guardian Services.     



Bronx, N.Y.Project Renewal, a nonprofit organization empowering homeless New Yorkers to renew their lives through comprehensive medical, housing and job programs, is offering a new track of its award-winning Culinary Arts Training Program to young men and women who are aging out of foster care—a population that faces disproportionately high risks of unemployment and homelessness in their adult lives.

The new course, offered at Project Renewal’s Fletcher Residence supportive housing building in the Bronx, serves New Yorkers ages 18 to 24 who are in need of career training options and college alternatives. Participants are recruited and receive an initial eight-week course in employment readiness skills by Catholic Guardian Services, a nonprofit that offers an array of social services to vulnerable youth and families.

Project Renewal’s program consists of six weeks of intensive training in the kitchen, followed by a mandatory six-week internship at a restaurant, catering company or corporate dining services. Students learn cooking, baking, catering, and nutrition; and they graduate ready to take on careers in the culinary industry.

“With the success of our Culinary Arts Training Program, we were looking for ways to expand to help meet the needs of more New Yorkers,” said Barbara Hughes, co-founder and Director of the Culinary Arts Training Program at Project Renewal.“When Catholic Guardian Services approached us seeking food service training for their clients, we recognized the positive impact our program could have on these young adults.”

According to the New York City Public Advocate’s Office, of the nearly 1,000 people who age out of the foster care system annually, 80 percent are on their own—dealing with vital needs like housing, employment, healthcare, and education. Fifty percent struggle with unemployment and 18 to 26 percent live in homeless shelters.

Project Renewal’s Culinary Arts Training Program¾which first launched in Manhattan in 1995, serving New Yorkers who had struggled with homelessness, addiction and unemployment¾places graduates in jobs at twice the rate of similar programs nationwide. In 2013, the program won one of the "Top 10 Innovative Nonprofit Awards" from New York City’s Center for Economic Opportunity.

“With Project Renewal’s Culinary Arts Training Program, we saw an opportunity to expand our workforce development program for individuals formerly in or aging out of the foster care system,” said Ann McCabe, Catholic Guardian Services’ Assistant Executive Director for Child Welfare Services. “Thanks to Project Renewal, not only are these young adults getting the training they need, but also job placement assistance.”

The first students to complete this new track of the Culinary Arts Training Program in the Bronx will graduate on March 3, 2015.

For more information about Project Renewal’s Culinary Arts Training Program, visit

About Project Renewal

Project Renewal is a New York City-based nonprofit organization that works to end the cycle of homelessness by empowering men, women and children to renew their lives with health, homes and jobs. Project Renewal’s innovative programs are designed to end the revolving door of emergency rooms, jails, shelters and the streets. For over 45 years, Project Renewal’s pioneering approach has created uniquely integrated and comprehensive solutions. Its programs are replicated around the nation, helping even beyond the 16,000 homeless New Yorkers Project Renewal serves every year. For more information, visit

About Catholic Guardian Services

Catholic Guardian Services (CGS), founded in 1899, is a sophisticated human services non-profit organization with programs that respond to the most vulnerable people in the New York City metropolitan area. Our mission is to serve those in need, to aid those who desire help, and to guide those who seek better lives. Through supportive interventions, we provide help, create hope and preserve dignity. For more information, visit:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 28, 2016 NEW YORK—The de Blasio administration today announced the appointment of members to the newly created NYC Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board. The Board will allow City agencies that comprise the Cabinet to leverage the expertise, relationships and resources of non-government experts. Members of the Board include appointees from all five boroughs in academia, faith, media, business, technology, the non-profit sector and the judiciary.

“I created the NYC Children’s Cabinet to enhance the ways in which City agencies promote and protect our children’s well-being. This was always an all-hands-on-deck approach and I commend our newest partners in this endeavor for accepting this most special charge,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The NYC Children’s Cabinet is an initiative driving policy to support children’s health and well-being across 24 City agencies, identifying and analyzing individual and common areas of work. The Cabinet is chaired by Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery and Benita Miller is the Executive Director.

“Our children are best served when the city’s brightest minds are working together, and together we will keep working to make New York City the best big city in America to raise children,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery.

“We value our partners outside of government as thought partners and policy implementers, and here we have an all-star team. I look forward to working with them and delivering on progress for New York City families,” said NYC Children’s Cabinet Executive Director Benita Miller.

The NYC Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board will be co-chaired by Wendy Reynoso, CEO of Global Potential, and the Honorable Monica Drinane, retired Family Court Supervising Judge in Bronx County.

As part of the City’s expanded commitment to early childhood development, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor Richard Buery will host a series of NYC Baby Showers for expectant and new parents and caregivers, the first of which will take place on Saturday, February 6, 2016.

NYC Children’s Cabinet Initiatives

The “Talk to Your Baby, Their Brain Depends on It” public awareness campaign is aimed at promoting “attachment parenting” and early brain development among children ages 0-3. The campaign includes online and printed resources with information and tips for parents and caregivers, subway advertisements and digital outreach. Also, the Cabinet is distributing 200,000 copies of “Love Is/Amor Es” in partnership with the Clinton Foundation’s “Too Small to Fail” Initiative as well as Reach Out and Read program and Sesame Street. Recently, the Cabinet expanded its public awareness efforts to include advertisements on city bus shelters and the launch of city-wide Baby Showers hosted by First Lady Chirlane McCray.

Through the Early Years Collaborative Place-Based Initiative, the NYC Children’s Cabinet is working to understand the needs of babies in the context of their families and communities by taking a place-based approach to: increase healthy pregnancies, support school readiness, and promote secure parent-child attachment. The Place-Based Initiative which is underway in the South Bronx and Brownsville Brooklyn relies on city government collaboration, targeted program investment, data collection, and partnerships with local community based organizations in order to be successful.

NYC Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board Members

Alan van Capelle  Chief Executive Officer of Educational Alliance.

Anjali Kumar General Counsel and Head of Social Innovation at Warby Parker.

Anne Williams-Isom  Chief Executive Officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). 

Bill Baccaglini  President and CEO of The New York Foundling. 

Clarisa James Co-Founder/Executive Director of DIVAS (Digital Interactive Visual Arts Sciences) for Social Justice. 

Craig Longley, Executive Director of Catholic Guardian Services.

Deborah McCoy is the managing director of Robin Hood Foundation’s its Early Childhood and Youth grant making portfolio.

Denise Rosario is the founding executive director of the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services.  

The Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson is the Executive Pastor of The Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn, NY.  

Greg Worrell is president of Scholastic Classroom and Community Group.

Irwin Redlener is the Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. 

Dr. Jacqueline B. Mondros, D.S.W., currently serves as Dean of the School of Social Welfare and Assistant Vice President of Health Sciences at Stony Brook University SUNY. 

The Honorable Jeanette Ruiz is the Administrative Judge for Family Court. 

Jess Dannhauser is the President and CEO of Graham Windham. 

Karen P. Simmons is the Executive Director of The Children’s Law Center. 

Leah A. Hill, a Fulbright Scholar and Clinical Associate Professor at Fordham University School of Law.

Maritza Arroyo is the Executive Director of Zone 126.  

Mike O’Brien is the CEO of iMentor. 

The Honorable Monica Drinane is a retired Family Court Supervising Judge in Bronx County and former Attorney-in-Charge of the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Practice. 

Hirokazu Yoshikawa is the Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education at NYU Steinhardt and a University Professor at NYU, and Co-Director of the Global TIES for Children center at NYU. 

Nicholas Turner joined Vera as its fifth president and director in August, 2013. 

Patti Miller is the director of Too Small to Fail for the Clinton Foundation. 

Phoebe Boyer is the 11th president and chief executive officer of the Children’s Aid Society. 

Ronald E. Richter has worked since 1990 on behalf of vulnerable New Yorkers as a Legal Aid lawyer, City Hall staffer, ACS commissioner and family court judge. 

Sharon A. Myrie, Chief Executive Officer, joined LIFT in September 2013. 

Sonia Bhuta joined South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!) as Executive Director in August 2014. 

Stephanie Nilva is an attorney and the Executive Director of Day One. 

Steve Choi is the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and was previously the Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action. 

Susan Jacobs, Esq. is the founding Executive Director and President of the Center for Family Representation and directs CFR’s overall program and vision. 

Susan B. Neuman is a Professor and Chair of Teaching and Learning at New York University specializing in education and early childhood policy.

Russell Granet, Executive Director of Lincoln Center Education (LCE), is internationally known for his work in arts education. 

Wendy Reynoso is the CEO of Global Potential. 

Zeinab Chahine is a Managing Director for Strategic Consulting and head of Casey Family Programs' New York City Office. 

Zeinab Eyega is the Executive Director and Founder of Sauti Yetu.