About the POWIR Ministry Program

The St. John-St. Paul Collaborative Service Commission, in partnership with dedicated parishioners and staff, has established a POWIR program to assist Catholic Charities Boston with immigrant and refugee resettlement.  

POWIR (“Parishes Organized to Welcome Immigrants and Refugees”) is a program of the UCCSB that engages local churches to recruit and utilize volunteers to mentor and provide other needed support to newly-arrived refugees. The program places a special focus on building parish partnerships in which a parish sponsors a refugee family for a designated period of time.  

POWIR programs have helped thousands of refugee clients find places to live, make friends, learn English, find work, receive pro bono legal counsel and medical services, and achieve social integration.


Updates from the SJSP POWIR Program

POWIR Update: Seeking Legal Assistance

We are in need of legal assistance for the three young men from Afghanistan who we are helping to resettle. We are seeking immigration attorneys who would be willing to work pro bono to represent our young men through this process. If you are an immigration attorney willing to work with our young men and/or provide guidance to the SJSP POWIR team - or if you have any leads on attorneys or organizations that might be able to help - we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to Mary Campion (mary.campion@sjspwellesley.org) or Kelly Meraw (kelly.meraw@sjspwellesley.org) at your ...
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Bike Collection for “The Bike Connector” – Sunday, May 15 at 1:00pm in the Saint John School Parking Lot

The Bike Connector is a non-profit, 100% volunteer-run, community-based program that provides free bikes for people in need: children who have never had a bike and adults who need transportation. They also offer “Do It Together” bike repair workshop, affordable bicycles, and hands-on educational programming. They recently provided free bikes to the three Afghani young men we are helping to resettle through the POWIR program. In appreciation for their generous help with our young men, we would like to help support their efforts! The Bike Connector only works when they have bikes. They depend on generous donors to donate outgrown ...
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JCRC Webinar: Our Community’s Afghan Resettlement Work – Thursday, February 3 at 12:00pm

Our community has watched the scenes coming out of Afghanistan – the thousands of Afghans, many of whom laid their lives on the lines for allied forces – desperately trying to flee perilous conditions and escape to safety. And many of us have wondered, “what can we do to help?” Join the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) to learn more about how we work with our partners to build an infrastructure to welcome Afghan immigrants. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER! Featuring Temple Emanuel's Rav Hazzan Aliza Berger, JCRC Director of Synagogue Organizing Rachie Lewis, and St. John - St. Paul Catholic ...
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POWIR Update

Our recent arrivals have settled into the apartment and are doing well. They are 3 wonderful, enthusiastic young adult men. They have already made friends with other young men from Afghanistan living in the same apartment complex. A great community is developing. Catholic Charities is working on the documents they need such as work permits. Jewish Vocational Services will be providing free English classes and career counseling. Our team will be tutoring them, taking them grocery shopping, doing banking and other errands, teaching them how to use the T, and more! JOB OPPORTUNITIES Twice a month, all the POWIR leaders ...
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POWIR Update: Our New Residents Have Arrived!

Our POWIR team is pleased to announce that our new residents have arrived. Three wonderful young adult men are now settled in the apartment. Two of them speak English very well and were in the midst of university studies in Afghanistan. They would like to resume these studies once their English skills reach that level. They are polite, enthusiastic, grateful, and very engaging young men. They play soccer and volleyball and are very interested in American culture. The team is looking for people who could take them on outings such as bowling, sightseeing in Boston, hiking, or other entertainment. They ...
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POWIR Update: Exciting News!

Our POWIR Team has exciting news to share about the Afghani refugee family our Collaborative has been supporting. On Sunday, January 9 the family departed for California, where they are relocating to be closer to their immediate family who have been resettled in the Sacramento area. We ask for your continued prayers as they take this wonderful step toward building a home in the USA. In the meantime, our team has cleaned and reset the apartment (furnished by your generous donations.) We are anticipating new residents in our apartment by the end of next week. Our POWIR team is seeking ...
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POWIR Update: Meet the Family!

On Friday, November 19, we welcomed with joy a beautiful Refugee Family from Kabul, Afghanistan. Iqbal (dad), Khatol (mom), Shahzad (2 year old boy) and Huda (1 year old girl) are settled into their home in Boston. Iqbal is eager to begin the process of finding a job, and with his solid English skills and strong work ethic, we are confident he'll be employed quickly! We can not thank you enough for your generosity in contributing to their resettlement efforts. Our SJSP POWIR team is looking forward to continuing to support this family as they adapt to all their new ...
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They’re Here!

Our POWIR committee is overjoyed to share with you the arrival of the Afghani family we will be supporting in the coming year. They arrived at Logan Airport on Friday afternoon at 4PM. Mom, Dad, 2 year old boy and 1 year old baby girl are happily settled into their new home in Boston. Our housing volunteers worked tirelessly on Thursday and Friday preparing a warm and welcoming home for the family thanks to all of your generous donations. We are still gratefully accepting financial contributions to their resettlement efforts, and any volunteer support you feel prompted to give. From ...
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Donations Needed for Afghani Family

Our St. John-St. Paul Collaborative POWIR committee is overjoyed to announce that in the coming weeks we will be welcoming a refugee family from Afghanistan. Our housing committee has secured an apartment in the Newton/Brookline area for the family. Targeted donations for their apartment needs are being solicited in both churches this weekend - look for the envelopes on the clotheslines at the main entrances. Drop off for these specific items will be in Powers Hall at St. John's from Tuesday, October 26 through Thursday, October 28. We are in great need of financial contributions as well! We ask you ...
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Helping a Family from Afghanistan   

We are pleased to announce that our Collaborative Service Commission and POWIR committee have decided to sponsor a refugee family from Afghanistan. Once again, we will be partnering with Catholic Charities in this effort. This year Catholic Charities is collaborating with the Jewish Community Relations Council. Our brothers and sisters at Temple Beth Elohim of Wellesley will also be sponsoring a family and we are looking for creative ways to work together! Our POWIR co-chairs Barbara Viechnicki and Barbara Weidlich will be looking for as much engagement as possible from parishioners. We implore you to lend a hand. We need ...
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