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 IT Professional

The POWIR group is seeking an IT professional as a volunteer tutor for one of the young men we are helping to resettle here in MA. He has a college degree from Afghanistan and is a hard worker. He is working on a Google Professional Certificate in IT Support and could use some assistance with this course. Google has partnered with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies to distribute 30,000 scholarships among its member organizations. Upon completion, he will be well prepared for a competitively paid job as a Computer Support Specialist, IT Manager, Help Desk Technician, or Network ...
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August 28: POWIR Update

We are pleased to share with you that the 3 young adult men who came to Massachusetts from Afghanistan in January of 2022 are doing very well. One of them had some dental education in Afghanistan and his dream is to be a dental assistant. A big thank you to the Drs. Ali of Wellesley Dental group for the onsite educational opportunity they have been offering for several months now. They are also guiding him along the path to become a dental assistant and he is almost there. The young man who loves to cook is working in a restaurant ...
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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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