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POWIR's goal is to develop long-term, sustainable programs. The positive impact of the POWIR program has been significant. Since its inception in 2010, the participating dioceses have recruited thousands of parish and community volunteers who were assisting refugees adjust to life in the U.S. With the help of so many little friends, thousands of refugee clients received pro bono legal counsel and medical services, made friends, learned English, found work, and achieved social integration.
The POWIR program has been extremely successful in increasing volunteer support, as well as generating local cash and in-kind donations. Analysis of the most recent program cycle shows that diocesan resettlement sites were able to generate $4 for every $1 of USCCB funding.
This year, POWIR dioceses have identified an expanded set of newcomers to welcome and accompany, including elderly and youth refugees, unaccompanied minors, asylees and asylum seekers, and second-generation immigrants. POWIR dioceses also are equipping parishes and community groups with skills to focus on long-term integration as an essential component of refugee and migration ministries.
The engagement of our local Catholic community continues to surprise and humble. This is attributed to our POWIR team, and I know that continued resources from USCCB will only increase our ability to refine and expand our efforts. This program has provided the foundation for strong working relationships in which our team continues to find innovative ways to engage parishes.
- Steven E. Bogus, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of Louisville, Inc.
The POWIR program made our parish more aware of the global refugee situation and opportunities to provide meaningful assistance. It supports an important partnership between Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County and local parishes; I cannot envision how many refugees would be able to cope and adjust well without the support of these important components.
- Parishioner at St. Lawrence the Martyr Parish, Santa Clara, California
POWIR is a wonderful concept and I commend the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Migration and Refugee Services for their continued support of the program.
- Most Rev. Felipe J. Estévez, S.T.D., Bishop of St. Augustine
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