Spectrum News Rochester came to Saint's Place on December 16th, 2019 to interview the staff and volunteers about our Refugee Christmas Baskets. This year Saint's Place is providing wish list items to 25 refugee families in Rochester. For many of them, it is their first Christmas season in the United States. A dozen additional families who only asked for clothing and bedding are visiting our Clothing Closet this week to receive new warm coats, boots, hats and mittens.
We are so grateful to the parishioners of St. Louis for their generous donations of items from our Angel Trees, for the donations of our community supporters including a grant from Catholic Family Center and for the numerous groups who have held coat drives or have spent hours making quilts and knitting hats and mittens. We couldn't do it without you!
Saint's Place has been working closely with Rochester International Academy for many years. Located on Edgerton Park in the city of Rochester, RIA is designed to facilitate the cultural and academic transition of newly arrived English Language Learners through rigorous language instruction and interdisciplinary learning in collaboration with families and community. Their current enrollment includes 318 refugee students.
Saint's Place has two volunteers who work with the RIA families and their social workers to identify ways we can help these families. Families from RIA frequently visit our Clothing Closet for winter clothing and school supplies and for several years, Saint's Place has provided school uniforms for the students.
This year, we donated khaki pants and the shirts you see in the photo above. In December of 2019, we are giving another 100 RIA hoodies for the older students.
Rochester International Academy is a wonderful, welcoming place for students who are learning a new language and adapting to a new culture and environment. We are privileged to work with them.
Want to learn more about RIA and their programs? Click the link below to go tho their website.
Joyous reunion happens at Saint’s Place tutoring center
Two Afghani women recently stopped by the Saint’s Place tutoring program at Guardian Angels Church in Henrietta.
Both of them had been tutored by Saint’s Place volunteers when they were children, and now in their 20s, they came bringing a new student with them — the husband of one of the women. He had just arrived from Afghanistan to begin a new life in Rochester.
“They went on and on about how wonderful (Saint’s Place Founder Colleen Knauf) and the program were, and how much it helped them,” says tutoring manager Geri Dolan. The Afghani family wanted the new arrival to have the same tutoring experience that they had had.
“Their enthusiasm and gratefulness made our day,” Geri says.
A week later, the family returned to the tutoring program, and this time, they were reunited with long-time volunteer Mary Ellen Capineri. Mary Ellen had tutored another daughter in the family for seven years, from the time she was in the fifth grade until she graduated from high school. That young woman went on to attend Monroe Community College, get married and relocated to Australia. “I remember the family fondly,” says Mary Ellen, especially one of the daughters who started the tutoring program as a five-year-old.
“It was a joyous reunion with lots of hugs and catching up and exchanging of phone numbers,” Geri says. “It is always a gift to be able to see your former students and find out where their lives have taken them.”
The tutoring program is an important aspect of Saint’s Place ministry. Refugees need to learn English so they can assimilate, get an education, and get jobs. The program has been in existence for 20 years. Tutoring takes place from 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays at Guardian Angels Church in Henrietta and Thursdays at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit in Rochester.
If you are wondering about whether you are qualified to be a tutor, Geri says tutors come from a variety of backgrounds and ages and include high school and college students. Prospective tutors fill out paperwork and must take CASE (Creating a Safe Environment) online training as required by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester.
To learn more about volunteering, call Saint’s Place at (585) 358-6860 or fill out an online form here: https://saintsplace.org/contact-us