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Unlocking the Power of Volunteers

Webinar Presentation for CCUSA

Photos courtesy of

Presenter: Daniel Sturm, Special Projects Manager at Migration and Refugee Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

MRS/USCCB May 2013

Presenter Bio
Daniel Sturm, Migration and Refugee Services/United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Daniel Sturm is Special Projects Manager at Migration and Refugee Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. From 2007-10 he was a National Trainer for RefugeeWorks, the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlements National Center for Refugee Employment and SelfSufficiency. Prior to joining RefugeeWorks, Mr. Sturm worked as a journalism professor and full-time journalist for regional and national media in the U.S. and in Germany. He holds a Masters degree in Literature, Linguistics and Anthropology from the University of Tbingen. Mr. Sturm is an Alumn of the German Bishops Conference Distinguished Journalism School (Institut zur Frderung publizistischen Nachwuchses) in Munich, Germany.

MRS/USCCB May 2013

Special Volunteer Initiative

The Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees (POWR)

In 2010, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops launched the Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees (POWR) program, to strengthen and deepen its support of church and community involvement in work for refugees and immigrants.

MRS/USCCB May 2013

Significance of Volunteers
More than 64 million people in the U.S. volunteer
1. More than 64 million people in the U.S. volunteer today, and the Corporation for National and Community Service noticed that this number continues to climb. 2. With this in mind, its time to reflect how well our organizations are utilizing volunteers. Are we really unlocking all of our opportunities? 3. Benefits of Utilizing Volunteer Power: Economic Environment Expertise and Skills Social Networks Resource Development MRS/USCCB May 2013

About the USCCB

Migration and Refugee Services
Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) is the USCCB department charged by the bishops to serve and advocate for refugees, asylees, immigrants and other people on the move. The work of MRS is rooted in Catholic Social Teaching and the Scriptures, a tradition of compassion and justice to the poor and vulnerable, and in the belief that the strength of the United States lies in its diverse ethnic and cultural heritage.

MRS/USCCB May 2013

Public/Private Partnership
National Voluntary Agency Coordinating with Affiliates
Beginning in 1920, the national Catholic Church began to coordinate the resettlement of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants arriving in Ellis Island, helping them find local dioceses and parishes to assist them. As a national voluntary agency coordinating a program with local partners, this founding model formed the basis for the public/private partnership that is the backbone of U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program today.

MRS/USCCB May 2013

MRS: Largest Refugee Agency

Partnering with Catholic Charities Agencies
Partnerships: By partnering with 100 local diocesan and Catholic Charities agencies, MRS resettles one third of all U.S. refugees. Funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of State, MRS remains the largest resettlement agency in the U.S. Populations Served: In 2012, the top six nationalities resettled by the USCCB were Iraqis, Bhutanese, Burmese, Somalis, and Cubans. Since 1986 the USCCB has resettled 354,881 refugees.

MRS/USCCB May 2013

Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees (POWR) Program

The Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees programs primary goal is to develop long-term, sustainable programs. Current and past program participants are MRS network affiliates in 41 locations across the United States.

MRS/USCCB May 2013

Resettlement Challenges
1. Decreased Likelihood of Long-Term Integration [In the U.S. Resettlement System] English language training is insufficient, transportation is inadequate, and professional recertification is not viable.
Refugee Crisis in America, Georgetown University, 2009.

Refugees struggled to find and keep full-time jobs, especially since 2008.
Methodologies for Tracking Refugees Longitudinally. Dartmouth College, 2012.

2. Anti-Immigrant Sentiment At a time when disadvantaged populations are receiving more negative press and their circumstances are misunderstood, it is difficult to recruit volunteers. 3. Strain on Agencies Roller coaster of refugee arrivals, and planning uncertainty.

MRS/USCCB May 2013

POWR Program Goals

In the midst of the economic downturn, the USCCB launched the Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees (POWR) Program, offering $2.2 million to 41 dioceses. This grant money is now being used to augment services in the following areas: 1. Strengthening parish and community support for refugees 2. Increasing donations to fund additional refugee services 3. Hiring volunteers to help with jobs, transportation & housing 4. Organizing special refugee events and outreach activities

MRS/USCCB May 2013


POWR 2010-13 Directory

Albany, New York Amarillo, Texas Anchorage, Alaska Arlington, Virginia Atlanta, Georgia Boston, Mass. Brooklyn, New York Buffalo, New York Charlotte, NC Chicago, Illinois Cleveland, Ohio Dayton, Ohio Des Moines, Iowa Erie, Pennsylvania Hartford, Connecticut Houston, Texas Indianapolis, Indiana Jacksonville, Florida Kansas City, Kansas Lansing, Michigan Las Vegas, Nevada Los Angeles, California Louisville, Kentucky Mobile, Alabama Nashville, Tennessee Orlando, Florida Palm Beach, Florida Phoenix, Arizona Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Portland, Maine

Portland, Oregon Richmond, Virginia Rockford, Illinois Rochester, New York Rochester, Minnesota Salt Lake City, Utah San Antonio, Texas San Jose, California St. Paul, Minnesota St. Petersburg, Florida Syracuse, New York

FY 2013 POWR Programs Marked Red

MRS/USCCB May 2013


POWR Map & Accomplishments

Select POWR program accomplishments 2010-13: Recruited 6,000 new volunteers. Formed more than 150 new parish and community partnerships. Created new social service and parish mentorship programs tackling transportation, housing, jobs, food, language, legal and health care issues.

Map shows 2010-13 POWR Programs located in 41 dioceses.

MRS/USCCB May 2013

Creating Social Connections

Refugee Cooking Class in Jacksonville, Fl.
The local POWR program in Jacksonville, Florida developed an innovative Refugee Cooking Class/Dinner concept that has resulted in increased visibility and media attention.
Our cooking classes featured Cuban, Bhutanese, and Iraqi cuisine and catered to clients from these cultures. We invited parishioners from around Jacksonville to participate and enjoy the company of our refugee clients, with the hopes of making some strong leads in their parishes. Translators participated as well, so that refugees could experience everything the class offered. We also created a recipe book (binder) to include the recipes from each class and in each language.
POWR Program Manager, Catholic Charities Diocese St. Augustine

MRS/USCCB May 2013


Increasing Awareness
Mock Refugee Camps in Louisville, Kentucky
Local POWR program organizes mock refugee camps to involve Catholic High School students in refugee advocacy. Also in the works is a Guide for the Mock Refugee Camp.

Airport Arrival

Apartment Acclimation

Elderly Refugee Program

Photos Courtesy Mark Bouchard, Catholic Charities of Louisville (Aug. 29-2012 USCCB-POWR presentation)

MRS/USCCB May 2013


Promising Partnerships
Refugee Ambassador Project in Indianapolis
In Indianapolis, Indiana, a partnership between POWR and Catholic High Schools is another example of POWRs energizing effects. Students serve as Refugee Ambassadors and receive service learning credits. Program Goals: The Refugee Ambassador Program provides students with information on refugee resettlement and the rich traditions of each culture. In turn, the students act as liaisons for their high schools and home parishes. All generated donations are used to improve integration programs, i.e. language and job readiness training programs. MRS/USCCB May 2013 15

Development Successes
POWR Triggers Tripling of Donations
Cash & In-Kind Fundraising


USCCB Expense







MRS/USCCB May 2013


Focus on Learning
Documentation, Training Materials, Resource Library
USCCB/Migration and Refugee Services launched an electronic discussion list and monthly e-newsletter, The POWR Post, to document the successes of the program. This publication helps program participants learn from one another, and thereby leverage new funding sources and improve upon their own programs. Presentations, webinar recordings and other materials are available on the USCCBs online resource library. The electronic publication is accompanied by a series of workshops (POWR panels) related to resource development and program oversight.
MRS/USCCB May 2013


POWR Program Future

Call for Proposals by Oct. 14, 2013
POWR Program in 2014 and Beyond: USCCB/MRS will continue to build on the successes of the Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees (POWR) Program. Details about the CY 2014 POWR Request for Proposal will be circulated by Nov. 1, 2013. Eligibility: All Reception and Placement budgeted sites will be eligible to apply for this program. Current/past POWR program participants are welcome to apply. Grants have ranged from $10-$35,000.

MRS/USCCB May 2013


Appendix I: POWR Highlights

Highlight POWR Anchorage, Alaska Refugee Voices Panel Selected Program Objectives This POWR program intends to recruit parish, community and nursing school volunteers to assist refugees with navigating U.S. medical care. To increase outreach efforts the agency will engage parishioners to serve alongside refugee speakers on a Refugee Voices panel. Will educate communities about refugee issues in order to garner interest in a Refugee Camp Immersion Project. Students and parishioners experience firsthand what refugees experience when they flee their homes and set up temporary residence in a camp. This will help identify parishioners as donors, volunteers and employers. Refugees acquire and improve sewing skills to make things for themselves and their families, as well as provide them with marketable skills for self-employment. Parish and student volunteers will teach sewing classes and organize donation drives. Volunteers will be assigned to assist with health screening and teaching clients to navigate the American healthcare system. POWR will also make a special efforts to recruit job mentors. The Dayton POWR program will continue its momentum to educate and engage parishes about refugees. They will collaborate with the Archdiocesan Social Action Office to strengthen outreach to parishes and alleviate the overextension of existing parish volunteers. Atlanta, Georgia Camp Immersion Project

Buffalo, New York Cleveland, Ohio

Sewing Classes

Health Care Orientation Collaborating with Social Ministry Office

Dayton, Ohio

MRS/USCCB May 2013


Appendix I: POWR Highlights

Houston, Texas Las Vegas, Nevada The sudden influx of 250 Cuban border crossers has stretched the agency's capacity to its limits. With POWR's support, Houston will intensify refugee awareness, disseminate positive stories and participate in the local World Refugee Day event. Employment Corps The Las Vegas POWR coordinator works with 25 parish volunteer coordinators to increase awareness by featuring refugee stories in parish newsletters and involving parishioners in events. Employment Corps members will help refugees apply for jobs, perform mock interviews and offer job readiness workshops. Volunteer The POWR program organizes mock refugee camps to involve students in refugee advocacy. The program intends to establish an employment network of parish and Employment school volunteers to increase job placements. Network Parish-Refugee The agency will develop a program guide, a volunteer recruitment presentation, and Outreach Team standardized training manual. Parish volunteers will work with refugee families to develop American life skills. Who's My Will develop a Who's My Neighbor? workshop series for parishes located in Neighbor? neighborhoods with increasing refugee populations, to raise awareness and involve Workshops parishioners. Financial Education The POWR program will organize refugee networking events to increase early employment and help create deeper community connections. Expand Reach Will increase recruitment of parish volunteers in remote locations that are difficult to reach for case workers. Will develop refugee assistance committees in 25 percent of parishes and organize donation drives. Cuban Border Crossers

Louisville, Kentucky Orlando, Florida

Portland, Oregon Rochester, Minnesota Rockford, Illinois

MRS/USCCB May 2013


Appendix II: Volunteer Resources publishes this guide to volunteer management and recruitment. is an excellent online service matching interested volunteers with organizations that need help, across the U.S. provides information for volunteer managers, including recruiting, screening, training, record keeping, volunteer recognition, etc. Includes samples of volunteer applications and other forms. provides materials free of charge, as direct downloads.
Jesuit Volunteer Corps supports organizations that provide direct service to marginalized people by placing volunteers at schools, non-profits, and other sites around the world.

MRS/USCCB May 2013


POWR Program Contact

Daniel Sturm
Daniel Sturm, M.A. USCCB/MRS Special Programs Manager Phone 202-541-3226 E-mail: Web:

MRS/USCCB May 2013


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