In December, 2017, after extensive research performed by two of our Advisory Board Members, it was determined that the most vulnerable group of refugees in need of assistance were male and females between the ages of 18-23. Why? They have aged out of our high-schools and tend to take low paying jobs. This is the cycle of poverty which hinders the refugees. The solution is to create an incentive, such as an opportunity to remain in school or pursue a college degree or technical skill certificate.
The Saint’s Place Scholarship Fund was established on January 3rd, 2018 with $25,000.00 raised through our Annual Patron Saint’s campaign. To assure that we were receiving the best nominations for grants, Saint’s Place aligned themselves with four organization dealing with refugees within this particular age group: Saint’s Place Tutoring Group (75 refugees attend classes); MAC, a group working with teens and young adults helping them to improve their English, find jobs, and promote educational opportunities; the Rochester International Academy teaching only refugees and OASCES, public school teaching courses in order to receive a certificate in electrical, plumbing, nursing, culinary training.
We wanted to be very specific regarding the grants. We provide new laptops to students attending MCC; we arrange via the college to pay for student’s textbooks and fees. We pay for training courses so that the refugees will be able to obtain other jobs. Finally, we contribute to partial tuition costs. All potential refugees fill out applications, must be recommended by one of the four organizations, and their progress and success are tracked through the term of the grant.
To date, it has been a most successful undertaking. We are definitely make a difference in the lives of these refugees and are witnessing first hand their academic achievements. Slowly, we are breaking the cycle of poverty. Saint’s Place is aggressively seeking additional grants to enhance the scholarship fund. The joy on the faces of the students when they receive their new laptop inspires all of us. This means that they do not have to run around trying to use the college or library computers which are always in use. They are now able to spend more time on assignments and obtain better grades. The relief and excitement refugees express to us knowing that they will receive a higher education and then gain a job is so rewarding.
Please help us to continue our work.
46 South Main Street
Pittsford, NY 14534
Open Monday-Thursday 8:30 - 4:00
Having reached the 20 year milestone of welcoming refugees, we want to take this opportunity to look backwards, as well as forwards. The Saint’s Place journey of 20 years has, at times, been challenging; but the rewards have far surpassed the obstacles. Success in our Ministry is measured by stories of impressive achievements made by some of the most deserving and brave people in the world - refugees.
The incredible growth and progress of Saint’s Place has been made possible because you cared. Donors, volunteers, staff and board members have worked on a daily basis to uplift the poorest. We began by assisting one Somali Family in 1998 to assisting over 1,250 refugees in 2017. Saint’s Place has been a part of some awesome moments of gratitude and happiness. We have been very fortunate to observe several of those I think “I saw Jesus in that face ” moments.
There are numbers that we watch closely to guide our work and measure our progress. Our favorite numbers are the total number of refugees we have served since 1998, - 13,000 refugees and counting! The second is the number of hours donated by our volunteers. Each month the number of hours grows, as does the number of volunteers. In the last year over 22,000 volunteer hours were tracked, and I am sure it is underestimated because so many volunteers work behind the scene.
Looking forward, even though there has been a decrease in the number of newly arrived refugees, we are doing a massive outreach to refugees already living in Rochester. Unfortunately, many of the refugees are still living in poverty – working for minimal wages and not being able to afford anything but rent and food. Being able to help them with furniture, household needs and clothing is staying true to our mission of giving dignity and hope to those less fortunate.
Saint’s Place has a new initiative. We are placing a high priority on providing support for higher education through partial payment of tuition and vocational training. We are also providing assistance in purchasing textbooks, paying fees, purchasing uniforms and laptop computers. Thinking back, once it was just the need for a monthly bus pass! Any need that prevents an individual from continuing his/her education will be presented for consideration.
To our past and current volunteers, donors, board members and staff “thank you” for keeping this Ministry alive and thriving.