| Program: || Greater Boston Catholic Charities, Boston, MA |
| Contact(s): || Claire A. Carroll, Director: (617) 625-1920 |
| Purpose: || To provide social services to those in need, regardless of age, race, color or creed |
Greater Boston Catholic Charities, the social service agency of the Archdiocese of Boston, is dedicated to improving the lives of the poor in Eastern Massachusetts. Founded in 1903 as a child welfare agency, Catholic Charities has adapted its services to meet the ever-changing needs of impoverished children, teens, working families and senior citizens. Catholic Charities is the largest private provider of social service care in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Catholic Charities offers 128 social service programs at 52 service sites throughout the Archdiocese of Boston. The immigration and refugee department of the Greater Boston Catholic Charities teamed with AmeriCorps to create the Refugee Awareness Building Project to work on various refugee resettlement projects. Through in-kind donations, the project offered assistance to newly arrived refugees in setting up their first homes in the United States, learning about American social systems and cultivating their public speaking skills. The project exposes American high school students to refugees' experiences, expands their world view, promotes racial/ethnic understanding and encourage students to engage in community services. In the Community Orientation Program, an established neighborhood network helps newly arriving refugees get acclimated to their communities. "Work groups" are created to encourage individuals to build a cohesive community. These work groups consist of community activists, landlords, small business owners and refugees. CO staff convene work group meetings and encourage leaders of the work groups to apply for small grant funding. Small grants ($200-$500) are extended to individuals and neighborhood groups who are committed to building strong refugee communities. The small grants help build the program and provide the resources for continuing these networks.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
Through the energies of 2,000 volunteers and 1,400 staff, Catholic Charities provides direct care to more than 145,000 people each year. The 12 refugees that participated in the Refugee Awareness Building Project visited six high schools and influenced 120 high school students. The high school students held furniture drives, which collected more than 200 pieces of furniture. In 1997 alone, Catholic Charities helped assimilate 8,695 immigrants and refugees.