2018 Annual Report

Immigrant & Refugee Women’s Program Experiences Another Year of Growth

ST. LOUIS, January 22, 2019 -- The Immigrant & Refugee Women’s Program (IRWP) released its 2018 Annual Report on Tuesday, detailing continued growth for the program. According to the report, in 2018, 396 IRWP volunteer teachers spent 14,350 hours teaching 382 immigrant and refugee students basic English and practical living skills. These numbers reflect record increases in volunteers and students. In addition, 14 students became new US citizens, and the organization received 225 referrals for new students.

“We have seen remarkable growth in the program due to the interest of the immigrant and refugee community,” said Julie Fox, IRWP Executive Director. “Our program is unique as we provide a learning experience that is offered in the security of students’ homes, focused on their individual goals and is taught in a one-on-one format. Many of our referrals come from word of mouth because of the student’s positive experience in the program.”

There is a high demand for in-home, one-on one English and basic skills learning, as evidenced by record growth of 74% in the last two years. Currently, IRWP has over 206 students waiting to work with a volunteer teacher, and the organization is looking to recruit more volunteer teachers to help each of those students currently waiting. Volunteer teachers do not require any second language or teaching experience. IRWP provides volunteers with training and all materials.

Since 1995, IRWP has helped women arriving in St. Louis from foreign countries to make a new life in the United States. Founded by Sr. Elise Silvestri, SSND, IRWP began with six Vietnamese women students. IRWP was part of the Notre Dame Ministry Corporation until 2006 when it became a 503(c)(3).

The mission of IRWP is to increase the independence and reduce the isolation of immigrant and refugee women by teaching them basic English and practical living skills in the security of their own homes.

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Meet Ryan Byrnes

Ryan Byrnes reached out to us earlier in the year to explore the possibility of donating some of the profits from his new book to IRWP. We, of course, jumped at the chance to learn more about Ryan and his upcoming release. Ryan is an author of young adult and historical fiction who has lived in the St. Louis region. He has self published four young adult novels and his newest book will be his first book with a publishing house. Royal Beauty Bright is a historical fiction novel set during World War I and the first Christmas of the war.

Ryan came to visit the IRWP offices this week to learn more about our program and talk about our partnership. We loved hearing about how he came to write his book and why he chose us to benefit from some of the profits. He told us how he really liked our mission and how we welcomed immigrants and refugees to the community.

We will be talking much more about Ryan and his novel, Royal Beauty Bright, in the coming months. Until then we encourage you to visit his website and Facebook page.

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Volunteers Needed

In 2018, 396 volunteers provided over

14,000 teaching hours to 382 students!

The need for teachers at this time is great. We currently have 220+ students on the waiting list and receive new referrals weekly. Teachers do not have to have ESL or second language experience. We make the volunteer experience as easy as possible so that the teacher and student can work together and build their relationship. Interested in learning more? Give us a call at 314-771-1104.

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