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.