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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

‘I Won’t Forget About Ukraine:’ Two Years After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, Volunteers Remain Eager to Help

Ruslan, a passionate collaborative pianist at Boston Conservatory School of Music.

Roman, a humble, hardworking employee for Gentle Giants Moving Company who bikes miles to work every day.

Nazar, a resilient manager of an automotive business and former information technology specialist now balancing multiple jobs.

While these three men who now live in Massachusetts have never met, they are inextricably connected by a shared understanding of what it feels like to flee your country in search of safety.

Born and raised in Ukraine, Ruslan, Roman, and Nazar each were driven from their homeland with their wives and children after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Now, two years later, they are gradually adjusting to the new rhythms of life in the U.S.

While the road ahead remains uncertain, they each said they are grateful for the support system their families and them have found in Catholic Charities Boston’s Welcome Circles program, a pilot program developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s (USCCB) Migration and Refugee Services in which volunteers from parishes, communities of faith, or organizations who are willing to provide financial support, guidance, and community connections join to help Ukrainian families – and now families from all over the world – resettle in Massachusetts.

Since the program launched, 33 Welcome Circles have been formed to help Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees, and the Agency is collectively helping, or preparing to help, over 100 Ukrainians in need.

“We are blessed to be able to work with so many great volunteer teams forming Welcome Circles to bring Ukrainian families to Massachusetts and help them in their resettlement,” said Philip D’Agati, Program Manager of Community Sponsorship and Engagement for Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigrant Services. “They provide more than just basic needs. They provide hope and friendship to the families they sponsor and then welcome.”

Beyond helping refugees in need find housing, education, employment opportunities, medical resources, legal services, and family support, Catholic Charities’ Welcome Circle volunteers strive to plant seeds of hope and remind those they serve that they are never alone.

“I’d never felt this feeling before – when people help you for no reason at all – just because they want to help,” said Nazar. “It touches my heart.”

To learn more about how you can support Ukrainian families in need, visit our Ways to Give page.

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