Congo family receives St. John's Helping Hands

Wed, Jul 19th 2017 03:00 pm
James Werick with St. John's 8th grade students
James Werick with St. John's 8th grade students

A family from Congo, Africa received many helping hands from the students, parents, and faculty of St. John the Baptist School in Kenmore.  Under the guidance of James Werick, the school's Dean of Discipline, students collected furniture, household items, clothing, and food to help settle the family of four.  "Our students performed a wonderful act of kindness for a young family who has nothing and is fleeing unimaginable hardship, desperately seeking a new life in our country," states Werick.  "This project helped in a very substantial way—working to create a welcoming home for our family."

St. John's partners with Journey's End Refugee Services, Inc., which is a Christian community-based organization with the mission of welcoming refugees without regard to ethnic origin or creed and to assist them to become healthy, independent, and contributing members of the community.  The organization provides refugees with the resources and support they need to become successful, active, and contributing members of the WNY community.  In an effort to put their religion and faith in action, the St. John's school community assists an immigrating family associated with Journey's End by helping to set up a home for them.

The family assisted by St. John's this year includes a mother and her three young children from Africa.  "She (the mom) spent most of her life in a refugee camp in Rwanda," explains Community Outreach Manager, Andy Cammarata.  "Her children were born in the camp and she left her parents behind to come to Buffalo alone."  Cammarata indicates that this family's story is similar to many others who have come to the United States to escape incredible oppression.  She shared a story of another woman who came to the U.S. about ten years ago with her four children after losing her husband in the genocide.  With much hard work, she now works as a licensed therapist at a local hospital and her children attend private schools.  "I tell you all this so you know that refugees work very hard to provide for their children," says Cammarata.  "They take a risk to leave what they know, even if it is a camp, to come to the U.S. and start a new life.  The most important thing for them is the education of their children!"  The group from St. John's hopes that in some small way, they have helped in providing a good start as this family begins anew.  For more information regarding Journey's End in Buffalo, visit   

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