Volunteer Opportunities - RIS

Volunteer Opportunities - Refugee & Immigration Services

Refugee and Immigration Services at JFS resettle refugees and asylees from all around the world. Each refugee is unique, arriving with varying levels and types of education and work experience. Many arrive with professional backgrounds eager to re-enter their field in the United States. Many are young adults with big dreams of their future in higher education, but never got a chance to finish high school. However, navigating a new culture, job market, and education scene often proves challenging for new Americans; many refugees are unfamiliar with U.S. industries and application processes, lack the necessary connections to learn about opportunities, and/or face long and challenging reaccreditation processes. Plain simple, it’s hard to know where to start. That’s where you can play a part.

Professional Mentor
JFS offers a career development program for foreign-trained and credentialed professionals to assist them in reaching career goals and encourage them to pursue their dreams. Volunteers with expertise in specific professions are needed to provide support and advice to refugees with professional backgrounds. These include, but are not limited to: engineers, health professionals (doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists), business professionals, and IT professionals. This position does not require the mentor to promise a job or to hire a refugee professional, but rather to help individuals understand the complexities of his/her chosen profession in the United States. Oftentimes, the key to success for many refugees and their families is the interest and attention of a person like you.

College Mentor
Young refugees face an uphill battle. A new life in America brings a new home, new friends, a new culture, and a new language. Meanwhile, many dream of attending college. However, understanding and navigating a new educational system can seem difficult, or even impossible, especially during a time of so much change. Volunteers match college hopefuls with current students and assist young refugees in applying to and attending college. Current college student mentors support and give advice to young refugees interested in attending college. We recognize that current students understand the challenges and perks of being in college, and can best relate to young hopefuls. Each college student will be matched with a mentee(s) and will help him/her to understand post-secondary education in the United States. Potential activities may include giving a tour of a community college or university, discussing classes you have taken, describing the application process, etc. Mentors will have the assistance and support of staff at all times.

Administrative Support
Helps Refugee & Immigration Services staff with completing necessary documents and case notes, managing files, data entry, preparing resource materials, conducting client intakes, and more.

Citizenship & Naturalization Law Clerk
Provides assistance to immigrants seeking help with immigration-related applications including green cards, travel documents, employment authorization, and citizenship. Time commitment 10-15 hours a week.

Citizenship Tutor
Meet with students enrolled in Citizenship classes on a weekly basis and provide extra instruction and one-on-one tutoring for the Citizenship Test and Interview. The test to become a United States citizen includes answering questions about U.S. history and civics and speaking, reading, and writing in English. Schedule is flexible.

Friendly Match
Welcomes and mentors a refugee family to support them in their new life in the United States. Friendly Matches help teach English, familiarize families with their new communities (visits to parks, grocery stores, libraries, etc), and orient families to daily life in the United States (mail, paying bills, etc.). This is a hands-on experience which may lead to the development of a life-long friendship. This is a four-month commitment with a minimum of four visits per month.

Linguistic Liaison
Accompanies refugees to various appointments and acts as an interpreter between refugees and doctors, city officials, service providers, and more. English language and second language fluency is a must. Scheduling is determined by date and time of the requested appointments.

Translates written materials such as workshop materials, newsletters, legal documents and declarations, and more. English language and second language written fluency is a must.

For more information, email Chrisb@jfssd.org

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