Our volunteers choose to make a difference in the lives of refugees in our community every day. The volunteer program was created to better meet the needs of our clients and improve the quality of living and education as they acclimate themselves to the United States.
By volunteering, you are adding to the lives of beautiful people and becoming part of their new family here in America. At the same time, volunteers gain knowledge and experience with other cultures. You will become a valuable member of the team and community. You will also be making a significant contribution to the state and national efforts to improve the skills of under-educated adults.
Volunteers work directly under the supervision of the AmeriCorps ACCESS Volunteer Coordinator. There are several ways volunteers can help:
Collect Furnishings or Be a House Sponsor
We need volunteers to help locate and donate items that refugee families might need during their first few months in the United States. These include apartment furnishings, toiletries, cooking/kitchen supplies, and cleaning supplies.
Volunteers can also serve as House Sponsors. A House Sponsor helps with preparing the housing accommodation and setting up the apartment/house prior to the family’s arrival. House Sponsors are also more than welcome to help provide furnishings and supplies for the family if they wish.
Be a Refugee Family’s “First Friend”
As the name indicates volunteers can become refugee family’s first acquaintance in the United States. North Carolina African Services Coalition is preparing to receive close to 250 refugees throughout this year. The refugees might have friends or family members who are already resettled in this country but you will be the “first friend” they make in their new home.
Volunteers meet with the family frequently to help the family get acquainted and be familiar with American culture. This activity requires a commitment-a commitment to be consistent and be available to help whenever the need arises. Such a link will help develop a reciprocal relationship. You will have an opportunity to learn a new culture while teaching the family the culture of this country.
When refugees arrive, they usually come with just the clothes on their back and will need help with most basic items that we often take for granted. This includes clothing. Can you collect clean, “gently-used” clothes for new families? Coats and winter apparel are especially needed, as are suits and shirts that will come in handy when the new refugee goes for job interview.
We are going to set up a CLOTHES CLOSET where families can come and pick out what they need on a regular basis. NCASC will run the Clothes Closet, but we will need volunteers to collect and donate clothes and shoes, as well as any other important seasonal attire (boots, gloves, hats, scarves).
Employment, Language, or US Culture Mentor
All refugees receive orientation and are able to contact NCASC with any questions. However, they also need community support to help them navigate around. Can you help walk a refugee through the process of finding a job? Can you practice job interview questions with him/her? Can you practice English with him/her a few hours a week? Can you be the person who might be there to answer a question about some basic “American” folkways and institutions: How do you use the bank? Who could babysit my child? Where can I find cheap and healthy food? When should I call the police? Do parents talk to teachers at my child’s school? Etc. Volunteers can assist families address and master these issues.
Transportation Help for Refugees
Part of our agency’s service to refugees is to set up appointments for various services. These appointments include ESL classes, establishing Social Security, health screenings, employment counseling and interviews, and school enrollment for the children.
We need volunteers to help provide transportation for refugee family members to and from appointments throughout the first 30 days after their arrival in the US. NCASC case managers will orient refugees with the local public transportation (buses, taxis, etc.) system, but extra help in doing this is always needed.
Most refugees do not speak or can only speak little English. One major service provided to refugees is enrolling them in ESL classes. Until they learn to speak English, they need interpreters to help them navigate the whole system.
Thank you for considering a commitment to assist others. Hopefully, your experience will be as rewarding for you as the lives you will touch and you will encourage others to join us in helping refugees achieve their dreams.
Our volunteers come from various educational and professional backgrounds. All new volunteers are required to attend an orientation/ initial training session. At that time, the volunteer receives information needed to begin serving the refugees. During the orientation and initial training, new volunteers will explore techniques for helping English learners, guidelines, expectations, responsibilities, standards of behavior, and tips about working with refugees. It is important to be constant for the development of our clients, thus initial time commitment expectations will be developed at this training.
Interested in applying to be a volunteer with African Services Coalition? Complete the application and we will review how your skills, interests, and availability best support our work with the refugee community. All prospective volunteers must complete an application.
Ways You Can Help
Refugees and immigrants face daily challenges as they reestablish their lives. NCASC’s programs assist newcomers by giving them hope for their future, and helping them become self-sufficient, productive members of their communities.
A co-sponsorship is the commitment of community supporters to partner with NCASC in serving specific families for up to six months after arrival to the US. The co-sponsorship model was designed to connect new arrivals with community support teams.
BECOME AN INTERN
African Services Coalition offers a variety of internship opportunities to college students, recent graduates, and community members. Whether your interest is computer science or political science there might be a need for you here with NCASC’s internship program.
BE A VOLUNTEER
At NCASC, we are looking for a committed individual to be part of our family as we strive to make a difference in the lives of families that are adjusting to a new life in Greensboro area.