Interfaith Ministries takes great pride in serving the diverse refugee community in the Greater Houston area. We have a number of volunteer opportunities directed at helping to welcome and resettle newly arrived refugee families and individuals.
- Family Mentor: Volunteers are assigned to a refugee family or client with the purpose of serving as cultural mentors. The number of volunteers assigned to a family may vary depending on size and circumstance. Activities may include exploring the city, practicing English, and teaching clients about public transportation – anything that involves sharing local culture and customs as clients acclimate to their new lives in Houston. Time commitment: 1-2 hours every week or every other week for approximately 6 months.
- Employment Mentor: Volunteers will work with a specific client to assist with resume writing, practicing interview techniques, discussing US culture, helping fill out and submit job applications, and if available, transporting the client to and from the job interviews. Time commitment: 2-3 hours weekly or bi-weekly, until the client is hired.
- Case Management: Volunteers assist with the ongoing needs of refugee clients & caseworkers – airport pick-ups, school registrations, transportation to and from DPS and Social Security offices and other assignments as needed. Volunteer opportunities often occur on short notice. Time commitment: requires schedule flexibility as many of the activities where help is needed the most occur during business hours.
- Medical Case Management: Volunteers work closely with medical case managers to assist clients regularly attending health-related appointments. Activities may include transporting the client to and from appointments, accompany clients during clinic visits, translating, demonstrating how to fill a prescription at a nearby pharmacy, etc. A medical, health or social work background is an asset for this position. Proficiency in relevant languages (Arabic, Farsi/Pashto, and Swahili) is especially advantageous for this position. Time commitment: requires schedule flexibility as many of the activities where help is needed the most occur during business hours.
- Special Events/ Projects: Volunteers assist Refugee Services staff with special events and projects throughout the year. Some of the events include the annual scholarship luncheon, Women’s Group, our annual fundraising luncheon, storage unit clean up, etc. Time commitment: some events and projects take place during the day and some after work hours or on weekend.
- Translators: Volunteers assist clients, caseworkers or other volunteers and community members with translation either in person or by phone. Language needs are diverse but we have recently utilized Arabic and Swahili translators. Time commitment: depends on the need, during the regular business hours as well as events and weekends.
Do I need any special skills or training for these opportunities?
You may think that you need to speak multiple languages or have previous experience to be a volunteer in Refugee Services. This is not the case at all! We just ask that volunteers are patient, flexible, and reliable. In fact, we prefer to partner refugees with volunteers who do not speak their native language in order for refugees to practice English.
Where do you need volunteers?
Most of our refugees are resettled in the Southwest area of Houston, a global community that is also convenient for our Refugee Case Managers to travel to. Since most of our refugees do not have vehicles, our volunteer opportunities are limited to the refugee’s residence or our IM headquarters located at 3303 Main Street Houston, Texas 77002.
When do you need volunteers?
Since most of our Refugee Services volunteer opportunities involve working one-on-one with the client(s), volunteer shifts may vary. Many of our Refugees who have found work will need to meet in the evenings or weekends, while some may be available during the day.
Is this opportunity Family Friendly?
Individual Refugee Services Volunteers must be 21 years of age. Some of our opportunities may be appropriate for a family to participate in. Because our Refugee Services volunteer opportunities are not for everyone, individual interviews are scheduled prior to training and volunteer placement.
For info, contact Elena at firstname.lastname@example.org.