Volunteering with the Refugee Resettlement Program

Thank you for your interest in the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program (CCRRP) and our volunteer opportunities!

Volunteers are essential in welcoming the newcomer; putting a human face on the United States and helping the refugees connect with the community. Newcomers become self-sufficient more readily due to a unified volunteer, staff and client resettlement plan.

Committing to Volunteeringhands

Volunteers often serve as a “lifeline” for refugees, orienting them to a new community, helping them with advocacy, tutoring them in English and providing friendship. The most important gift you can give is kindness and a warm welcome. Depending on the type of volunteering that you chose to do, we may ask for up to a three month commitment.

Volunteer Rolechild lap

In keeping with the Program’s mission, and with both compassion and empowerment, volunteers are committed to addressing the legitimate initial resettlement and adjustment needs of those refugees entrusted by the Program to their care. Please review the entire Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Volunteer Handbook and list of services provided to clients as to avoid replication of assistance and for more specific information on volunteer policies and procedures.

*Background Check

All volunteers that have direct contact with refugees much complete a background check. This is only to protect refugees, who are in a very vulnerable time in their lives as they try to adjust and learn about their new community/country.

*VIRTUS Training

Catholic Charities is the social service arm of the Diocese of Winona and therefore we are obligated to fulfill the volunteer requirements deemed necessary by the diocese. The Diocese of Winona requires the participation and completion of the program “Protecting Gods Children” a two and ½ hour training about how to protect vulnerable children and adults for all volunteers.

VIRTUS Link Here

NOTE: All Volunteers Must Complete a Background Check & VIRTUS “Protecting Gods Children” Training unless providing assistance with no direct contact with refugees (i.e. Grocery Shopping Group, etc)

 Volunteer Opportunities/Descriptions

In order to provide the multitude of assistance and to access the many resources refugees need for successful resettlement, we have several different but equally important volunteer positions:teacher

     1).  Family Mentor.  As a family mentor, you will first become involved with a family about a month after arrival. After the family arrives, we would like you to try to spend time with the family about once per week. During this time you may help them practice English, take them to the grocery store, or just chat about life in the U.S. As a Family Mentor we ask that you make a commitment to the family for at least 3 months. In this position, you may find it useful to form a group of 2-3 people, with friends, family or co-workers.

  • Background Check Required
  • VIRTUS Training Required
  • Volunteer Orientation Required

     2).  Grocery Shopping Groups.  All newly arrived refugees are able to access food support 5-10 days after arrival; however, it greatly assists newly arrived refugees the night of arrival and the week that follows to have fresh basic groceries. By assisting in purchasing basic food items to be available the day or night refugee families arrive into the U.S, you are helping not only feed families but creating a sense of “welcome.”

  • No requirements

Click Here for More Information:   Grocery Groups Fliersharing

     3).  English as a Second Language (ESL) Tutors.  As an ESL tutor, you will visit the family (usually in the family’s home) and help them with English lessons. Many of our clients are enrolled in ESL classes and your tutoring will supplement the classes they are already enrolled in. All refugees are enrolled at Hawthorne Education Center (or an equivalent program outside of Rochester) for English training to gain the basic skills and educational materials needed but for some families with young children there can be barriers to attending classes and in home tutoring may be the only option at this time.

  • Background Check Required
  • VIRTUS Training Required
  • Volunteer Orientation Required

     4).  Driving Teachers.   As a driving teacher, you will assist a client in learning how to drive in the U.S. You may begin by helping them study for a permit test. You will help the client practice driving by taking him either in his or her own car or in yours (you may state a preference). Time commitment will be decided on a case by case basis.

  • Background Check Required
  • Volunteer Orientation Required
  • Valid Driver’s License & Care Insurance Required

     5).  Donation Collections.  CCRRP relies on donations of household items to set up the apartments for new refugee arrivals and other funds (such as the refurbished computer/internet fund, shopping cart fund, rental assistance/utility fund) to help refugees become established in a short period of time. Volunteers may organize donation drives for these items in RR donationsorder to meet the needs of families or to stock up CCRRP supplies.

To schedule a pick-up of household items please call our office at 507-287-2087 Ext 23 a week in advance.

Click Here for More Details:

     6).  Special Projects.  CCRRP often engages volunteers in special projects to benefit the program which uses your skills and talents. Please contact us with your ideas for special projects.young girl with donations

Great Ways to Raise Funds for Refugees in Your Community

    • Host a Garage Sale
    • Bake Sales

How to Get Started

Please contact our office at 507-287-2047 or stop by our office at 903 West Center St Suite 220, Rochester, MN 55902 (United Way Building) to pick up a Volunteer Packet.