Community Sponsorship (CS) Program

Community Sponsorship is a way to “welcome the stranger” through actions; by walking beside a refugee family from the moment they arrive through their first 6 months in the U.S.

Community sponsor volunteer groups, in partnership with Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement, take an active role in assisting a refugee family in learning how to accomplish daily tasks while empowering them to move forward on their own.

Who can be a sponsor?

Any organization, parish, congregation, or social group.

What help would we provide?

These are tasks newly-arrived refugees greatly benefit from having someone who can walking alongside them.

Creating a Home

  • Collect household items and furnishings for their new space.
    Items may be gently used. A list of recommended items can be provided.
  • Assist with move-in and set-up of their home.
  • Collect seasonal clothing for family members.


  • Help transportation to and from appointments and show where to go for important services like the pharmacy, etc.
  • Help adults meet their employment counselor (usually 1-2 meetings).

Teach a New Skill

  • Teach the family basic budget skills.
  • Take the family grocery shopping.
  • Teach how to sort through mail and determine what are bills and important letters.
  • Teach how to pay a bill.
  • Guide them on how to open a bank account and learn the banking system.
  • Help them learn how and when to call 911, how to write their address and phone number, etc.
  • Teach them basic English vocabulary.

Have Fun!

  • Show the family a park near their home.
  • Take them to the library.
  • Take them bowling, sledding, etc.
  • Show them all the fun affordable places they can go in their new community.

How do we get started?

We recommend assembling a group of 5 of more people, with one team leader.

Plan for a 6-month commitment. Refugee families will need more assistance at the beginning and less as time goes on and self-sufficiency forms.

Remember, a Catholic Charities Community Sponsorship Program Manager will be with you from start to finish providing training, materials, and guidance as you help teach and guide the refugee family in their new community.

We are in! What does Catholic Charities need from us?

Before being paired with a family:

1. Contact the Community Sponsorship Program Manager Kristina Hammell to request volunteer forms listed below. Kristina Hammell – or 507-721-9204

2. Please provided the following for all group members:

  • Group Member Basic Information Form
  • Volunteer Code of Conduct
  • Background Check ($8 per person)
  • VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children online training, or equivalent youth protection training, and provide proof of completion

3. Catholic Charities will schedule a training/educational meeting with volunteers so you are ready to be paired with a family.

During the 6 month period:

  1. Keep a log of volunteer hours and family interactions.
  2. Communicate these interactions with Catholic Charities on a weekly basis.
  3. Provide accompaniment and connection with the family!

Interested in becoming a Community Sponsor?

We are happy to present to interested groups or attend gatherings to answer any questions that groups
considering becoming community sponsors may have!

For more information, contact:
Kristina Hammell
Community Sponsorship Program Manager
Rochester Regional Office or 507-721-9204