Volunteer with Us

Your support makes a world of difference for refugees rebuilding their lives in Chicago.

Individual Roles

Adult Mentor

Support an adult refugee (25+) as they build a life in Chicago. Practice English and navigate city life – building a friendship along the way. Flexible schedule according to mentee availability. Must commit to weekly meetings in the mentee’s home for 6 months.

Young Adult Mentor

Be a friend and role model for a young adult (15-24), helping them work toward education and career goals. Attend workshops and social events with your mentee. Goal framework provided. Must commit to weekly meetings in the mentee’s home for 6 months.

Youth Tutor

Be a friend and role model for a school-aged youth (5-14). Offer academic tutoring, English practice, and social and emotional support as they navigate life and school in Chicago. Must commit to weekly meetings in the student’s home for 6 months.

After-School Program

Help with homework and facilitate activities for school-aged youth alongside RefugeeOne staff. Must commit to at least one afternoon per week (4:00-6:30 p.m. Mon-Fri on CPS school days) for at least a semester term (Jan-Jun/Sep-Dec).

Dental Clinic Volunteer

The RefugeeOne Dental Clinic relies on dentists and dental professionals to provide pro bono services at our in-office clinic. Email volunteer@refugeeone.org with subject “Dental Clinic Volunteer” to learn more and get signed up.

Short-Term Opportunities

Occasionally we have one-off opportunities, like helping sort donations, setting up apartments, or administrative support. If a long-term commitment doesn’t work for you, reach out and we’ll see if there are other ways to get involved!

Steps to becoming a RefugeeOne volunteer:

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1. Fill out an application

Once you submit, look for a confirmation email to sign up for a virtual orientation.

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2. Attend orientation

You’ll learn more about RefugeeOne, available roles, and best practices.

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3. Submit release forms

Sign required forms and submit a background check via the link we provide you.

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4. Wait for a match

Depending on your preferences and scheduling, it can take 3-6 weeks.

Group Volunteer Opportunities

Co-Sponsorship

Organize a team to welcome a newly arriving refugee family. You’ll fundraise, furnish an apartment RefugeeOne finds, and mentor a family for 6 months as they adjust to life in Chicago.

Apartment Set Up

Collect everything on our provided apartment list, then be ready to move on short notice! RefugeeOne will find the apartment, your team will clean it, move items in, and help stock culturally appropriate groceries.

Email cosponsor@refugeeone.org
with subject “Apartment Furnishing Team.”

Special Collections

Organize your neighbors, faith community, or work place to collect household goods needed in bulk to furnish newly arriving refugees’ apartments.

Coordinate with us first at donatestuff@refugeeone.org to get a list of current needs and schedule a drop off!

FAQs

Who is eligible to volunteer?

RefugeeOne volunteers must be 18+, complete RefugeeOne orientation and training, clear a background check, sign confidentiality and consent forms, and be based in Chicagoland with the ability to travel regularly to neighborhoods on the far north side (Rogers Park, West Ridge, etc.).

Do volunteers need any special language skills?

No language skills besides English are required. If you have specific language skills or cultural experience, we’ll consider that in matching you with a refugee partner. Beyond that, matches are made by need, not preference. You might be matched from someone from Afghanistan, DR Congo, Burma, Syria, or elsewhere! Some volunteers will work with newcomers, others will be matched with refugees who have been here longer.

Can I volunteer to fulfill a service hour requirement?

Volunteers may use their hours with RefugeeOne to fulfill a service, school, or community-based requirement, but must still meet all of RefugeeOne’s volunteer expectations, including minimum time commitment.

Can my children volunteer with me?

Our volunteer roles are not suitable for minors on their own, but your kids may join you as long as your refugee partner is comfortable with it and you’re still able to fulfill your commitment.

Questions? Email volunteer@refugeeone.org