Thank you for your interest in the Hyde Park Refugee Project. In these tumultuous times, it has been heartening to witness the outpouring of support for the most vulnerable among us. It’s that spirit of goodwill and community that so many of us cherish about Hyde Park.
Below are some things you can do to support the mission of the Hyde Park Refugee Project.
(Note, due to personal demands of our volunteer leadership during the coronavirus crisis, new volunteer applications will be processed in the fall of 2020.)
Work with Families
If you are interested in working directly with members of the families who resettled in the Hyde Park area, you can volunteer in one of the following capacities (background check required).
Family mentors help the family learn about and adjust to the routines of daily life in the US and Chicago. The mentors help the family complete tasks such as going over the mail, paying utility bills, scheduling appointments, communicating with children’s schools, finding inexpensive stores for household needs, and other similar, seemingly mundane but absolutely essential routine activities.
- Mentors meet with families two-three times per month (or as needed), usually at the family home.
- Mentors sometimes accompany members of families to appointments
- Mentors sometimes plan social and cultural activities with the families.
- Being a mentor is a long-term commitment—9-12 months
ESL (English as a Second Language) Tutors – Adults
As an ESL tutor you will meet your assigned learners once a week at the family home to teach and practice all aspects of communication in English—conversation, reading and writing.
Tutors — Children
Tutors working with children, meet the child at the family home once a week to help the child with homework, talking and playing in English.
- One hour once a week at the family home
- Prior experience in ESL not necessary
- Free ESL tutor training is available through Literacy Works Chicago
- Tutors are connected online and regularly share resources and help each other with ideas and problem solving.
Help English Learners at local public schools with homework and all aspects of communication and learning in English.
- Tutors work with students for 1 to 2 hours once a week during ESL class
- Tutors assist the ESL Teacher and help any of the students in the classroom who require help
Provide childcare to toddlers and young children while their mothers are participating in an English class.
- This volunteer position is appropriate adults, including parents of young children
- Bring your little one once a week for a 2-hour play group
- Use toys and supplies in the play room to facilitate play and activities with all children.
Special Issues Mentors
Use your expertise and experience to provide occasional assistance as needed to refugee family members in the following areas:
- Employment—helping adults of the families who want to work outside the home find and keep good jobs.
- Healthcare—helping families navigate the healthcare system when the need arises.
- Education and/or special education—helping families engage with the children’s schools and address special education needs when necessary.
- Legal/immigration process—assist the families with legal questions if they arise, especially as they go through the immigration process.
Be a part of an on-call pool of interpreters, who help the families during official meetings and other occasions. Currently required languages: Arabic-English, Swahili-English
If you wish to sign up as a volunteer as we prepare for a new family, welcome new tutors, and participate in upcoming projects planned for this fall and winter, please click here to complete the volunteer application and we will be in touch with you soon.
Join Our Leadership Team
- Volunteer to help with organizational tasks and logistics.
- Coordinate donations—Community members offer donations. Find out if the items are needed and if yes, coordinate delivery to the families. Recruit owners of mini-vans to help with the occasional pickup and delivery of donated items.
- Administrative assistance—Help with email/mail campaigns, public relations, outreach, phone updates, and other office tasks
- Special project coordinator—As part of the Hyde Park Refuge Program leadership working group develop and implement specialized programs to promote socialization, cultural exchange, and leisure exploration for refuge families in and around the Hyde Park community.
- Event coordination and Fundraising—Help plan and implement events for volunteers, families and the community.
If you wish to help support Hyde Park refugee families and ongoing Refugee Project activities with a donation, please click here.
Spread the Word
Please consider sharing information about the Hyde Park Refugee Project with the members of your network and invite them to contribute. No gift is too small!