Individual volunteers are vitally important to the work of welcoming refugees. We value our volunteers highly and strive to make matches that are good for volunteers and the refugees we serve. Volunteers are placed throughout the year as we have need with new arrivals.
For information about how to get involved or to RSVP for an orientation please email email@example.com.
If you are already ready to begin, you can start by submitting a Volunteer Application.
Due to greater than usual interest in volunteer and co-sponsorship opportunities you may experience a slight delay before your email or call is returned. Please know that we want to respond and will do so as soon as we are able.
Steps to becoming a volunteer with MCC Refugee Services:
1. Submit a Volunteer Application
2. Attend a Volunteer Orientation at the MCC office, located at 122 Franklin Ave. W., Minneapolis, 55404. Contact the Volunteer and Outreach Specialist at (612) 230-3219 for more information about the next scheduled orientation.
3. Be placed in a volunteer position!
Why volunteer with refugees?
We invite you to watch this introductory video to get a sense of what to expect!
Open Volunteer Positions:
Community Orientation Workshops, a new initiative developed in partnership between Minnesota Council of Churches Refugee Services and the International Institute of Minnesota, provide life skills education for people with humanitarian protection immigrant status and who have been in the U.S. less than five years. Individual workshops cover such topics as transportation and community resources, job readiness, financial literacy, health literacy, education and family adjustment, and are designed to assist adults in their transition to life in the U.S.
Workshops are open to those of all English levels and are conducted by a lead teacher. Professional interpretation is provided as needed. Volunteers will work with individuals or small groups on reinforcement of particular skills or topics as directed by the lead teacher.
Workshops take place in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Coon Rapids. Volunteers choose the site which works best for them.
Bus Mentor: Bus Mentors assist their refugee partner(s) in learning how to navigate the Metro Transit system by helping them understand their bus routes and discussing basics of riding the bus including how to pay fares, how to use transfers, and proper etiquette when on the bus. Bus Mentors also practice riding the bus to their partner(s) home from MCC Refugee Service’s Intensive Cultural Orientation Workshop in order to reinforce his or her partner(s) understanding of the Metro Transit system and empower them to independently ride the bus.
Resettlement Assistant: The Refugee Services Volunteer Assistant has an important role to play in assisting refugees and their case manager in the first few months of their new lives in the United States. Volunteers will work once or twice a week to support the Refugee Services staff complete tasks relating to new arrivals and employment services.
The following volunteer positions are currently CLOSED to new volunteers:
Intensive Community Orientation Instructor: MCC Refugee Service’s ICO Workshops have been designed to ensure clients receive high-quality training and information to empower them to make well-informed decisions and acquire the knowledge and skills needed to attain self-sufficiency in their new communities. MCC Refugee Service’s established ICO curriculum covers the topics of Transportation, Safety, Health, Education, Immigration, Financial Literacy, Renter’s Education, Home Orientation and Job Readiness. Volunteers can serve as classroom or in-home instructors.
Befriender: Befriend a new refugee through weekly meetings over a four month period. Befriender activities will vary depending on the match, and they can include: practice riding the bus, going to the library, practicing English, shopping for groceries, writing job resumes and practicing interview questions.
You will receive regular support through weekly check-ins as you help a new refugee learn about their new community. You will also learn about your friend’s home country and learn to see your home through different eyes. Check out the video below!
Bridging Shopper: When refugees arrive in the Twin Cities they need a safe and furnished home. Volunteers like you play an integral role in providing a comfortable home by shopping the Bridging appointments. Bridging, with locations in Roseville and Bloomington, is the largest furniture bank in the country. We shop donated furniture and household items at Bridging to provide an affordable and comfortable household for refugee families. Each appointment takes about 45 minutes and appointments are scheduled on an as-needed basis.
Employment Intern: We hire Employment Interns periodically. To check with us about current needs, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator. Please view the position description for more details.
To learn more, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612.230.3219. To apply online, click here.