JFCS East Bay’s newcomer refugee clients come from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, the former Soviet Union, and many other countries. All have left their countries after experiencing persecution or violence and are starting life anew in the United States.
Volunteers who work directly with refugee clients typically go to the client’s house once a week to provide support and information. For many new refugees, this becomes their first U.S. friendship with someone outside their community. Many of the connections made when we match volunteers with refugees become deep and long-lasting relationships that are equally meaningful to both parties.
When matched with a refugee, volunteers provide a range of assistance, including:
- Helping with English conversation skills.
- Helping clients learn how to use the public transportation system.
- Helping develop life skills, such as how to read PG&E and telephone bills, how to fill out simple applications, and how to use the banking system.
- Providing friendship and support.
- Providing guidance in looking for a job and preparing for interviews.
- Teaching about shopping, especially on a budget.
- Tutoring refugee children and helping with homework.