Thank you for your interest in volunteering with CRIS! The gift of your time will go a long way in welcoming our New American neighbors. Please note that all of our sustained volunteer opportunities require daytime availability Monday-Friday. For questions, please call 614-254-4493. These are the volunteer opportunities we currently have available:
The Community Connectors Mentorship program pairs qualified and motivated mentors who can commit for one calendar year with middle/high school-aged refugee students as they learn the English language, attend school, and learn to adjust to life in Central Ohio. Mentors support our mission to empower refugees and immigrants through encouragement, education, and support as refugees and immigrants become connected with their new communities. Mentors meet with mentees a minimum of one hour per week for an entire calendar year in school, community, and home-based environments. Volunteer must be willing to undergo a background check and commit to one calendar year.
In-Home English Tutor
Become an ESOL tutor or conversation partner to a refugee stay-at-home mother. These sessions are in-home and one-on-one allowing for a much more personal and relationship building volunteer experience. Volunteers are free to develop their own curriculum and can work at the learner’s pace. Varying levels of ESOL teaching materials can be made available to the volunteer upon request. Requirements: volunteer must be willing to undergo a background check and make a 12 week commitment, must have daytime availability.
ESOL classes take place 9-5 Monday through Friday at CRIS. Volunteers are able to give individual attention to each student to make their education more personal. Having only one teacher per class makes it difficult to attend to the needs of the students, so volunteers are able to answer any questions a student has to further their learning of the English language. Work includes teaching, creating lesson plans, assisting the teacher with activities, one-on-one conversations with the students, helping students with computer skills, and occasional field trips. Requirements: weekday availability and 12 week commitment.
ESOL Make-Up Sessions Leader
These classes are for students who are making up missed classroom time. The classes are small and more personal. Each student arrives with a note about what lesson they missed, and the class focuses on teaching about the subject. The volunteer is the only one working with the few students and is able to customize the lesson. If the volunteer needs extra guidance, the ESOL teachers will provide homework packets for the students to complete. Computers and smart projectors will be provided. Make-up sessions take place at CRIS 11-12 Monday through Friday. Requirements: 12 week commitment and daytime availability.
After 5 years in the United States, refugees are eligible to receive citizenship upon successful completion of their US Citizenship Test. In-home classes with older adult learners are offered through our Citizenship Program. Each class is about 4-6 people in the home of one client, and focuses on studying for and passing the citizenship test. Requirements: 6 month commitment, willingness to undergo a background check, and daytime availability.
Welcome Team – Currently at capacity for volunteers in this program
Welcome Teams are a new model for “Sponsorship”. A Welcome Team is a group of 6-12 people that -partner with CRIS to assist newly-arrived refugees in the process of learning about their new community. By becoming a Welcome Team, your faith, civic, or educational group can act as guides, friends, and advocates to those newly-arrived in the U.S. A team makes a 90 day commitment to a family. Requirements: All members must undergo background checks, training, and orientation alongside CRIS. Please fill out the specific Welcome Team Application listed at the end of this page.
With the continual influx of new refugees into central Ohio, it can be difficult for our handful of caseworkers to continue providing transportation assistance to refugees once they arrive. Volunteers can help drive refugees to medical, dental and other necessary appointments. A list of appointments will be sent to you weekly, and you can commit to appointments according to your person availability. Requirements: Background check, access to a car, valid driver’s license and auto insurance, clean driving record, 12 week commitment and daytime availability.
Contribute to the daily ins and outs of our resettlement offices. Assist with various office-related tasks such as completing routine forms for clients, filing and organizing paperwork, and helping in the reception area as needed. Requirements: Background check , 12 week commitment and daytime availability.
Volunteer interpret for a number of different program services including orientations, scheduling appointments, and other CRIS-related activities as needed. Most needed languages include Somali, Nepali, Arabic, Farsi, Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Mai Mai, Tigrinya, Oromo. If you speak a second language fluently that is not listed here, please apply and we will be in touch as needs arise.
Grocery Gram – Currently Unavailable
Sign up to delivery one week worth of groceries to a newly-arrived refugee family in Columbus. Grocery Gram’s provide immediate food assistance to new arrivals and is one way to offer a warm welcome to an individual or family. CRIS will match you with an arriving family within the month you select and schedule a delivery time to our office. Requirements: ability to purchase groceries for an individual or family with minimum one week notice.
If any of these opportunities interest you, please complete the appropriate form below. Please note that only Welcome Teams and Grocery Grams have a separate application, all other opportunities fall under our general Volunteer Application: