At Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees, our volunteers very often save the day! Given the nature of refugee resettlement work, our office can experience extremely busy times, and our volunteers really help our team get through those busy weeks.
You, your congregation, friends or community organization can help by sponsoring an individual or family. Sponsors create a hospitable environment for refugees and provide for material needs upon their arrival to the United States. Volunteers also help refugees find affordable housing, greet refugees at the airport, help with transportation, be a friend in time of need, and assist with other tasks necessary to a new life.
Many of the volunteer opportunities with SOAR require extreme flexibility. Working with newly arrived refugees means understanding that while communication is very important, it is not always easy. Additionally, opportunities may come up with very short notice.
little or no direct client contact
(no direct contact, remote position, hours vary)
Volunteer will be added to email list to assist in donating or to seek donors who can provide needed items for refugee families. Volunteers will work remotely to locate donations through personal, professional or online channels.
(no direct contact, remote position, hours vary)
These volunteers will be added to an email list to assist case managers in find apartment listings and budget-friendly housing situations. Can also include networking with property managements to advocate future affordable housing options for incoming clients.
Donation Drop-Off /Pick-Up
(some direct contact, on call, hours vary)
Volunteers will assist staff in picking up donated items (including large furniture) and deliver donated household items, furniture, and small appliances to our clients' homes. Volunteers with trucks or vans who are willing to transport furniture and other smaller items are welcome to offer this service.
Direct Client Contact, Low Commitment
(schedule varies between 1 to 5 hours weekdays on an on-call basis)
Our clients have many appointments to go to in their first couple of weeks here in Portland. The four major appointments are at to DHS, Social Security, IRCO, or MidCounty Clinic. This volunteer opportunity will most often require a car; however, in some cases using public transit with our clients can be much easier and a great way to introduce them to the process. Volunteers will be asked to pick up the client at their home, take them to their appointment, and most of the time wait for them to finish and take them home.
Transportation: Airport Pick-up
(schedule varies between 1 to 2 hours weekdays and late evenings on an on-call basis)
Volunteers pick up clients from the airport when they first arrive in Portland. Arrivals are often late in the evenings on weekdays. It is helpful for these volunteers to have large vehicles that can accommodate multiple people and a large amount of luggage.
(approximately 3 hour shift, primarily weekdays and evenings on an on-call basis, schedule varies)
Volunteers assist in setting up furniture and other household items in apartments for clients resettling or transitioning. May require heavy lifting. Volunteers with trucks or vans who are willing to transport furniture are welcome to offer this service.
(between 1 to 2 hour shifts, primarily weekdays on an on-call basis, schedule varies)
If you have fluency in any of these languages listed below, we could use your volunteer services to assist clients with translation during appointments. These are generally medical appointments, social service appointments and cultural orientation. Most needed languages: Persian, Farsi, Dari, Pashto, Russian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Burmese (especially Rohingya dialect), Arabic, Swahili and French.
Direct Client Contact, High Commitment
(approximately 2 or more hours a week, depending on client needs)
Volunteers are matched up with a client who has requested extra help with English. The first meeting will be arranged through SOAR. After the first meeting, it is up to the volunteer to communicate with the client for further tutoring sessions. This position is best for someone with previous or current ESL or teaching experience that can design their own curriculum for the client, as SOAR has limited resources and curriculum. This position will include working with adult learners. It may also include homework assistance, employment and resume preparation, and teaching clients how to make appointments and fill out online forms.
(opportunities are rare and vary on clients needs; generally, a commitment of several weeks to months is required)
Most of SOAR's resettlement cases focus on family reunification, meaning our clients already have relatives and a community support system to help with housing. However, occasionally there are clients who arrive with no community support and could benefit from a host family while they save money for an apartment of their own. This is a commitment will require additional trainings for the volunteer to familiarize themselves with the culture of the family.