Becoming an RHR Volunteer
RHR volunteers value reciprocity, proactivity, reliability, and empowerment.
Refugees Helping Refugees is a largely volunteer-run organization. Because RHR is a nonprofit and receives limited funding from grants for operational and programming costs, the organization is able to offer few, if any, paid positions. This makes the need for proactive, empowered, and passionate volunteers essential to our survival.
This unorthodox method of infrastructure, while cost-effective, also ensures that those who volunteer at RHR are passionate about working with refugees. Our volunteers are reliable and innovative, and seek to make a positive difference in the refugee and Rochester community.
RHR is currently open Monday through Friday 9AM to 4:00PM and follows the RCSD school break schedule. Visit our Program Calendar to check upcoming dates and availability.
Do you speak another language in addition to English, such as Somali, Arabic, Nepali, Karen, Tigrinya, or Vietnamese?
Ask about becoming an interpreter for our programs or case management appointments.
Are you interested in teaching a skill or speaking about a service you have connection with?
Ask about participating in our Speakers Bureau. RHR invites speakers to present on health, education, social services, and even history for students as they settle into Rochester. Popular topics have been smoking cessation, emergency service resources, and how to get involved in your child’s education.
Do you want to teach in the Sewing Program?
Ask about becoming a teacher in our Sewing Program. This program provides vocational training for refugee students through RochesterWorks! This includes sewing classes, in which volunteers teach students sewing skills on our machines.
Do you have a car?
Ask about Donations Pickup (could include clothing, computer equipment, and more).
Do you want to volunteer as a group, school or other organization?
Ask about doing a donations drive (collect donations and organize drives for food, clothing, and more on a needs basis).
Do you want to share your computer skills?
Ask about teaching in the Computer Literacy Program. Volunteers teach beginner and intermediate computer skills. These can include word processing, typing, formatting, internet browsing, learning to write resumes and cover letters, as well as to search and apply for jobs.
Do you want to promote a healthy lifestyle?
Ask about the Healthy Living Program. Volunteers lead students in exercise, and teach about nutrition and health in this fun class!
Do you want to befriend a refugee family or individual in the community?
As about joining our Caring Circle! This program matches Rochester residents with refugees in a partnership of cultural exchange and support. Caring Circle volunteers engage in activities that promote refugee self-sufficiency and independence. They work weekly with a refugee family or individual to help them make the most of Rochester and integrate into the community. Volunteer hours are flexible and activities can include:
- Transportation (to job interviews/doctor’s appointments/etc)
- Help with paperwork (reading mail/interpreting bills/school enrollment/advocacy in school settings/etc)
- Teaching (American culture/English/cleaning using Western-style appliances/etc)
- Healthcare (interpreting healthcare paperwork/finding specialists/advocacy/etc)
- Financial literacy