March 1, 2012
The IRC guides refugees through their resettlement transition with tremendous care, support and empowers these people to rebuild their lives. I first volunteered as an American Friend in Phoenix, Arizona and was assigned to a Somali family just arriving to embark on their new life in the U.S. Their journey was heartbreaking, but their resiliency was inspiring. My volunteer efforts with the Farrah family ranged from coordinating appointments, communicating with school administrators, helping their children with homework and ESL studies, assisting Mr. Farrah in his job seeking efforts, teaching them to make change while shopping for groceries and learn how to use public transportation. Our visits were often spent tackling the myriad of challenges a complete language and cultural barrier presented for this family. It was an enriching experience to bare witness to their progress and to see how much the IRC focuses on ultimately providing the tools for them to thrive. The long term relationship the organization has with the refugees makes evident their true dedication to the refugee cause. I was impressed by the hard working and genuine staff I interacted with. It was easy to see the powerful impact that the IRC has on my community, which is why I chose to involve my employer with additional volunteer efforts. We held a financial literacy workshop for a group of refugees from Myanmar. We taught them how to plan household budgets and other financial basics. I can't speak highly enough about my experiences with the IRC, it's staff and the grateful people they service. My experiences were meaningful in so many ways and I believe wholeheartedly the IRC is doing work that is changing the world.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
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