**Help refugees by purchasing items off of our Amazon Wishlist. Click here!
The urgency is greater now more than ever: the number of displaced people is the highest it’s ever been, and here in New York we are receiving more and more families forced to flee the war in Ukraine, along with conflicts and persecution in numerous other countries around the world. Many of these families arrive lacking essential items like winter clothing, food, and home goods. Our Wishlist allows you to purchase these winter clothes and home goods for our clients directly, along with Visa gift cards, which make a HUGE difference in helping families cover grocery costs in the weeks between their arrival and their approval for public food assistance. Thank you so much for supporting our refugee clients at Commonpoint Queens. Without YOU and your tremendous generosity and support, we could not do the vital work we do for refugees.*
The COVID-19 outbreak has been scary and disruptive. Yet even as we focus on keeping up with the news and making changes to our daily lives, the world’s refugees and asylum seekers still deserve our attention and support. All of our volunteer programs are currently fully remote, and some, which required in-person activities, have been temporarily paused. The volunteer roles you see below are those which are currently active, and for which we on-board quarterly. Please sign up for the next informational session by completing the application below.
In New York City, Long Island and Westchester County, Commonpoint Queens engages volunteers to extend the reach of our resettlement services for recently arrived refugees. We are dedicated to cultivating volunteerism by providing the opportunity for volunteers to share their specialized skills and further our mission to improve the lives of refugees and other humanitarian migrants.
What to know before you volunteer:
- Volunteers must be 18+
- Experience with or knowledge of a foreign language is not required for all opportunities
- Volunteer time commitment will vary depending on volunteer opportunity
- Each volunteer’s schedule and meeting location is unique
- Please note that currently many volunteer opportunities are completely virtual — all Commonpoint Queens volunteers will need to be able to use Zoom, WhatsApp, or Skype, and have a webcam or video call capabilities
- We require a background check for all volunteers working directly with Commonpoint Queens clients. This includes a fee which differs based on where you have lived.
Commonpoint Queens Resettlement and Integration Services Volunteers are:
- Interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the complex lives of refugees and other humanitarian migrants in the NYC Metro area
- Committed to assisting refugees and other humanitarian migrants to become integrated and self-sufficient in their new communities
- Patient, resourceful, flexible, culturally sensitive, and empathetic
- From a wide range of professional and educational backgrounds
Congregation and Interfaith Group Volunteer Opportunities
Commonpoint Queens’ Host Organization Model of Engagement (HOME) Program:
Commonpoint Queens’ HOME Program is a community-based approach to refugee resettlement, in which a local organization (often a Jewish congregation, interfaith coalition or any other group of interested community members) commits to providing the human and financial resources to support a particular refugee family or individual during the first 6 to 12 months they are living in New York. Our model of “community sponsorship,” is collaborative, and includes a partnership between professional refugee resettlement service providers and volunteer groups called “host organizations.” Commonpoint Queens’ partnership with host organizations was first developed through HIAS, in response to an outpouring of support for refugees by Jewish congregations in Westchester County and New York City. This model builds on HIAS’ extensive experience in resettlement and integration, as well as connections with a deeply engaged volunteer network. Host organizations assume the responsibility to welcome newly arrived refugees and SIVs the way a family member would do so. To do so, host organizations support the basic needs of refugee or SIV individuals/families, as well as help facilitate integration and self-sufficiency.
In general, host organizations commit to the following:
- Time commitment of 6-12 months
- Varying levels of service commitment (based on capacity)
- Support with initial resettlement core services (during the first 90 days following a refugee’s arrival)
- Financial commitment (depending on client situation, between $15,000-$40,000)
- ‘Core’ group under 10 people
- 1-2 point people to organize
- Must have at least 10 volunteers overall (most groups have more)
If you are interested in applying to become a host organization with Commonpoint Queens, please email us at resettlement@
Interpretation and Translation Opportunities
Volunteer Interpreters and Translators
Volunteer Interpreters and Translators assist with remote interpretation and translation needs to provide ongoing support to refugees and other humanitarian migrants. Under the direction of Commonpoint Queens staff, the primary responsibility of the interpreter/translator volunteer is to facilitate accurate, culturally competent, and sensitive communication between non-English speaking clients and Commonpoint Queens staff. All Commonpoint Queens interpreters and translators are required to undergo our Volunteer Interpreter/Translator training once accepted.
This role directly impacts the lives, resettlement and legal processes of our clients as they navigate the U.S. refugee resettlement and integration process.
*Translators and interpreters spend, on average, two hours per week volunteering their time and language expertise to resettlement clients in person, over the phone or through remote written translation.
*Languages needed: Russian, Ukrainian, Dari, Pashto, Farsi, Burmese, Arabic, French, and Spanish.
Mentorship Volunteer Opportunities
ENL (English as a New Language) Tutor
ENL Tutors are matched with individuals or groups of refugees and other humanitarian migrants with varying levels of English. Students may have little to no English language skills, or may have greater conversational abilities. Through weekly sessions, concentrating on each client’s specific and unique goals, ENL tutors help refugees communicate with their neighbors, employers and service providers. This program is critical for Commonpoint Queens clients’ long-term success. As an ENL tutor, you would create your own engaging lesson plans, or use our tutoring materials to promote learning and cultural sharing. ENL tutors must have prior experience teaching English to non-native English speakers.
*ENL Volunteers meet with their students for two hours per week for a duration of five months.
Career Mentors help refugees and other humanitarian migrants navigate employment in the United States. Finding a job is one of the first and most critical steps for our clients, putting them on the road to financial independence and a future career. In collaboration with Commonpoint Queens Economic Inclusion staff, Career Mentors may assist refugees and other humanitarian migrants by:
- Reviewing or creating a resume
- Preparing a cover letter
- Conducting mock interviews
- Finding job opportunities via websites such as Indeed.com, Idealist.org, and LinkedIn
- Submitting online job applications
Professionals from diverse backgrounds are essential to help guide refugees to find an entry-level job, re-enter former professions, and upgrade current employment!
*Career Mentors meet with their students for two hours per week for a duration of five months.
To contact Commonpoint Queens’ Resettlement & Integration Services, please email [email protected] or call 929-607-3737.