Serve in the Chicago Area
Refugees need to know they are not alone! A volunteer can make a profound difference in the life of a refugee.
Volunteers provide needed supplies to turn empty apartments into livable homes for newly arriving refugees. They serve refugees in many ways, like practicing English and introducing them to their new community. But most of all, volunteers help ease the loneliness and isolation experienced by so many refugees.
Here’s how you can serve refugees in Chicagoland.
Welcome to America! Pack
Provide a warm welcome for refugees when they arrive to be resettled in Chicago. Turn an empty apartment into a home by collecting and delivering all of the basic household items needed for the bedroom, bath and kitchen in addition to a first month’s supply of food staples. You’ll meet a refugee individual or family on the day they arrive in the U.S., often with only a few possessions, and personally welcome them with the essential supplies they need.
Refugee individuals and families continue to have needs beyond their initial three months of resettlement assistance. You can encourage them by providing a Care Pack, an assortment of needed household items and a personal visit that shows love and hospitality to our refugee neighbors.
These opportunities are great for families, small groups, youth programs and entire church congregations. Please note, Welcome to America! Packs are delivered only to refugees arriving in the City of Chicago (typically Rogers Park and West Ridge neighborhoods). Care Packs are delivered to refugees living in DuPage County or Cook County.
Visit a newly arrived refugee family in Chicago once a week for three months. This is a tangible, hands-on way to welcome the “stranger” in our midst. Volunteers and refugees have the opportunity to build bridges of understanding, cross-cultural learning, and friendship. Volunteers answer basic questions about life in the U.S., help refugees practice their English and introduce them to their community. Volunteers are provided with Cross-Cultural and Refugee Issues Training.
New Neighbor Conversations
This program connects refugees with native English speakers to improve refugees’ conversational English and to build relationships in the process. Volunteers commit to a three month conversation partnership with a refugee living in Chicago or DuPage County. Refugees and conversation partners meet once a week in the comfort of the refugee’s home at a mutually agreed upon time. Volunteers are provided Cross-Cultural and Refugee Issues Training and online Resource Site.
New Neighbor Citizenship
Refugees are eligible to apply for citizenship after residing in the U.S. for five years. Volunteers commit to meeting with a refugee once per week for three months in order to help them learn about American history and civics in preparation of the citizenship exam.
Activities and Events
Between the variety of needs of refugees and the gift of volunteers, there are many other ways to walk alongside refugees. Work with an Exodus representative to create a custom service opportunity, event or activity for your group.