Two hours a day, four days a week, refugees receive academic tutoring and acculturation support from trained volunteer tutors. Volunteers are recruited from many walks of life but the majority are students at local colleges and universities. Working with refugee children is an excellent way to gain real-world teaching experience. In addition to free ESOL and cultural sensitivity training, RYP volunteers develop classroom management and creative problem-solving skills. Volunteers also benefit from a team-oriented atmosphere as they experience new cultures and different perspectives.
“It is just so easy in America to shrug off depressing news reports and go about your life. But while I was volunteering for RYP, I was laughing and playing with these precious children from war-torn countries. And, I began to slowly realize that as humans, we are all connected. The horrors taking place on another continent should matter to us.”
–Monica, Loyola College CCSJ volunteer
“RYP prepares young refugees not only to live in the Baltimore City area, but anywhere in the U.S. They learn lessons and values to help them grow and adapt to any environment as sound human beings.”
–Saran, Towson University student volunteer
“I really got to know the students and was able to form relationships that allowed them to feel comfortable opening up about their stories. I have done lots of volunteer work in the past but truly this has been the most rewarding!”
-Melinda Martino, Loyola College Volunteer
“Volunteering at RYP gave me incredible experience in several ways. Working directly with the kids and conducting interviews [about refugee students’ and parents’ impressions of the education system in Baltimore for a project with RYP] contributed greatly to my eventual pursuit of a career in international development, within the field of education. I now am developing and implementing an education program for unaccompanied refugee teenagers in Egypt, and I have RYP in large part to thank for propelling me on my journey here!”
Please visit our Sites page to learn more about the locations where RYP needs the most volunteers.
Opportunities to Mentor
Many youth live outside of the area where the Refugee Youth Project hosts its after-school programming or are in need of additional social, emotional, or academic support as they adjust to their new lives here. RYP’s mentoring program matches newly-arrived students in Baltimore City and Baltimore County with caring adults who commit to serving as guides, resources, friends, and teachers to youth for a period of 6 months or more.
Young people benefit from additional English language practice, help with schoolwork, goal setting, exploration of careers and interests, recreational activities, exploring what Baltimore has to offer, and having a trusted supporter.
” I loved working with my mentee family. [The kids] were amazing and their mother is so invested in helping them. I have volunteered a lot throughout my life in a variety of different settings and this was one of my most rewarding experiences. I felt like I really made a difference in this family’s overall adjustment to their new life.”
Additionally, through our partnership with the International Rescue Committee in Baltimore, the Refugee Youth Project also places adult tutors with single or stay-at-home mothers. Many of the clients referred to us are unable to attend English classes due to childcare restraints or have had previous limited formal education.
Tutors maintain weekly contact with these mothers to build a relationship with them and help them practice their English language skills. Tutors also serve as a resource for the mother and their children, acting as a guide to exploring their neighborhoods, discovering American culture, and becoming a self-sufficient family.
How to Apply
Interested volunteers should contact Brittany by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (410-558-3258) to receive an application and additional information. All volunteers must pass a background check prior to working with youth and attend a free mandatory orientation. Mentors must also be interviewed in person regarding their mentoring interests and background to determine a suitable fit.
RYP also accepts school year interns to assist with office work and on-site help. To see our current listings, please visit our listings at idealist.org.