solving problems. uplifting lives.

Volunteer

Support our work in Western Massachusetts! Volunteer support is crucial to our work and the long-term success and wellness of our community.

From appointment accompaniment to English conversation practice, elder visitation, and job mentorship, volunteers play an important role in supporting JFS staff and our clients. We invite you to join our team and experience it for yourself!  Click here for Internship Opportunties.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Refugee Medical Advocate
  • English Language Tutor
  • Digital Literacy Coach
  • Child Minding – Women’s ESL Groups
  • In-Kind Volunteer
  • Refugee Youth Mentor
  • Transportation Support Volunteer
  • Financial Literacy Coach
  • Housing Host

Scroll down to learn more about each of these volunteer opportunities. If you have a volunteer opportunity in mind that’s not on the list please let us know. 

To volunteer with JFS, please fill out the form below. You will be contacted shortly after submitting your application. Due to the recent high number of volunteer applications we have been receiving, there may be a delay in our response time. Thanks you in advance for your patience.

Refugee Medical Advocate

Refugee Medical Advocates work with families who are in need of help with medical representation, scheduling medical appointments, explaining medical cases to providers, and helping these clients to navigate the U.S. healthcare system. Time Commitment: 2 to 6 hours per week

Position Details:

    Position: Refugee Medical Advocate
    Program:
     New American Program
    Hours: 2 to 6 hours per week
    Location: Springfield, Pittsfield

      Responsibilities (General):

      • Accompany clients to medical appointments in order to facilitate cultural understanding
      • Assist with access to language services, and to advocate for client needs with health care providers.  This task may include helping to ensure that clients’ rights to autonomy are respected and personal medical decisions are upheld.
      • Medical advocates also serve as a second set of ears to hear health related information and assist clients with understanding treatment plans, medications, and follow up.
      • Medical advocates help clients to make necessary follow up appointments and to understand the roles of specialty providers
      • Medical advocates will need to have access to reliable transportation.
      • Medical advocates may need to transport clients in their vehicle but in other cases may meet clients at appointments.
      • Time commitment varies based on how many appointments need to be covered.  Volunteers should plan on each appointment lasting 1-3 hours.
      • Volunteers with a background in health science or social services is preferred.

      Medical Advocate Volunteers (Matched Pair):

      • In addition to the general role for volunteer medical advocates, matched pair advocates make an ongoing to commitment to a single client (or family) with consistent need.  For example, pregnant women going to the OB frequently, or someone who has weekly physical therapy. Depending on client needs, the commitment would be could be once or twice a week or a few times a month. 

        English Language Tutor

        ENL (English New Language) tutors are matched with one or more learners to meet virtually to go through online language classes, practice core skills, and learn digital literacy. Click here for our flyer! Time Commitment: 2-3 hours per week–minimum 2 days a week

        Position Details:

          Position: English Language Tutor
          Program:
          ESL Coaching Program, Adult Education, New American Program
          Hours: 2 to 3 hours per week, mininum 2 days a week
          Location:  Virtual online, and/or in-person Springfield or Pittsfield
          Reports to:
            Youth and Adult Learning Coordinator

          Individual language coaches are matched with one or more learners to meet virtually to go through online language classes, practice core skills, and learn digital literacy. Language Coaches can teach remotely from anywhere, and form strong bonds with learners as they’re getting on their feet. With more refugees expected to arrive late in 2021 and 2022, JFS is actively searching for Coaches to join our team and impact adult learners as they transition to their new home, and transition to work.

            Qualifications:

            • Must have 5 years of teaching experience or a TESOL certification
            • Meet with mentees one on one or in small groups of five to six students.
            • Able to meet with students at least 2 times a week

            Digital Literacy Coach

            Digital Literacy Volunteers meet in person at our Springfield office to guide New American learners as they develop digital literacy. Volunteers walk clients through the basic functions of a computer and using essential applications such as Zoom & Gmail. Time Commitment: 2 to 6 hours per week, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays  from 1-3pm

            Position Details:

              Position: Digital Literacy Coach
              Program:
              Digital Literacy Circles, New American Program
              Hours: Mininum 2 hours, weekday afternoons…
              Location: 15 Lenox Street, Springfield
              Reports to:
              Job Skills Development Coordinator

              We are seeking volunteers to meet in person at our Springfield office to help our New American clients learn to use a Chromebook. Our Digital Literacy Circles provide our clients with pathway to education and employment opportunities. These circles are led by either volunteers or the Job Skills Development Coordinator, and meet the second and third weeks of the month on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons from 1-3pm.

                Qualifications:

                • Willingness to meet in person with learners
                • Experience teaching day-to-day skills in a classroom, library, or other educational program
                • Experience supporting New American Learners
                • Confidence using Google Documents, Meets, and Mail, and willingness to learn how to access Burlington English
                • Availablity Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons from 1-3pm

                Child Minding – Women’s Groups

                As a volunteer in the Early Literacy Program, responsibilities include supervising kids (ages 0-4 years old) in an educational and fun way! Time Commitment: 2 hours per week–minimum 1-3 days a week, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, 10am-12pm

                Position Details:

                  Position: Child Minding – Women’s Groups
                  Program:
                  ESL Early Literacy, New American Program
                  Hours: 2 hours per week, mininum, 1-3 days a week, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 10am-12pm
                  Location:  Springfield, Forest Park Library
                  Reports to:
                    Youth and Adult Learning Coordinator

                  Description of Role: As a volunteer in the early literacy program, responsibilities include supervising kids (age 0-4 years old) in an educational and fun way! There will generally be themes of the week, where the kids will learn vocabulary relating to those themes. The coordinator of the program will also have activities planned, but it is the role of the volunteers to carry it out. The way the schedule has been set up includes: learning vocabulary, stations with various forms of free-play that tend to be educational such as matching, movement activities, craft activities to teach kids motor skills relating to the theme, as well as lunch with an educational video. With every hard process, the reward is a beautiful one. We have seen many of these kids go from not speaking a word of English to communicating and holding some form of conversation with us. By consistently showing up for them on the days we commit to, as well as being present for them, we will without a doubt see a great level of growth throughout the duration of the program.

                  Requirements for the role:

                  • Ability to develop connections with the kids and work closely with them to develop the skills needed to adapt in America.
                  • Ability to teach kids to follow instructions, practicing with the English language, and having a structured program allows that development to grow. The level of interaction the volunteers are able to provide directly increases the quality of learning and growth seen in the kids.
                  • Ability to move around with kids and perform activities with them for the two hours
                  • Willingness to be patient with the kids, and adjust to their needs
                  • Having enthusiastic, kind, and patient attitude
                  • Ability to have fun and enjoy the process of learning with the kids!

                  In our first ESL programs for Afghan women, they were having difficulty with their classes–where they learn ESL and important skills for life in America–because they had kids they could not leave at home. After being made aware of this problem, we developed and initiated an early literacy program for their children. During the two hours these women spend learning, volunteers focus on supervising the kids. Since incorporating this program for the children, the women have improved their learning skills dramatically. The early literacy program for their childern allows the women to both show up to their scheduled classes instead of staying at home to watch the kids, and also helps them to focus during their lessons, with Child-Minding volunteers playing that huge role for them.

                  In-Kind Volunteer

                  In-Kind Volunteers help sort and organize donated items to furnish apartments for newly arriving refugees.  Time Commitment: 2 to 4 hours per week, Tuesday 1-3pm, Friday 10am-12pm

                  Position Details:

                    Position: In-Kind Volunteer
                    Program:
                    New American Program
                    Hours: 2 to 4 hours per week, Tuesdays 1pm to 3pm, Fridays 10am to 12pm
                    Location: 15 Lenox Street, Springfield
                    Reports to:
                    Logistics Assistant

                    The community of Western Mass donates home items on regular basis. These items are used to furnish homes for newly arriving refugee families. In-Kind Volunteers assist us in sorting these items, and help to ensure that we can respond quickly to meet the needs of new arrivals. This is a flexible opportunity in terms of time committment, and can be done as a group activity.

                      Qualifications:

                      • Able to sort small items including clothing, kitchen items, etc.
                      • Able to filter through the donations to assess their condition and make a judgement on their quality for use in a new home
                      • Able to compile and organize household items for a newly arriving family
                      • Physical ability and stamina to stand, sort, and move items for a 2 hour block of time

                       

                      Refugee Youth Mentor

                      Youth Mentor Volunteers are matched one on one with a refugee youth ages 15-24 to build intercultural relationships and help the youth adjust to life in a new country. Time Commitment: 1 to 3 hours per week

                      Position Details:

                        Position: Refugee Youth Mentor
                        Program:
                        Refugee Youth Mentoring Program, New American Program
                        Hours: 1 to 3 hours per week
                        Location: Online Remote, Springfield
                        Reports to:
                        Adult and Youth Learning Specialist

                        The Refugee Youth Mentoring program is a one-on-one formal mentoring program that matches refugee youth between the ages of 15 to 24 with volunteer mentors in the community to build intercultural relationships and help the youth adjust to life in a new country.

                        Matches meet on a weekly basis online or in-person to explore interests, educational and job opportunities, or other goals as the program sees fit. Successful mentors serve as role models, advocates, guides, and supportive friends to young new Americans at a crucial time in their development.

                          Responsibilities:

                          • Commit to building a supportive relationship with refugee youth
                          • Connect every week with your mentee for 1-2 hours
                          • Explore resources and make connections in response to mentees interests, goals, and needs
                          • Share community, educational, and career-related resources with mentees
                          • Work with mentee(s) to improve English, as needed
                          • Participate in orientation and training sessions and regular check-in meetings with JFS staff
                          • Complete weekly online log to record time spent with mentee and share stories or concerns
                          • Communicate with program coordinator if any concerns or problems arise

                          Preferred Qualifications:

                          • Previous mentoring experience or a strong interest in serving as a supportive friend and role model in a young person’s life
                          • Experience supporting New American learners
                          • Ability to communicate and empathize with a young person from a different culture
                          • Ability to respond to the interests and concerns of a young person
                          • Proficiency with Zoom, WhatsApp, other online platforms (or willingness to learn!)

                          Transportation Support Volunteer

                          Transportation Support Volunteers help refugee families get to important appointments, and complete tasks and follow through on other needs they may have from grocery shopping to attending recreational events. Time Commitment: 2 to 6 hours per week

                          Position Details:

                            Position: Transportation Support Volunteer
                            Program:
                            New American Program
                            Hours: 2 to 6 hours per week, flexible days
                            Location: Springfield, Pittsfield

                            Resettled families arrive with ambition to become independent as soon as possible. Before achieving that goal, the families have no means of transportation other than the JFS staff and the community. As a Transportation Support Volunteer, you can help the family get to important appointments, follow up on different needs they may have including grocery shopping or attending recreational events. You can also become a “Bus-Buddy” and introduce them to the public transportation system, help them learn how to use it, to get from one point to another, and how to access the schedules of PVTA. This is a role that helps the family immensely.  

                              Qualifications:

                              • Access to a driving license and a car
                              • Ability to devote 2-3 hours at time with each trip
                              • Ability to be flexible around time

                              If you choose to become a bus buddy, here is what we’re looking for:

                              • A good understanding of the public transportation system
                              • Ability to communicate with clients through Google Translate or repeating information in different forms of communication
                              • Flexibility to be with the family for a few hours to learn the routes
                              • Ability to have fun on this bus tour!

                              Financial Literacy Coach

                              Financial Literacy Digital Volunteers work with new incoming refugee families and individuals to help provide effective strategies to interact with financial services, budgeting, and acheiving financial goals.  Time Commitment: 2 to 3 hour per week

                              Position Details:

                                Position: Financial Literacy Coach
                                Program:
                                Financial Literacy Circles,  Adult Education, New American Program
                                Hours: Mininum 2 to 3 hours per week
                                Location: Remote online, in-person Springfield or Pittsfield 
                                Reports to:
                                Job Skills Development Coordinator

                                Are you good with money? Managing finances in the United States is more difficult than one might imagine. With the flood of information about banks, credit cards, checks, and more, refugees can be overwhelmed. Your role would be to work new incoming families on managing finances and understanding the available options.

                                JFS Financial Literacy Circles offer a human-centered approach designed to deliver information relevant to our clients daily lives and neighborhoods, aimed at providing effective strategies to interact with financial services, budging and acheiving financial goals. These Circles are tailored for small groups of clients speaking a common language and facilitated in-person or remotely using interacitve PowerPoint slides via an interpreter.

                                  Qualifications:

                                  • Able to work with clients on individual or group basis
                                  • Able to explain financial matters thoroughly
                                  • Background in financial work is preferred
                                  • Willingness to present to a class
                                  • Able to follow up with clients on financial matters
                                  • Able to adjust the curriculum as needed depending on the clients’ needs

                                  Housing Host

                                  Housing Hosts welcome a refugee family into their home for a short period of time until the family is able to find a job and rent an apartment. Time Commitment: 2 to 16 weeks

                                  Position Details:

                                  Newly arriving refugee clients face financial challenges, along with the problem of securing affordable housing especially in this difficult housing market. Housing Hosts welcome refugee families into their homes for a short period of time while the family finds employment and an apartment to rent. Housing Hosts will be meeting a family from a different culture with a different background. Qualified hosts need a separate space for the family, with willingness to adjust to the new living situation. 

                                   

                                  For more information contact 413-737-2601 or email Massara Almafrachi at m.almarachi@jfswm.org.

                                  Join us to welcome refugees to Western MA!

                                  Since its inception in 1898, JFS has been a nationally recognized leader in refugee resettlement. Refugees add a richness and vibrancy to our community. Our JFS volunteers are at the core of welcoming refugee families and helping them feel at home in Western Massachusetts. 

                                  From mentoring newly arrived families, to running in-kind donation drives for a specific family due to arrive, to mentoring a young person, to teaching English and work skills in the classroom – volunteers make resettlement possible at every level. To individual refugees and refugee families, volunteers make a life-changing impact.

                                    Volunteering at JFS has been an amazing experience. I am part of a great community and enjoy helping out in any way I can!
                                    Monich Long, longtime In-Kind Donations Assistance JFS Volunteer

                                    JFS volunteer impact!

                                    • 200+ mentoring hours in refugee youth mentoring program 
                                    • 100+ hours sorting in kind donations to supply clients with needed items 
                                    • 1500+ intern hours 
                                    • 400+ hours of language coaching 
                                    • Nearly 80 active volunteers