Become A Volunteer

Here at City of Refuge, we see the value in everyone. Volunteering with City of Refuge is a great way to get involved and learn more about our organization. Get started by filling out our volunteer application!

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Volunteer Opportunities

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Childcare Team

Access to childcare gives refugee parents the ability to attend our English classes, driving courses, and other resources that can dramatically change their pathways for success here in America! Our childcare support team looks after young children in a child-centered classroom on site while these classes take place. We hope you’ll join us!

When:

English Class support

  • Tuesdays & Thursdays 10am-12pm

Driving Class support

  • Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:45am-1pm

Requirements:

  1. Background Check ($12)
  2. Online abuse awareness training course

Commitment:

One full semester.

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Preschool Classroom support

City Preschool is opening in spring 2024 and we’re looking for a few helping hands to support our teachers and aids with pick-up & drop-off, classroom activities, and general supervision. Help us create a fun and inviting cross-cultural learning environment for 3-5 year olds from refugee and local backgrounds alike! Classroom volunteers should be comfortable working with and able to lift small children if needed.

When:

Full days 8:30am-12:30pm or half day shifts.

  • M/W/F 8:30am-10am
  • T/R 8:30am-10am
  • M/W/F 10am-12:30pm
  • T/R 10am-12:30pm

Requirements:

  1. Background check ($12)
  2. Online abuse awareness training course

Commitment:

One full semester.

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English Buddy Program

The English Buddy program is designed to partner English speakers with refugees; our goal is to provide friendship and language acquisition mentorship. Citizenship studies, language acquisition, homework help, and driving instruction are the primary focuses of this program. Tutors are paired by gender and meet their students at home once a week for up to two hours. The program coordinator personally visits each family to ensure that it is a safe and suitable environment for learning. The level of preparation for each meeting is determined by the level of the student; reviewing the lesson before each meeting is necessary. Our program coordinator is an experienced EL teacher and is available for additional support or training.

When:

  • TBD according to the schedules of each students and teacher pairing

Requirements:

  • Background check through Checkr ($12 donation)
  • Complete Protect MO Kids abuse prevention training for approx. two hours (can be done incrementally) and then submit the certificate
  • Attend Zoom volunteer training for approx. one hour

Commitment:

  • One-year commitment requested, two hours each week
  • Willingness to prepare for each lesson before visiting the student

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Transportation Team

We’re looking for groups and individuals to provide regularly scheduled as well as short-notice transportation for refugees! This could mean van rides to/from English classes at our building, or to/from social services offices or the DMV. We have two City of Refuge vans that are usually available for transportation needs, but would also appreciate anyone willing to use their personal vehicles if necessary.

When:

  • Tuesdays 9-10am (pickup) and 12-1pm (drop off) for English class
  • Thursdays 9-10am (pickup) and 12-1pm (drop off) for English class
  • On-call needs

Requirements:

  • Valid US driver’s license and insurance
  • age 21+
  • ability to enforce safe practices for children requiring carseats

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Driving Instructor

Transportation access can be one of the most influential pieces in the gap between surviving and thriving for refugees in Mid-Missouri. We are looking for volunteers to walk refugee students through a driving education course, which includes online training, driving simulation experiences, and on the road practice. Volunteers would be properly trained for instructing on-site and would not be required to use their personal vehicle for on the road practice.

When:

Students may sign up for a 1-hour lesson during these windows of time each week, but volunteers are not required to be available both days of the week:

  • Tuesdays 10am-1pm
  • Thursdays 10am-1pm

Requirements:

  1. Background Check ($12)
  2. Online abuse awareness training course

Commitment:

One full semester.

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Homework Helpers

The Homework Helpers program provides K-8th grade students with academic help in a fun, positive environment. Tutors assist students with homework and building critical English and social skills. Students come from a wide variety of ages, cultural backgrounds, and skill levels. You may be assisting with anything from learning the English alphabet to high school-level algebra! You may provide transportation for a student to and from COR in your personal vehicle if you wish, but it is not required. There will also be opportunities to work with the high-school aged youth group.

When:

  • Wednesday nights, 6-8 pm at City of Refuge
  • Thursday nights, 6-8 pm at Midway Heights Baptist Church

Requirements:

  • Background check through Checkr ($12 donation)
  • Complete Protect MO Kids abuse prevention training and submit certificate
  • Attend Zoom volunteer training
  • Photocopy of driver’s license and insurance card if transporting students

Commitment:

  • A one-year commitment is preferred but can commit for a semester if needed.
  • Taking time off during exams or a particularly busy time is okay, then returning when you can.

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Youth Impact Group

The Youth Impact Group program provides 9-12th grade students with academic help and community building in a fun, positive environment. Tutors assist students with homework and building critical English and social skills. Students come from a wide variety of ages, cultural backgrounds, and skill levels. You may be assisting with anything from expanding English vocabulary to high school-level algebra! Tutors may provide transportation for a student to and from COR in a personal vehicle, but it is not required. Dinner will also be provided as a part of this program!

When:

  • Thursdays 5:30-8pm at City of Refuge

Requirements:

  • Background check through Checkr ($12 donation)
  • Complete Protect MO Kids abuse prevention training and submit certificate
  • Attend Zoom volunteer training
  • Photocopy of driver’s license and insurance card if transporting students

Commitment:

  • A one-year commitment is preferred but can commit for a semester if needed.
  • Taking time off during exams or a particularly busy time is okay, then returning when you can.

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Front Desk

As refugees enter our front door, we rely on friendly faces to greet our friends and connect them with staff or resources. Our front desk volunteer will assist with many things, including helping refugees ‘shop” in our wardrobe and Basic Needs Closet. We have the following open slots still available:

When:

  • Mondays
    12:00pm-2:00 pm
  • On-call substitutes!

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City Boutique & Donation Sorting

City Boutique allows us to sell any excess donations we receive, and all proceeds from go directly into Refugee Care and Programs! We always need volunteers to help sort donations, run the register, restock and tag new items, etc. Fill out our application or contact us to let us know when you are available! We’ll accept any/all help, and you’ll receive all necessary training your first time with us.

When:

Accepting help Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm, with particular needs these days:

  • Tuesdays 12pm-4pm
  • Wednesdays 11am-4pm
  • Fridays 11am-2pm

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Artisan Studio

Our Artisan Studio space brings refugees together to learn new crafts, develop skills, and connect with one another! We are looking for community members to teach their craft, or supervise open studio time!

Artisan Workshop Teacher: Do you have a skill set that you want to share with our refugee women- something like candle making, soap-making, cookie decorating, crafting, etc.? We are planning a 2024 calendar of artisan workshops and would love to fit you in! You would come and teach a classroom of women from all over the world your trade for 2-3 hours. We hope that during this time, they will learn a new skill set, build more community, and do something enjoyable. Who knows, they will also love what you do and want to learn and grow in your trade even more! We’d love to share your giftings with our refugee friends!

Supervisor: We’re looking for volunteers in our community with some sewing machine experience to supervise our sewing studio during Open Studio Hours in the afternoons for our refugee women. We’re looking for a weekly commitment during an afternoon a week (i.e., 12-2 pm or 2-4 pm) to be available if women run into any issues with the machines they are working on! Your presence will allow us to keep our machines in good working order so that more women can use them each week.

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Operations Volunteer

Help with anything from building maintenance, IT,  business partnerships, events, or any other partially skilled labor! With the transition to our new, much bigger facility, we are always looking for more handy folks that can help us grow and take care of our resources well!

When:

  • Ongoing, scheduled by Operations Director

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Transportation Team

We’re looking for groups and individuals to provide regularly scheduled as well as short-notice transportation for refugees! This could mean van rides to/from English classes at our building, or to/from social services offices or the DMV. We have two City of Refuge vans that are usually available for transportation needs, but would also appreciate anyone willing to use their personal vehicles if necessary.

When:

  • Tuesdays 9-10am (pickup) and 12-1pm (drop off) for English class
  • Thursdays 9-10am (pickup) and 12-1pm (drop off) for English class
  • On-call needs

Requirements:

  • Valid US driver’s license and insurance
  • age 21+
  • ability to enforce safe practices for children requiring carseats

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Basic Needs Drive

Rally your friends to meet basic needs for refugees

The steady stream of refugees who are new to Columbia has not stopped! Our new neighbors continually need items such as:

    • Diapers and baby wipes

    • Laundry detergent

    • Hygiene products

    • Cleaning products

    • Over the counter medicine

Sounds great! How do we start?

    1. Choose one month out of the year. We will send you a list of our most-needed items and provide you with content to share!

    1. Either Collect items from your employees and your customers all month OR distribute our Amazon wishlist for items to be sent directly to our building during that month.

    1. Bring (or send) the items to City of Refuge.

Fill out THIS FORM to get started!

Please contact Brita (brita@cityofrefugecolumbia.org) with any questions. Always happy to help!

When:

  • Ongoing, looking for one partnership per month!

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City Boutique & Donation Sorting

City Boutique allows us to sell any excess donations we receive, and all proceeds from go directly into Refugee Care and Programs! We always need volunteers to help sort donations, run the register, restock and tag new items, etc. Fill out our application or contact us to let us know when you are available! We’ll accept any/all help, and you’ll receive all necessary training your first time with us.

When:

Accepting help Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm, with particular needs these days:

  • Tuesdays 12pm-4pm
  • Wednesdays 11am-4pm
  • Fridays 11am-2pm

Expand

Operations Volunteer

Help with anything from building maintenance, IT,  business partnerships, events, or any other partially skilled labor! With the transition to our new, much bigger facility, we are always looking for more handy folks that can help us grow and take care of our resources well!

When:

  • Ongoing, scheduled by Operations Director

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Volunteer Events

Our Volunteer Events are fantastic opportunities for the the community to get to know our organization. You can volunteer to help with events that benefit our refugees and the services we offer.

Events range from dinners to golfing to family events. Check back regularly to see our calendar for the latest events!

Monetary Gifts

Your generosity means the world to our organization - and that is not an exaggeration. Through your generosity we can provide more services and resources to refugees.

If you would like to make a donation to City of Refuge, click the button below or mail a check payable to City of Refuge to 10 N. Garth Ave., Columbia MO 65203. Your contributions are sincerely appreciated.

City of Refuge is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

Thank you for considering City of Refuge as an outlet for your time and resource.

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