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How to volunteer in Oakland

Through the IRC in Oakland’s varied volunteer opportunities, individuals are able to share their unique experience and expertise directly with the IRC's refugee and asylee clients in the Bay Area. We currently operate several highly effective programs designed to meet a variety of refugee and asylee newcomers' needs.

We provide our clients with initial resettlement, job placement & career development assistance, financial literacy training, health & medical support, cultural orientation, community garden access, food-security & nutrition education, and immigration services, and volunteers are needed across these areas to help deliver programming and ensure the effective management of our office.

The bulk of our regular volunteer opportunities are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. We have a four month minimum commitment for these positions, which ensures enough time for individuals to move beyond training and into meaningful work. Placement is subject to availability and volunteers must be at least 18 years old and undergo a security background check.

Current opportunities:


Annually the IRC Oakland hosts highly experiential internships that demand intuitive, motivated, and professional candidates. Internships require a minimum 15-20 hour commitment for 4-6 months. For a full list of internships check out our internship page.

Administration and Finance Support

Ensure the efficient operation of all of our programs and client services by supporting our administration and finance staff. Assist with check processing; research, follow-up on and resolving outstanding checks; assist in inventory and procurement of supplies; monitor and maintain common areas of the office; troubleshoot IT issues as they arise.

Commitment: We require an energetic individual who is available on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday between 9:00-4:00 p.m. 

Client Coordination Support

Help manage the front desk by greeting clients and helping them access services and staff. Answer phones, take messages, receive visiting clients, and respond to general questions about the IRC. Volunteers may also assist Case Managers with individual client activities as with Resettlement Support.

Commitment: We offer morning shifts from 8:30-12:30 and afternoon shifts from 12:30-4:30 on the front desk.

Professional Mentor

Help refugees achieve measurable, long-term economic self-sufficiency. Offer one-on-one support around career development (moving from survival to professional jobs) and personal financial management).

Commitment: Minimum commitment is 2 hours per week for a minimum of six months. Mentorship is based on the mentor and mentee's schedules and can be done on weeknights and weekends.

Attend an Informational Session

Due to the high volume of people reaching out, we are currently prioritizing volunteers who have weekday availability between Monday-Friday from 9:00-5:00 p.m We do have a significant waitlist for volunteer opportunities at the moment. All volunteers must attend an Informational Session prior to review of their application. Attendance at an Info Session does not guarantee the opportunity to volunteer at the IRC. Info Sessions focus on Refugee 101 as well as current volunteer opportunities which are subject to change month-to-month. All Info Sessions are held from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at our office in Oakland. You can register here for October 19th or here for November 14th. We encourage any potential volunteers who do not have weekday availability to view our How Can I Help or Take Action page before signing up for an Info Session.

For more information, contact Kristen.Borash [at] rescue.org (subject: Team%20oriented%20volunteering%20opportunities%20at%20IRC%20Oakland) .