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How to volunteer in Silver Spring

Updated 

Update 2/2/2017:

At this time we only have resources to connect volunteers to opportunities during normal working hours. We will contact people who have completed an application form below and who best meet the criteria for the role, when an opportunity becomes available. Our biggest need at this critical time is the following:

  • Donate: Every dollar will go toward helping refugees in Maryland.
  • Advocate: Please also call Governor Hogan and ask him to maintain refugee resettlement in Maryland. CALL TODAY (410)974-3901.
  • Fundraise: Be creative. In the past people have thrown parties and charged admission, they have worked with a local restaurant to offer extended Happy Hour (admission price benefitting the IRC), etc.

Update end

Volunteers play an integral role in our work to restore safety, dignity and hope to people whose lives have been uprooted by war.  We appreciate your commitment to welcoming refugees and assisting in their successful integration into the United States. We ask that all volunteers fill out a volunteer application form here. After the successful completion of the volunteer application form, you will be invited to the next volunteer orientation. Attendance at a volunteer orientation is mandatory to participate in a volunteer program (one day volunteer opportunities do not require that you attend a volunteer orientation). Please note, if we contact references it will not be until after we identify and discuss a volunteer role.

If you are having problems filling out the Volunteer Application form, please follow the  tips below:
•    Wait 20-40 seconds after the form loads before clicking on the first field
•    Avoid using symbols as much as possible. If there is an apostrophe in your name, do not include it in the form.
•    Try using a different web browser
If you are still experiencing issues, please contact [email protected]

Here are many ways you can help refugees arriving to the DC Metropolitan Area:

  1. At this time, our volunteer positions are filled. By submitting a volunteer application, we will maintain your information and contact you about one day volunteer opportunities and other events as needed. Additionally, when volunteer opportunities become available, we will reach out to all volunteers who have submitted an application form and attended a volunteer orientation. Please continue to monitor our website for changes and event details. While volunteer programs are currently full, one-time and continuous volunteer opportunities may become available soon. Additionally, we are working on starting an ESL/Family Mentor program. If you are a current student or a volunteer who can commit to 10+ hours a week for at least 3 months please consider applying for an internship. Internships can be found by going to rescue.org/careers "Search Jobs and Apply" and then searching US-MD-Silver Spring. Please apply directly to the internship posting on the IRC job board. Volunteers have been extremely helpful in other ways too. Please consider partnering with a restaurant to host a happy hour to support refugees, creating an online registry to obtain needed donations, or shoveling driveways to raise money for refugees.
  2. Support refugee resettlement in your community. Learn about the refugee resettlement process and share IRC materials with members in your community. In addition, reach out to your elected officials–at the local, state, and national level. Elected officials will base the decisions they make on what they are hearing from their constituents. Call, email, and send letters to your elected officials letting them know that you support refugees coming to your community and why.  Please find a sample letter below:
  3. Youth and Group Volunteering-Please consider helping by soliciting in-kind needs or by running a fundraiser. Information on our current in-kind needs and how you can start a fundraising campaign can be found below.
  4. Donate to the IRC. The work of the IRC is only possible through the generosity of people like you. Your gift helps the IRC respond immediately and effectively to the worst crises. Ways to donate: 

Dear [Representative/Senator] [Last Name]:

I am writing to express my support for refugees and refugee resettlement to the United States. We are a nation of immigrants, and this country has a long and proud history of being a safe haven to the world’s most vulnerable. I have seen first-hand the lifesaving difference that U.S. protection has made for families who have been given the opportunity for a new life in my community, and I know my community is better for it.

I [support/volunteer with] refugees because I am proud of what this nation stands for – a place of opportunity, a beacon of hope, and a home for the persecuted. Refugee families have been through unimaginable horror, yet I have seen them show incredible resilience in their new home here. Just like you and I, these families want to work hard, send their children to school, and live life free of fear.

 As this Congress wraps up its work, and as the new Congress and federal government begins its work ahead, I urge you to support refugees and funding for lifesaving refugee programs. 

Thank you for your service.