Dear IRC volunteers, interns, clients and community partners,
As you are aware, Governor Hogan recently issued an executive order closing all non-essential business in Maryland and closed public schools until Friday April 24 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. As such, the IRC is also adjusting our programs and operations in order to help prevent the spread of the illness in our community and to protect the health of our clients, onsite partners, volunteers, and staff. The measures we are taking continue to be precautionary and based on guidance from experts from both within the IRC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local governments.
IRC staff began working from home for the first time beginning Monday March 23 (and until further notice). Staff are proactively reaching out to clients over the phone, email, WhatsApp, Zoom etc. to inform them about the pandemic, inquire about their acute needs and provide a handful of critical services (e.g. distributing emergency cash and food assistance) in person. The IRC is also extending the current suspension of all in-person volunteer and intern activities at the office and in client homes until Thursday April 30. This includes the family mentor program and youth success coaches.
All current volunteers and interns are encouraged to email their supervisor or established point of contact in the IRC to discuss whether there are options for you to continue your volunteer/intern service remotely. If you are an intern or practicum student and concerned about meeting your hour requirements for school, we are happy to work with you and your school to ensure there are no adverse effects on your academic standing or progress toward your learning goals. Please reach out to us if this is a concern.
I will share updates on this evolving situation toward the end of April. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our volunteer and family mentor coordinator, Beeta Riahi (Beeta.Riahi [at] Rescue.org) with questions or concerns. On a more positive note, we are recruiting for summer interns and volunteers. Please encourage interested parties to apply here.
Thank you for supporting the staff and clients of the IRC with your time and effort. We cannot sustain this work without community support!
Ruben Chandrasekar | Executive Director
Resettlement, Asylum and Integration (RAI)
International Rescue Committee in Maryland