This summer, the IRC in Tallahassee launched a new, volunteer-led Refugee Literacy program to help middle- and high-school refugee students from the Democratic Republic of Congo to learn English through homework help, socializing and community integration. Volunteers work with students in their homes and become a regular fixture in their lives, providing mentorship and support as they become better orientated into the Tallahassee community.
Already, the success of the program has been highlighted by local media, with the Tallahassee Democrat featuring the program on the front page! In the piece, 21-year-old IRC volunteer and Florida A&M student, Yennifer Castillo, said that by being a mentor, she hopes to help the Congolese students by "being their American friend... giving them whatever tools they need to perform just as well as their peers who have been in the U.S. all their lives," she said. "I just want to make sure that they can come here and prosper."
The Refugee Literacy program was also featured on local television station, WTXL ABC 27, who interviewed the IRC’s Volunteer Coordinator and AmeriCorps VISTA member, Chase Beasley, and current program volunteer, Jessica Utley, in the home of a newly-arrived Congolese family.
"As American citizens, English speaking people, we often forget that simple things like asking, can I have change, I need a large shirt, where do I get carrots? Those are things that need to be communicated," said Beasley. "Those can be learned in the classroom but also out in the real world."
We are still looking for volunteers to make a difference in the lives of our young clients! View this volunteer position on our website here or contact Chase.Beasley [at] Rescue.org to learn more.
For information on how you can get involved with the IRC in Florida as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.