On the occasion of National Volunteer Week (April 15-21), the IRC in Atlanta would like to pause to thank all of our interns, volunteers and community supporters. Just in the past year alone, 957 individuals contributed over 34,000 hours of service across all of our many programs. We could not do the work that we do without their support.
There is, however, a particular group of volunteers that deserves a special degree of appreciation. For more than the past six months, nine dedicated individuals have made their volunteerism into a full-time job as AmeriCorps Volunteers.
AmeriCorps Volunteers serve in a variety of ways at the IRC office, each a unique program or initiative that – without that volunteer – would not be possible for the IRC to offer.
- Jacob assists the Social Adjustment program, providing a variety of support to refugees and immigrants who have been in the country for longer than six months.
- Iman manages the IRC in Atlanta’s free “thrift store,” the Shop of Hope. In addition to ensuring that the shelves are stocked with clothing and household items, she also assists refugee clients in finding the items they need to assist in their adjustment to life in Atlanta.
- Caitlin is part of our Youth Futures program, providing afterschool homework help and academic guidance to refugee students at Clarkston High School.
- Lauren works in the Economic Empowerment team and provides Employment Orientation for newly-arrived refugees to help them prepare for work and financial self-sufficiency.
- Joseph supports our Health and Wellness program by helping clients to navigate healthcare, conducting stress management workshops and assisting with mental health screenings.
- Henry leads the financial literacy program, and he helps clients with matters related to banking and budgeting in the United States.
- Zashe supports the IRC’s New Roots initiative, and provides nutrition based STEM education to connect youth to healthy food in schools.
- Emma is one of the first people that IRC clients meet. She leads the week-long Cultural Orientation that sets the groundwork for new arrivals in finding their bearings in their new community.
- Mimi coordinates healthcare appointments, ensuring that clients receive initial health screenings and any follow-up and specialist care appointments.
- Talya is lead instructor for several of the IRC in Atlanta’s adult education classes, including general English as a Second Language and Computer Literacy.
“We cannot thank them enough for the tremendous commitment they have made to the IRC in Atlanta and the clients that we serve,” said IRC Executive Director, J.D. McCrary. “Without them, we could not be the holistic service providing organization that we are today.”
The IRC in Atlanta’s Volunteer Coordinator, Duncan de la Feld, explained that all volunteers are invaluable, but AmeriCorps Volunteers fall into a category of supporters that is uniquely special. “As far as I’m concerned,” he said, “We should be calling them ‘AmeriCorps Staff,’ not only for the service they provide, but also the expertise they bring and the way they represent [the IRC] in the community.”
To all of our AmeriCorps Volunteers – past and current – thank you for joining the IRC in Atlanta family and your selfless commitment to serving our refugee and immigrant neighbors.
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org () or 678-636-8941.