Happy National Volunteer Week! Without our volunteers and interns, the IRC in Dallas would not be able to do the work we do. This past year we had over 90 volunteers and interns who worked a grand total of 10,805 hours!
We truly appreciate every single one of our volunteers and thank them for their service and dedication. Below we highlight some of them.
Daniel Peng, Resource Development Volunteer
Meet Daniel! Volunteering in multiple departments since the winter of 2019, Daniel helped Economic Empowerment start their Advanced Job Readiness Training program. From developing curriculum, to program instruction, resume prep, and career advice, Daniel assisted in creating a new and innovative remote program for clients. In the past few months, he moved over to the Resource Development department and works on fundraising and donor communication. He says, “I plan to keep contributing because what the IRC does is absolutely critical for refugees and immigrants.”
Judy Benn, Financial Capability Volunteer
Meet Judy! Judy is a crucial part of the Financial Capability department. She regularly teaches financial literacy and car buying class and is helping to develop a new class about medical expenses. During the winter storm in February, she rose to the occasion and aided in delivering supplies and in reaching out to clients. Originally exposed to the IRC’s work while living in Thailand, Judy joined the Dallas office this winter. She is a “huge believer that education can greatly improve someone’s life” and enjoys combining her passion for financial literacy with helping people out.
Crystal Perez, Academic Coach
Meet Crystal! Crystal has been volunteering as an Academic Coach since August 2020. A social work intern getting her master’s at TWU, Crystal has been integral in creating new and unique ways to connect with students during the pandemic including running Jackbox games in Spanish. She even hosted a call where a student practiced her public speaking skills and taught her how to make fried rice and perkedel, a type of vegetable fritter, over Zoom. She says, “the best thing that has happened to me since being at the IRC is having the opportunity to meet the amazing students within the program.”
Taylor Horn, Employment and New Roots Intern
Meet Taylor! Taylor has been volunteering with the IRC in Dallas since the beginning of the year. Helping out in two departments, she is well known for patiently listening to clients concerns and having a positive attitude. As a member of the Employment team, she teaches Job Readiness Training classes to new clients and in New Roots, she assists with completing Food Security surveys and the all-important data entry. A student at the University of Maryland, COVID brought her back to Dallas and she has been a great support to the office. Of her time with the IRC she says, “I’m so thankful I’ve been able to be a part of this wonderful organization and get to know so many amazing people!”
Andres Roque, Psychology Practicum Student
Meet Andres! A member of the Mental Health team since August of 2020, Andres is a Ph.D. student at SMU studying clinical psychology. He has quickly proven to be an integral part of the department and has given specific trainings for both the IRC Dallas’ and IRC Arizona’s mental health programs. His skills in navigating assessments, intervention work, and crisis management make him stand out. Becoming involved with the IRC through a clinical training experience for his graduate program, his work at the IRC fits perfectly with his desire to work with refugees and asylum seekers from Central and South America. He says, “As a Spanish speaking clinician, I find great value in using my skills to help improve the wellbeing of those who are in distress.”
Donna Vos, RCA Volunteer
Meet Donna! Originally a volunteer in the Immigration department in 2017, Donna came forward to support the IRC remotely during the pandemic. She joined the Refugee Cash Assistance program and is known for her keen eye for detail, problem solving skills, and her eagerness to learn more. First hearing about the IRC while living in London at the beginning of the Syrian refugee crisis, she joined the Dallas office after attending an information session and has been helping ever since. A dependable volunteer during her years of service, she says “I keep coming back because it’s a great group of people to work with and because the work the IRC does makes a difference in the world.”