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Volunteer opportunities in Charlottesville

The process:

  1. LEARN ABOUT US: Familiarize yourself with the IRC and volunteer opportunities in Charlottesville in the “Current Opportunities” section.
  2. APPLY: Complete a Volunteer Application online. Note: Please upload a resume or CV at the bottom of the application.
  3. IRC FOLLOW UP: Once your application has been received, the Volunteer Coordinator will contact you regarding upcoming Volunteer Orientation training dates within 10 business days.
  4. ORIENTATION: Attend a Volunteer Orientation per invitation. Before being considered for a volunteer position, all applicants must attend a Volunteer Orientation session.
  5. INTERVIEW: Applicants interested in pursuing a volunteer opportunity with the IRC will then schedule and attend a brief one-on-one interview with the Volunteer Coordinator who will assess for best potential placement options.
  6. ESL TRAINING: If applicable, attend an ESL tutor training per invitation.
  7. BACKGROUND SCREENING: Successfully complete a background check. The IRC kindly requests that volunteers contribute $35 toward the cost of this requirement.
  8. PLACEMENT: You're ready to get started! The Volunteer Coordinator will follow-up with potential placement(s). Depending on your role, you'll then either receive further training from your in-office department or wait to be matched with a family to tutor and/or mentor.

For more information, contact [email protected].

Current opportunities:

ESL Tutoring

Help refugees improve their English! ESL tutors must be able to commit to at least two one-hour sessions per week (2-4 hours total) for a minimum of six months.  Tutoring takes place in the client’s home or another agreed-upon location. Tutors must have an excellent command of the English language. Though experience is helpful, it is not required. The IRC offers ESL training and optional curriculum as well as a limited number of additional resources. Patience and creativity go a long way in this vital, independent role.

Family Mentoring

Family Mentors help refugees acclimate to life in the US and Charlottesville. Family mentors are matched with families or individual refugees, and serve as their “first American friend," assisting with orientation to the community and free/low-cost activities around Charlottesville; providing transportation if possible; serving as a first point of reference during a refugee's cultural adjustment process; and in many cases offering to assist in basic English language acquisition. In some cases, mentors are able to assist in receiving their "match" at the airport when they first arrive to Charlottesville and assisting them with initial orientations such as home safety, grocery, and public transportation. Time commitment for this role can vary. On average, mentors should aim to devote 2 hours/week to this opportunity. Mentoring, like ESL tutoring, requires patience, creativity, compassion, and independence.

New Roots

New Roots Charlottesville supports refugee food security and aids in their transition to the community through gardening, nutrition education, local food access initiatives and small business farming.  IRC currently manages New Roots Farm and 4th Street Community garden as well as provides training and support to numerous additional locations. 

There are several volunteer opportunities to become involved in our New Roots programming, including weekly work-days at the Farm, June-October.


For the IRC to best serve refugee families, we rely on community interpreters. We currently seek on-call volunteer interpreters for the following languages: Arabic, Farsi/Dari, Pashto, Swahili, Kirundi, French, and Spanish.

Resettlement Store Staff & Donations Assistants

The Resettlement Store serves as a resource for refugees’ basic necessities.  Through community donations of goods such as kitchenware, bedding and toiletries, the Store offers a reliable space to “shop” for free during the resettlement period.

  • Resettlement Store Staff greet shoppers, assist them in meeting their needs, and maintain accurate donation receipts. Resettlement Store shifts are currently Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11am-2pm.
  • Donations Assistants help on a rolling basis to receive, sort, and organize incoming donations as well as stock and tidy the Resettlement Store while it is closed.

Front Desk Staff

Front Desk volunteers are vital to IRC operations, greeting each and every person who visits the IRC. Volunteers are also answers the main phone line, receives and occasionally processes donations. Shifts vary seasonally.

Shopping & Apartment Set-Up

Love shopping? Interior design? The IRC secures housing for all newly arriving refugees and furnishes these new homes. Help our Logistics Coordinator shop for basic household goods and set them up in new apartments for families arriving to Charlottesville for the first time.

On-Call Roster

Don’t have enough time to commit weekly?  Consider joining our “on-call roster.” You’ll be contacted occasionally for specific needs as they arise. You may chose to specialize in particular activities which include but are not limited to:

Appointment transportation, evening/weekend airport pick-ups and grocery store orientations, assisting new WIC enrollees become oriented to their new benefits, front desk, Resettlement Store staffing, contributing to the IRC’s monthly eNewsletter content, and special events preparation and execution.

Health Department Transportation

All newly arriving refugees undergo a health screening upon arrival, and appointments are held at the clinic on Rose Hill Drive Monday mornings between 8:30 and 10:30 AM. Volunteers transport new families to the clinic and orient them to the nearest bus stop so that they are able to independently take public transportation home.