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Volunteer Spotlight: Betsy

Betsy, long-time IRC volunteer

Meet Betsy, a longtime IRC volunteer. In the four years that Betsy’s been here, she’s probably experienced every volunteer opportunity available. From setting up households for new arrivals to teaching English class and driving clients to appointments, she’s done it all.  

Prior to the pandemic, Betsy could often be found in the IRC’s conference room where she taught an English class that held extra significance for her. Through her previous volunteer work with the IRC, Betsy had realized there was a need for a lower-level English class to help people who are illiterate. Betsy advocated for this new class and soon found herself teaching a small group of women to read and write. As a former teacher and someone with a minor in ESL, she was the perfect fit to lead the class. Betsy’s first goal was to teach the women how to write their names. They started by learning how to properly hold a pencil. With a lot of hard work and determination, the women were able to write their first and last names.  

This was especially rewarding for Betsy when she saw the impact this had on her students’ lives. Betsy had previously taken someone to a doctor appointment and noticed this person was unable to sign in when they arrived. After spending some time in the new English class, Betsy had another opportunity to take the same person to another appointment. This time they were able to successfully sign their name. 

Watching people succeed is why Betsy continues to volunteer. She also loves getting to know the people she serves. Her passion for volunteering seems to be contagious as her daughters now join her at the IRC when they’re available. Giving back has shown her children the opportunities they have and to be appreciative of them.  

The IRC in Kansas is incredibly grateful for Betsy’s dedication to helping refugees thrive in our community.