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Why I volunteer with the IRC in Denver

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By Susan Martel, volunteer coordination assistant volunteer at the IRC in Denver.

When I retired as a Lutheran Medical Center financial analyst in 2011, I knew that I wanted to volunteer for non-profits that served our global community both locally and abroad. Traveling in developing countries helped me realize the considerable advantages of being born in the U.S. and I wanted to help people–not as lucky as I was–emerge from poverty. 

Susan Martel (center) enjoying World Refugee Day festivities at the State Capitol Photo: Victoria Francis/IRC

I volunteered for two non-profits–iDE and Water for People–for more than six years, whose clients were located in some of the world’s poorest countries. At the height of the Syrian refugee crisis, I saw David Miliband interviewed on the PBS News Hour and knew that IRC was an organization that I needed to support. I was thrilled when I found out through Volunteer Match that IRC had a Denver office. In our current political climate, I knew that helping refugees would be a fulfilling and personally therapeutic way to help those, who had lived through unimaginable hardships. 

My primary role at IRC is helping to onboard volunteers and I am always impressed by the quality of volunteers that IRC attracts. Though they come with diverse backgrounds and skills, they all have one thing in common – they want to welcome newly-arrived refugees and help them thrive in their new home.   

Being a part of the IRC Denver team is truly a dream come true for me. Working with the dedicated and accomplished staff along with fellow volunteers and interns is truly one of the high points of my life.  It is a privilege to serve our refugee clients and to help them understand how genuinely valued they are in the Denver community. 

Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities with the IRC in Denver.