Scope of service

The IRC in Des Moines seeks volunteers to teach Cultural Orientation classes, where newly arrived refugees learn about the basics of life in the U.S. Wide-ranging topics such as emergency services, transportation, and school are covered so that refugees can begin to thrive in their new environment. Volunteers will also help newly arrived refugees explore their neighborhoods and provide follow-up support for individuals needing additional one-on-one assistance.


  • Complete required training on cultural orientation content, either in person or virtually
  • Facilitate small to large group instruction using provided Cultural Orientation curriculum
  • Work with interpreters to effectively deliver instructional content to multilingual students
  • Assist in orienting newly arrived refugees to their neighborhoods through classes and field trips (libraries, parks, clothing stores, grocery stores, and other community services)
  • Provide follow-up for individuals needing more assistance after Cultural Orientation class
  • Help develop new resources and curriculum to introduce newly arrived refugees to U.S. customs, laws and culture

Time Commitment 

4-6 days a month, typically 2-3 hours each day. Generally during business hours. 


Minimum 3 months 

Languages desired but not required 

Swahili, Dari / Farsi, Pashto, French, and Spanish.

How to apply 

Go to and complete the application. If you need assistance, do not hesitate to reach out to [email protected]. Once your application is received, a staff member will contact you for a brief interview. You will then receive a link to complete a background check. Finally, you will be contacted to attend a required volunteer training.