Reach out & lend a hand. You are needed
Volunteering with LexRAP is an opportunity to make a difference in the life of someone who is trying to find their way in a culture very different from their home country. And while doing so, to enrich your own life!
Our volunteer needs range from having tea and conversation with someone, to hosting someone in your home, and a whole range of possibilities in between. Driving, tutoring, ESL, financial management, coat drives, drivers training, fundraising, and grant writing are among the things that volunteers do
To start the process, please fill out our Volunteer Form by clicking the button below. Submitted forms go to the LexRAP Volunteer Coordinator, who reviews the form and matches your skills and availability to our current needs.
Please note that, per LexRAP policy, all volunteers who work with LexRAP must undergo a Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check. After you fill out the initial form, and when there is a volunteer opportunity for you, the Volunteer Coordinator will ask you to fill out and sign a CORI Acknowledgement Form to authorize a CORI check.
In addition, all LexRAP volunteers must be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
Take on a Specific Task
This might be a one-time event such as driving someone to a medical appointment, or a regular thing, like tutoring kids once a week or helping adults with language skills.
While tutoring and driving are common needs, the list of things volunteers have helped with is (almost) endless: Helping to move furniture, teaching someone basketball, helping a family with financial literacy, helping people navigate the healthcare system, teaching someone to drive, helping with college applications, running a coat drive, helping to refurbish laptops, career guidance. Note that language learning includes both ESL for those who are still learning, and conversation to build fluency and nuance for those whose English is pretty good. LexRAP can also use help with fundraising and grant writing.
Become a Family Lead
For each family under our care, one individual is assigned to be the coordinator for the various people helping with that family. We call the coordinator a “Family Lead”
The “Lead” is the primary interface with the family, so that the parents are not overwhelmed with questions and scheduling. The Lead is the person the family will approach with questions, like “I got this form from the State of MA and I don’t understand what it means.” Or “I’d like to buy a car – how do I go about that?” The Lead is not expected to have the answers for every question, but through contacts with other leads or long-time members, most questions can be answered, or someone with particular knowledge can step in to help. For newly arrived families, the Lead will form a team of volunteers, which is called an NST (Neighborhood Support Team), to support the family in basic ways including interfacing with schools, finding doctors, navigating public transportation, opening bank accounts, getting cell phones, learning how and where to grocery shop. Once a month we have a meeting for all Leads, meetings which are aimed both at answering specific questions, and helping Leads understand the arc of the work. It’s a chance to share both joys (Afsaneh got her citizenship!) and how to manage disappointing circumstances.
Refugees and Asylum Seekers who have recently arrived sometimes do not yet have work authorization, hence they have no income or ability to pay rent.
If you have an extra room or two in your home that you are willing to share, consider hosting. Ideally, an intention and ability to host for 6 months or more is helpful for building a refugee’s sense of stability, and is an opportunity for the host to nurture that sense of safety and security while learning about another culture. But sometimes there is a need for shorter term hosting, to fill a gap between other situations. You can be very specific about the rules for your home. And if you express willingness to take someone in, we would arrange for you to meet them before making a commitment.
Plan an event
Do you have event-planning experience? If so, LexRAP can use your skills! Each event – including our annual dinner and sponsored events around Lexington – requires planning, staffing, and execution. There is also an opportunity to help with publicity. Please join us!