Refugee Assistance Program (RAP)
These relationships are integral to providing survivors of oppression, war, and political violence with assistance to build new lives in the United States. YPFP RAP volunteers engage directly with refugees, exerting a substantial impact on their lives and in the process gaining meaningful professional exposure and experience. In addition, RAP serves to educate the broader YPFP community about topics related to refugees, human rights, and immigration.
Since October 2007, RAP has welcomed hundreds of refugees from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Guinea, India, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and more.
Please note that we hold our info sessions every other month. The next info session will be held on March 12th at 6:15pm.
If you are interested in volunteering, please click HERE to apply!
If you have questions about the Refugee Assistance Program, please feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please also check us out on Facebook: YPFP Refugee Assistance Program
Since 2007, the Refugee Assistance Program has partnered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), one of the world's leading international relief agencies and one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. The IRC currently works in over 40 countries and in 22 U.S. cities, one of which is their office in Silver Spring, MD.
In February 2009, RAP formed a partnership with Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS/NCA). Since the 1970s influx of refugees fleeing the Vietnam war, LSS/NCA has based its refugee resettlement services on a model of community and faith group sponsorship. Through the decades, the Refugee and Immigrant Services (RIS) program has provided a variety of case management and employment services to over ten thousand refugees in the National Capital Area and Baltimore region.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT VOLUNTEERING WITH RAP
Q: What kind of time commitment does RAP involve?
A: To be a volunteer with RAP, we expect all volunteers to commit to working with a family for a minimum of six consecutive months. During those six months, we expect volunteers to see their family approximately 10 hours a month.
Q: Will I be working by myself?
A: Volunteers are generally put on teams of 2-3 people, depending on the size of the family. Occasionally, we may have to assign a volunteer individually, but will always check with you before assigning you to gauge your comfort level.
Q: What kind of assistance do volunteers provide?
A: Once families/clients arrive, they work with their caseworker to make a list of priorities they would like to work on, which is passed on to the team that works with the family. This could include employment assistance, learning to use transportation, accessing local resources (library, grocery store, etc) or practicing English skills. However, the first priority of all volunteers is to provide friendship and support.
Q: Where are families located?
A: Families are generally placed in MD and northern Virginia. If you have a car, this may take between 30-45 minutes. If you are relying on the Metro, it will take an hour to an hour and a half, using a combination of the Metro and Metrobus. Please mention in your application if you have a preference between MD and Northern Virginia.
Q: What kind of volunteers are you looking for?
A: We are looking for volunteers that have experience with multi-cultural situations, and are flexible and open about going outside of their comfort zone. Additionally, if you speak a language common among our refugee population (i.e. French, Arabic, etc.), please mention this in your application – as well as your level of proficiency.
Q: OK, so I applied – now what?
A: Intake is held every other month, so you might have to wait up to six weeks before you can go through the steps to become a volunteer. If you are unsure about how long you might have to wait, you can always contact us at email@example.com. Intake consists of an information session, an interview and an orientation. Once you have gone through the process, there is a $15 fee for a background check. After we receive word that you have cleared the background check, you will be placed on the waiting list and matched with the next available family that matches your skills and preferences.
MEET OUR TEAM
Pamela Daley is the Associate Director for the Refugee Assistance Program. She has been a member of YPFP since 2012 and initially began volunteering through RAP in November 2011.
Currently, Pamela works for Capital City Public Charter School as their development and communications associate. Previously, she worked for Liberty's Promise, a nonprofit based in Alexandria, VA that provides after-school and job skills training programs for low-income immigrant youth in the DC metro area.
Elisa Chen is the Events Coordinator of Refugee Assistance Program. She has been a member of YPFP since 2012 and has worked with refugee children in after-school programs and refugee women in business start-ups in Houston, Texas.
Currently, Elisa works for FHI 360, an international human development organization, on the Strategic Analysis and Partnerships department. Previously, she worked at Accenture in Houston, Texas as a Manager in Change Management and Learning Strategy.
Dasha Smith is the Communcations Manager of the Refguee Assistance Program. She has been a member for YPFP since 2014.
Currently, Dasha works at John Snow, Inc. on MCHIP, USAID's flagship Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program. Previously, she has worked for UNHCR in Washington, the IRC in Silver Spring and World Relief in Minneapolis advocating on behalf and providing direct services to refugee families.