Refugee Assistance Program

The mission of the YPFP Refugee Assistance Program (RAP) is to create a social support network of volunteer mentors for recently resettled refugees, asylum seekers, and other immigrants in the greater Washington, D.C. area. 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, asylum seekers and other immigrants, 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, Syria, Uganda, and more.

Learn more about RAP by watching this 10 minute video

After watching the video, we invite you to fill out our volunteer application

Questions? Email us at refugees@ypfp.org

Please also check us out on Facebook: YPFP Refugee Assistance Program

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of volunteer opportunities are available through RAP?

RAP works with 4 partner organizations in the D.C. area, including the International Rescue Committee, the Ethiopian Community Development Council, Catholic Charities, and Human Rights First. Through these organizations, we have three distinct types of volunteer opportunities:

  • Family Mentors: Provide community and public transportation orientation to a recently resettled family, in addition to specific needs as identified. Generally provide friendship and support as one of the family’s first friends in the D.C. area (6 month commitment)
  • Pre-Employment Mentors: Help clients navigate their job search in the D.C. area by assisting them in creating a professional packet and online presence they can present to employers (3 month commitment)
  • Tutors: Assist both children and adults with English instruction and homework help (6 month commitment)

What kind of time commitment does RAP involve?

Each of RAP's volunteer roles has a distinct time commitment. We ask all family mentors and tutors to commit 6 consecutive months to the program, while pre-employment mentors must commit 3 months. During this time, we expect volunteers to spend approximately 8-10 hours a month working with their family or client (including travel time to and from client's home). 

Where are clients located?

The communities our volunteers serve are generally located in Maryland and northern Virginia.  Many clients will not live near a Metro stop, but will be accessible via Metro bus. Please mention in your application if you have a preference to volunteer in Maryland or Northern Virginia.

Do I need a car to volunteer?

Since most clients will live in Maryland and Northern Virginia, access to a car is certainly useful, but not mandatory to volunteer with RAP. However, all volunteers who will be relying on public transport must be willing to travel 1-1.5 hours one way to reach their client's home. 

What kind of volunteers are you looking for?

We are looking for volunteers that have experience with multi-cultural situations, and are flexible and open about going outside of their comfort zone. For certain volunteer opportunities, language skills and previous mentoring experience is also important. Additionally, since many of our volunteer programs require a significant time commitment, you must plan to be located in the D.C. metro area for a minimum of 1 year. 

Will I be working by myself?

Volunteers working as family mentors are generally matched in teams of 2-3 people, depending on the size of the family you're working with. Tutors and pre-employment mentors are more likely to be matched with a single client. If you prefer to work along/in a group, please indicate this in your volunteer application (including specific partner requests). 

Who staffs the Refugee Assistance Program?

Rebecca Howard, Director

Sanam Masroor, Volunteer Engagement Manager

Amy Bush, Volunteer Engagement Manager