The refugee community in Austin needs your help now more than ever.

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Organizations in Austin working with refugees need volunteers now more than ever. Radical cuts to the US refugee program mean that refugees in our community may no longer have case managers, teachers, and support services to help them through the difficult transition to their new life in Austin. It will be up to volunteers to help.

Here's a few of the many places you can contact to get started. Or email us at info@firststepin.org and we will help match you with the right organization for your skills, time, and preferred level of commitment.

First Step In

We need volunteers to help create content for the website! Please let us know if you can pull together a short list of resources for us or would be willing to do more extensive content for us. Every little bit helps. We want this to be a resource guide based on the experience of people who work with refugees, skilled professionals, and anyone who wants to dive in and be part of connecting refugees to much-needed information! We need you! Email us at info@firststepin.org to get started!

Hope and Sesame

Hope and Sesame is a nonprofit focused on empowering refugee women economically through hosting community dinners where women cook up a feast of their native cuisine and the community can purchase a ticket to come share in culture and beautiful food. 100% of profits go directly to the women cooks. Hope & Sesame also offers a weekly English conversation practice called Ladies Let's Talk. Local Austin women meet up with refugee women for fun activities and conversation practice. Visit hopeandsesame.org to find more information.

Refugee Services of Texas (RST)

RST is Austin's main resettlement agency serving refugees, asylees, individuals with Special Immigrant Visas, Cuban-Haitian entrants, Central American minors, survivors of human trafficking, and other vulnerable populations. In addition, RST works to facilitate partnerships with host communities to build a welcoming environment.

RST offers many ways to get involved. Volunteer opportunities cater to specific skill and interest areas and include apartment setup, transportation, childcare, teaching English or sewing skills, becoming a Welcome Team, legal services, cultural orientation, and more. Volunteers must complete an orientation to get started. Sign up on their Volunteer Hub to get started or call 512-472-9472 and ask to speak to the Volunteer Coordinator.

500 East St. Johns Ave.
Suite 1.280
Austin, TX 78752
austin@rstx.org

Multicultural Refugee Coalition

MRC is an innovative nonprofit organization blending skills-based education with social entrepreneurship to connect refugees to dignified, fair-wage work in Austin, Texas. MRC operates three social enterprises: New Leaf Agriculture, Open Arms (a textile manufacturing studio), and Shared Voices (an interpreter training course). MRC needs volunteers to help in their community gardens and at New Leaf Farm. They also need help with teaching English to the workers at Open Arms. To volunteer, fill out their contact form.

info@mrcaustin.org

Center for Survivors of Torture

CST provides long-term mental health counseling, social services, legal and medical services, referrals, and training. CST offers free individual, family, and group counseling for survivors of torture that often focuses on trauma and grief resolution. Clients can share their experiences in a safe environment with a licensed counselor who is there to support them as they strive to improve their lives. Complementary activities include: English as second language training, mentoring, tutoring, resume building, job searches, finding housing, obtaining food, clothing, and navigating medical and legal systems. Bus cards, phone cards, and food cards are provided to those without resources.

Click here to learn about the many volunteer opportunities or call (512) 358-4612 for more information.

Casa Marianella

Casa Marianella welcomes displaced immigrants and promotes self-sufficiency by providing shelter and support services. In addition to shelter, Casa offers access to legal and medical resources, food, clothing, English classes, and other resources. Casa Marianella started in 1986 as one home for men, women and children, but as Casa has grown, a nearby branch site was created in 2003 for women with children (many of whom are escaping domestic or cultural violence) and named Posada Esperanza. Casa Marianella currently consists of three neighboring houses for men and women without children, while Casa’s Posada Esperanza branch has expanded to four neighboring houses.

Volunteer opportunities include: ESL teachers and assistants, food preparation, admin support, homework helpers, appointment advocates (transportation), weekend activities volunteers, and much more. Casa Marianella also accepts donations and is always looking for jobs for their clients so contact them if you can help!

Casa Marianella:
821 Gunter Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 385-5571 (Office)
(512) 842-9360 (Fax)
jlong@casamarianella.org

Posada Esperanza:
(512) 928-8862
posadaesperanza@casamarianella.org

Muslim Community Support Services

MCSS strives to empower those struggling and in need of assistance in our Austin community toward self-sufficiency and help them build a life where they reclaim dignity, respect, and a sense of belonging. MCSS provides financial assistance, support for female victims of violence or abandonment, ESL tutoring, K-12 tutoring, and monthly workshops where volunteers can help with forms, questions, life navigation in the US. Non-muslims are welcome to volunteer!

To get started, fill out their volunteer application.