Peace Corps Community for Refugees

Volunteers Needed for Short-Term Assistance at the US/Mexico Border

Below is an email I was asked to share with the community. – Scott

Greetings to Guyana RPCV’s from the Peace Corps Community for Refugees,

We are providing this information with the hopes that you can share it with Guyana RPCV’s who might be interested in assisting with migrant families at the US/Mexico border.

As you certainly are aware, there has been a crisis on our border affecting migrants from numerous Spanish-speaking cultures. Several volunteer organizations are seeking Spanish-speaking volunteers to assist those families that are stranded at the border as refugees.

Our group of RPCV’s in the Peace Corps Community for Refugees has reviewed and checked out several such organizations and volunteer requests. We would like to share them with you and ask you to do the same among all RPCV’s you know of who served in Guyana.

These opportunities are for RPCV’s as well as their friends and acquaintances. Some require certainly levels of Spanish-speaking capability; others do not. We urge prospective volunteers to contact the organizations directly if they have an interest in learning more.

Below are four US/Mexico border volunteer opportunities we have vetted

Richard MacIntyre, Advocacy Coordinator

Peace Corps Community for Refugees

1. HIAS Border Response Team

We are looking for Spanish-speaking volunteers for an ongoing opportunity to travel to El Paso/Ciudad Juarez for one week (Sunday night through Friday) to fill an urgent need to screen asylum seekers for potential representation. You do not have to be an attorney or have prior experience, as HIAS will provide training. We are also looking for remote volunteers to translate documents for asylum seekers in Ciudad Juarez. Fill out an application form if you would like to participate.

Sue Kenney-Pfalzer
Director, Border & Asylum Network

https://www.hias.org/who/mission-and-values

2. Tijuana Border Rights Project

Al Otro Lado’s Border Rights Project (BRP) serves clients Tuesday-Friday, with a mandatory Monday orientation for new volunteers. BRP hosts “know your rights” informational sessions on the asylum process and then provide clients a chance for an individual legal consult.

Non-Spanish speakers can be of great use assisting Al Otro Lado with data entry. Our data allow us to track and identify immigration trends, identify plaintiffs for class action lawsuits, and are vital to our litigation efforts. Additionally, there is a need for various support roles such as food preparation, childcare, and documentation, and translation coordination. Limited to proficient Spanish is preferred for those roles, but not required.

If volunteers are interested in helping with our weekly Border Rights Project workshops, they can start the sign-up process here. Orientation occurs every Monday beginning at 10 am and a minimum stay of five days is required. In order to ensure the safety of our clients and volunteers, we require advance approval and confirmation for all volunteers.

Lily Kurtz, Volunteer Coordinator

Al Otro Lado, Tijuana, MX

https://alotrolado.org/who-we-are/

3. RPCV Global Village

Come and join other RPCVs for a week (or more) from January to April in sunny Immokalee, Florida to use your Peace Corps skills to serve the immigrant farm-worker community

SERVICE PROGRAMS are the core of our mission. They include:

  • Teaching English to adults
  • Building/teaching community gardens
  • Assisting at a local nature center
  • Teaching handwashing to kids
  • Teaching HIV prevention at the local high school
  • Teaching simple accounting and family budgeting
  • Teaching nutrition and cooking
  • Building Eco-Banos
  • Planting trees (Reforestation)
  • Housing rehab (light construction)
  • Assisting at two local health clinics
  • Assisting at three local food banks, two soup kitchens

HOUSING will be dormitory-style in a very comfortable co-ed “bunk-house”, with two bathrooms, two showers, linens, air conditioning, heat, electric and WiFi. Three semi-private spaces are available for couples. Non-RPCV spouses, partners, and guests are welcome.

All arrivals and departures will be on SUNDAY ONLY. Transportation to and from service sites will be provided by car, bus or you can use one of our bicycle fleets.

TO APPLY just complete the online application form at https://rpcvglobalvillage.wufoo.com/forms/m15eymmo16bvty0/

You’ll also be asked to make a small ($175/week) donation to defray food, housing, and local transportation costs. Discounts for longer stays ($125/week for 2-3 weeks, $400/month) and some scholarships are available on request. Meals will be provided in the adjacent facility.

MORE DETAILS on programs and a weekly schedule are available online at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/i2f7tm2swsr2lnw/AABxavZhWyDXKamrj0O64SVDa?dl=0

RPCV Global Village was started by Greg “Goyo” Plimpton, a veteran Peace Corps and PC Response volunteer, who served for seven years in Peru and Panama (contact [email protected] with any questions).

4. The JFS Migrant Family Shelter

The JFS Migrant Family Shelter in San Diego, CA, provides a wide variety of services to asylum-seeking families, including legal counsel, medical screenings, hot meals, travel assistance, and new clothes. We welcome new migrants to our San Diego location every day, most of whom are women with young children. As a volunteer with our shelter, you will have the opportunity to help with daily operations, travel guidance, hospital advocacy, and on-site activities. We have a need for on-going volunteers to help us with operational needs, especially driving and guiding families to the airport, long-distance buses, and the hospital.

We have volunteer opportunities available 24-hours a day. Volunteers who speak Spanish, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, or Russian preferred. The needs of our shelter fluctuate on a daily basis due to policy changes and an inconsistent number of new guests who arrive at our doors. Accommodations in San Diego for the volunteers is their own responsibility.

For more information on how to volunteer, please email [email protected].

Scott was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Georgetown, Guyana from '03-'05 with the World Wildlife Fund. He helped to co-found FROG in 2007.

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