- 1 hour/week for 3 months
- 18+; pass a background check
- Varies based on New Americans' location
Is This the Right Fit for Me?
You love meeting people of all backgrounds and learning their stories. You have a passion for making people feel welcome. You get that interacting with cultures different than yours requires flexibility and patience. You have empathy that allows you to consider what may be challenging for someone entirely new to something you do every day, like grocery shopping or using a library. You know that celebrating our differences and learning from new Americans make Grand Rapids an even better place.
Samaritas (formerly Lutheran Social Services of Michigan) creates communities of service. They walk with people in need, offering hope and compassion while upholding their dignity, advocating for equality and justice, and seeking creative solutions.
What Others are Saying
“I was assigned to be a Cultural Mentor to a family of seven from the Congo. I began meeting with them weekly a little over a month after they arrived, and there was no doubt I was meeting a real need. It is an enormous transition these families are making—new language, new culture, new schools, new everything. They need our support. The challenge comes from the fact that you can never anticipate the family's needs; after a tornado, we found out by chance that they had lost all electricity and were unable to cook. Refugee resettlement is an enormous challenge for this country. If you want to make a significant, immediate contribution to people whose lives are very much in transition—this is a place you can do it.”John
Contact the Organization
If you’re ready to ask some questions and get started, contact the Samaritas directly.
What to Expect
Reach out to Rebecca (left), and she’ll email you a volunteer application and information about the next orientation. Orientations are one-hour and held monthly on Tuesday evenings. (Individual orientations can be arranged at other times.) The orientation will explore what refugee resettlement looks like in America, what an average week is like for a volunteer, and do’s and don’ts for working with New Americans. As you get to know your matched family, Samaritas will continue to answer any questions or offer general support.