Support Immigrant & Refugee Families - JFSSD
Moving Forward Together

Support Immigrant & Refugee Families

Volunteers are the Heart of JFS

Volunteer at the Migrant Shelter

Jewish Family Service provides robust immigration legal services in addition to humanitarian and respite shelter for asylum seekers who have been released legally into the United States by the Department of Homeland Security. Asylum seekers released by the government will stay in individual hotel rooms for short periods of time while awaiting travel to their final destinations. In partnership with the San Diego Rapid Response Network, JFS provides case management, travel assistance, nutrition services, medical screenings, and financial support for migrant families. The location of the Migrant Shelter is confidential but is located in central San Diego.

Shelter Operations Volunteer

Prepare snack bags for shelter guests and distribute them to guests’ rooms at the hotel.

  • Must be 18+ years, or 13+ years with a parent or guardian.
  • Must complete Program Interview, Background Check, Vaccination Attestation & HIPAA training.
  • Must have own transportation.


Airport Guide

Help clients navigate the airport, get boarding passes, check their bags, move through TSA security, and ensure they get to the correct gate.

  • Must be 18+ years.
  • Must complete Program Interview, Background Check, Vaccination Attestation & HIPAA training.
  • Must be available on an on-call basis.


Children’s Play Pal

Engage with children and young adults in a game of soccer, jump rope, arts & crafts activities, etc. to help pass the time while they await their travel.

  • Must be 18+ years, or 13+ years with a parent or guardian.
  • Must complete Program Interview, Background Check, Vaccination Attestation & HIPAA training.

Assist with Refugee Resettlement

The Refugee Resettlement Program assists arriving refugees as they adjust to settling in San Diego by helping them find employment, learn English, navigate public institutions, connect to community resources, and more.

Career Day Volunteer

Share your industry knowledge with a new San Diegan who is seeking to start a career in your field of expertise.

  • Must be 18+ years
  • 1-2 events per year, 2 hours per event
  • Complete Program Interview & Background check


Resource Navigator

Help connect refugee families with resources such as applying for reduced-cost internet, low-income programs through SDG&E, accessing library services, and enrolling in community college courses or trade schools.

  • Must be 18+ years
  • 4-month minimum commitment
  • Must complete Program Interview & Background Check


Volunteer Translator

Help translate documents and interpret in-person or by telephone with clients

  • Must be 18+ years
  • Must have a fluent understanding of written English and a second language
  • 6-month minimum commitment
  • Must be available on an on-call basis
  • Must complete Program Interview & Background Check


Program-Specific Opportunities

Opportunities vary by program need, so please check with the Volunteer Engagement team if you are interested in helping out with any of the following programs:

  • Career Pathways
  • Youth Mentorship
  • Public Transportation guides

Support Our Immigration Legal Services Team

The Immigration Legal Services Program at Jewish Family Service provides quality, low-cost immigration services to refugees, asylees, lawful permanent residents (green card holders) and undocumented immigrants within the community.  

The following volunteer opportunities are available to interested community members:

Immigration Volunteer Translator/Interpreter  

Assist staff members and work directly with clients in the translation of documents and live interpretation in the following languages: Arabic, Farsi, French, Haitian Creole, Pashtu/ Dari, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Ukrainian. Volunteers are required to be fluent in English and one of the languages listed above.


Immigration Administrative Support

Assist in the Immigration offices by completing case notes, filing documents, and performing data entry pertaining to immigrant legal cases. Previous experience in an office environment with computer use is beneficial.


Immigration Citizenship Instruction

Act as a teaching assistant in helping Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) gain the necessary skills to pass the civics and literacy portions of the Citizenship test. Volunteers are asked to attend at least one class a week (roughly 2 hours/ class) for 10 weeks. Classes will take place throughout the San Diego region; volunteers are required to have reliable transportation to get to and from scheduled classes.


Immigration Case Aide

Work directly with immigration staff in helping clients prepare and apply for various immigration benefits. Volunteer Case Aides will complete intakes with clients, prepare case files for staff, and translate/ interpret for staff (if needed). Case Aides will also provide general administrative support in the office as needed. Volunteers eligible for this opportunity are asked to have some experience/ knowledge of immigration law.


Note: All volunteer opportunities require candidates to undergo a background check and interview with the Immigration Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator. Volunteers will also need to complete HIPAA/Privacy and Security training.