Moving Forward Together

Support Refugee & Immigrant Families

Volunteers are the Heart of JFS

Volunteer at the Migrant Shelter

Airport guides, Patient advocates, Couriers

As asylum-seeking families flee violence and persecution in their home countries, the JFS Migrant Family Shelter offers a place of refuge once they’ve been admitted into the United States. While their journey is far from over, our shelter offers critical humanitarian services as migrants continue through the asylum process. We’re always looking for compassionate volunteers to serve snacks and meals, sort clothing donations, assist with travel arrangements, and keep our facilities clean as we “welcome the stranger.”


Airport guides
Volunteers will be issued a special pass so they can accompany the guests through TSA and all the way to their gate.
Times: 4:00-8:00am, 8:00am-12:00pm, 12:00-4pm, 4:00-8pm, 6:00-10pm.

Patient advocates
You will accompany or meet guests at a local hospital and be their advocate with the medical staff. You may be asked to transport individuals in your own vehicle either to or from the hospital.
Time: 10:00pm-7:00am.

Deliver food to guests staying off-site for medical reasons, and possibly transport people who are well back to the shelter. Must have your own vehicle with enough space to transport around 50 meals.
Times: 7:30-9:30am, 11:30am-1:30pm, 5:30-7:30pm.


Friendly Match Volunteer

Mentor a newly arrived refugee family by providing companionship and general acculturation support as they adapt to life in the U.S.. Bridge the gap between newcomers and host communities by connecting families to community resources and opportunities while providing much-needed “in-the-field” and supplemental assistance to case managers; together, we work to promote and establish their self-sufficiency.

  • Minimum commitment of 5-10 hours a week over a 4-month period
  • Scheduling is coordinated between the volunteer and refugee family.
  • Must complete background check and possess own vehicle
  • Must be 18 or older, if under 18 must be accompanied by an adult


Citizenship Teaching Assistant

Assist and prepare lawful permanent residents for the civics (U.S. history and government) and English (reading, writing, and speaking) components of the naturalization test.

Service Areas: Virtual teaching

  • Must be able to assist for one full virtual class (once a week for 10 weeks)
  • Must feel comfortable teaching virtual classes and using online platforms, like Zoom
  • Must be 18 or older
  • One year experience in ESL teaching or citizenship teaching to adults (is preferred, but not required)
  • Must be sensitive to diverse cultures and non-English speakers


Volunteer Translator

Translate documents for Refugee Resettlement staff members or work under direction of immigration attorney to interpret in-person or telephonic correspondences with clients.

Languages Needed: Arabic, Farsi, French, Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Amharic, Somali, Burmese

  • Minimum commitment of 2-3 hours per week for 4 months
  • On-Call Position, as needed basis
  • Fluent understanding of written English and a second language is required
  • Must be 13 or older


Public Transportation Navigator

Help newly arrived refugees learn the public transportation system in San Diego and plan their routes to work, school, and appointments.

  • Knowledge of Google maps or other navigation apps.
  • Comfortable using public transportation, willing to travel to El Cajon, National City, and City Heights.
  • Work well with people from different cultural backgrounds, and with limited English.


Case Aides, Interns, Program Assistants

Help us serve every immigrant efficiently and professionally, by aiding in office and administrative duties, this volunteer will increase the efficiency of casework completion and assist in efforts to document service provision, contributing to the team as we continue to support immigrant families in a valuable way.

  • Minimum commitment of 5-10 hours per week for 3 months
  • Scheduling is coordinated between the volunteer and staff
  • Must be 18 or older