Staying Safe and Helping Others During COVID-19

Welcome and thanks for your interest in volunteering with World Relief Chicago!


We offer unique cross-cultural volunteer opportunities that will help you build relationships with asylees, refugees, and other immigrant populations in Chicago! In June, we re-launched some of our normal volunteer programs in a modified virtual form, with the hope of transitioning to in-person connections over the next few months. Meanwhile, our coordinators will help you explore your interests and discover your strengths while supporting you practically, spiritually, and emotionally to serve others well. ​

We aim to provide our volunteers with ways to connect with one another to build community, provide networking opportunities, and see the collective impact of the WRC volunteer team working together to make Chicago a more welcoming place for immigrants. 


Young Adult Mentor

Work with young adults between 18-24 years old to help them advance toward educational and vocational goals. Mentors will be paired with a mentee over video call and communicate virtually until it is safe to meet in person. They will meet once a week for six months, providing support as their mentees work toward college or workforce development goals. Location: West Ridge, Rogers Park, Albany Park, or other neighborhoods primarily on the north side of Chicago. Commitment: Two hours a week for six months.

Health Advocate (This opportunity is currently on pause as of September 2020) 

Provide friendship and support remotely to a refugee or asylee individual or family who is facing extra challenges or barriers to receiving the services they need, or is simply experiencing additional stress under COVID. These positions are tailored to the needs, availability, and skills of specific immigrants and volunteers. This could mean remotely helping them learn to use different types of technology, and/ or using technology to connect with them (reading stories to kids, practicing English, getting to know them and sharing about yourself). It could also include sending cards or care packages, or remotely helping them to access services that they need with the support of a case manager. Commitment: Weekly contact which will hopefully be able to grow into in-person contact of 2-4 hours per week. 6 months..

English Tutor / Homework-Support Tutor 

Currently, we are only placing tutors with students in online settings. Additional remote training specific to online tutoring will be provided. Volunteers must have a computer and/or smartphone as well as a strong internet connection.

1-on-1 Adult Tutor. Connect with a refugee/immigrant background adult to help them learn English through online platforms such as Zoom and WhatsApp. Tutor will create weekly lessons,  practice conversational speaking with student, and assign homework. Training will be provided before being matched. The commitment is 2 hours/week, for 6 months (after training is completed). For the foreseeable future, no in-person tutoring will be allowed.

Youth Tutor. Provide academic support for a refugee/immigrant background student (K-12). You will be matched with a student or small group of students to provide weekly 1-2 hour virtual tutoring sessions. Most sessions will occur during our online tutoring club Wednesdays from 4-5pm or Saturdays from 10-11. Focus is on homework help and/or English practice. This is a six-month commitment. For the foreseeable future, no in-person tutoring will be allowed. 

Volunteer Onboarding Process 

It usually takes 4-5 weeks to get started as a World Relief Chicago volunteer. We've moved our onboarding process online. Here's how it works: 

1. Online volunteer application 
2. Info Session Part 1 (self-guided, online) 
3. Info Session Part 2 (live Zoom call with WRC staff) 
4. Phone Interview 
5. Background Check 
6. Start Volunteering 

*Learn more about our info sessions HERE

Ready to Apply?


As you prepare to get started as a volunteer, here are five things you can do TODAY:

  1. Gather a group of friends and read through the new edition of Welcoming the Stranger together. Use our free videos and written guide to launch your group into discussion! 

  2. Learn how to advocate on behalf of refugees and immigrants from Refugee Council USA's advocacy toolkit

  3. Visit a refugee-owned restaurant in Chicago! Download our free refugee-owned restaurant guide

  4. Sign up to receive our monthly prayer guides.

  5. Check out our current in-kind donation needs.



"Volunteering is a learning experience. I learn about the needs of refugees and immigrants, immigration law and policy, and teaching English. Mostly, I learn about the world by getting to know immigrants, their lives, and their stories."

--Paul, World Relief Volunteer


"Serving in the ESL program has helped me love my diverse city even more, and the students inspire and remind me to love my neighbor each week by their joy, enthusiasm, tenacity, and gratefulness."

--World Relief Volunteer


"By volunteering,  have met and been inspired by people who are selfless, compassionate, and brave beyond belief. It has shown me all that we are and all that we can be, if only we reach out a helping hand to others"

--World Relief Volunteer