Contacting the Volunteer Coordinator
Contact information for WRD staff is found here.
Why should I contact the volunteer coordinator?
The volunteer coordinator should be contacted in regards to questions, items or issues concerning volunteering (i.e., filling out volunteer logs, donating items to refugees, completing volunteer assignments, etc.). Don't forget to reference the S.E.R.V.E. Toolkit first with questions.
When should I contact the volunteer coordinator?
The volunteer coordinator should only be contacted during normal business hours (Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) If for some reason you are given the coordinator's personal number for texting purposes, the coordinator is only to be texted during normal work hours, unless otherwise stated. While you can email the coordinator at anytime, please note that the volunteer coordinator will only be available to respond to emails during normal business hours.
Contacting Refugees' Case Specialist:
Why should I contact a refugee's case specialist?
Case specialists should be contacted in regards to questions, items or issues concerning the refugee family with whom a volunteer is partnered (i.e., refugee's contact information, medical questions, information about core services, updates on the family's status, etc.). Don't forget to reference the S.E.R.V.E. Toolkit first with questions. If refugees are having an emergency, they are to contact 911.
When should I contact a refugee's case specialist?
Case specialists should only be contacted during normal business hours (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). If for some reason you are given the case specialist's personal number for texting purposes, the case specialist is only to be texted during normal business hours, unless otherwise stated. Case specialists are to be contacted when the refugee does not have a phone; however, once the refugee gets a phone, volunteers should contact the refugee directly. While you can email the case specialist at anytime, please note that the case specialist will only be available to respond during normal business hours. Case specialists will not normally respond immediately, but will return your email or phone call in a timely manner.
Communicating logistics with Refugees
Keep in mind that many refugees do not have a cell phone for a while after arriving. In this case, your greatest tool is planning in advance. Plan in advance when your next visit will be, and tell them when you will be by again so they can expect you. You can also bring a calendar and schedule visiting days or one-time encounters as an effort to keep everyone informed. Volunteers are welcome to assist newcomers in choosing a phone, and should suggest pay-as-you-go phones rather than two-year contracts. In some cases, newcomers have a family friend or relative (or a U.S. tie) who might have a phone. If this is the case, refugees can communicate via the family friend or relative.
Some of WRD's church partners have liaisons. Church liaisons can be contacted with any questions about partnering with WRD. Contact Sarah Blanchard at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if there is a WRD church liaison at your church, or if you are interested in serving as your church's liaison.
Communicating with WRD:
Communication with WRD staff will occur more often at the beginning of the volunteer experience. If volunteers are facing a challenge or have a concern, they are to email or call the volunteer coordinator.
Communicate with us here at WRD -- we realize that there can be a lot going on at once and we want to help you.
Case specialists are working with refugees daily for the first one to three months of their time in the U.S. Beyond that time period, case specialists are not as connected with refugees, as their cases "closes" beyond that point. Case specialists thoroughly go over a plan for the refugees' lives post case closing. However, volunteers are to remain in extensive friendship with refugees beyond their case closing. Volunteers are to keep in mind that case specialists will not know the details of refugees' lives beyond this time period; in fact, volunteers will know more about refugees than case specialists after three to six months.
Volunteers are encouraged to send case specialists brief, weekly summary updates about the refugees with whom they are working.
Example email from a volunteer to a case specialist:
"I've been in contact with Saeed and he says he started work. We can text with him back and forth which has been very helpful. We will continue to get together with them as our schedules allow (I think he was working all weekend), but I also want to check-in with you to see if they have any other needs right now. Thanks, Debbie"
Volunteers are to email case specialists, not call them.
Case specialists will contact volunteers if they know of a need in the refugees' lives.
Volunteers are welcome to email case specialists inquiring needs of refugees with whom they are working. However, volunteers should also ask refugees their needs directly, rather than going through a case specialist for this information.