“I would never have come to St. Olaf without the aid of some genuine and resourceful individuals. As a refugee from Iraq , education in the United States seems like a foreign idea. However, the Criders household supported me by volunteering to host my family. Since I have no idea how the college system worked here, it was very hard for me to pick a college. My parents did not speak English and knew less about the college system than I did. Despite that, in my Junior year, the family of the Criders decided to help me. They provided me with many books to read and prepared me for the ACT (At the time, my English was very bad but I really wanted to learn, so I read many books).  In the summer of my Junior year, they drove me to colleges in Illinois and prepared me really well for interviews. Later that summer, they drove me to Minnesota and we stayed there for a week to look for colleges. This eventually led me to St.Olaf (It was my last visit), which was the only school that I applied to. Through RAS, I am planning to create a program called the Volunteer Mentoring Program. The goal of the program is to engage St. Olaf Students with immigrants and help them find jobs, education opportunities, and friendship.” – Karem Muksed ’17

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About Arrive Ministries

The Volunteer Mentoring Program will cooperate with Arrive Ministries to serve refugee clientele to help them secure jobs and teach them basic skills necessary for their complete independence in the United States. The money raised in the Cafe Fast will go towards these refugees who require assistance with their everyday lives. This program will facilitate self-sustainability in the refugee community.You can help by donating your meal below.

If you’re interested in assisting with the program, we are looking for volunteers!

VOLUNTEERS serve refugees. You will act as a mentor to a refugee family,  depending on the case, you will provide them services in the following categories such as

Professional Development: Helping refugees identify what skills and strengths they have, either innately or on account of their experiences, is an important step in the job search. Refugees will need to learn how to communicate those skills effectively to potential employers and how to acquire new ones that they are lacking to be employable in the U.S.

Basic skills: Many refugees come to the U.S. lacking basic skills necessary for most jobs (e.g. reading, math, computer, google maps, writing etc.)  Identify which skills client is lacking and offer introductory training accordingly. Focus on  computer (word processing), math (addition, subtraction, fractions, percentages), using internet to find bus routes (google maps),  communication (approaching potential employers),  English (employment vocabulary).

Job Searching: Having limited English, computer access, or knowledge of the Minnesota job market, refugees find it difficult to pursue employment on their own. Teach clients how to search job boards, understand qualification requirements, and complete online applications by recognizing key words and answering questions accurately. This will equip clients to find their second or third employment in the future if they choose to do so.

Interview Coaching: Once we have submitted applications for our clients, the next step in the employment process is an interview. As an interview coach, you will help clients practice phone screenings and teach them how to talk about himself or herself in an interview setting, focusing on tell me about a time when you had to… questions, as refugees find those to be the most challenging.

On-going support: After a client has obtained a job, he or she still needs support in navigating U.S. job culture. Work with the client on employment-specific English vocabulary, dealing with conflict in the workplace, and professional development opportunities to move towards a better position.

Through Arrive Ministries, we are asking for 4-6 week minimum commitment. We will try to accommodate your specific interests (I.e. location, gender, ethnicity, skills) when placing you with a refugee. Our hope is that even after your commitment is up you would still be available to continue on in your relationship with this client.

Information courtesy of Arrive Ministries.

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