Volunteers Needed – Refugee & Immigrant Services & Empowerment (RISE)

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Join Kansas City Public Library's team of RISE volunteers to help KC immigrants and refugees learn English or become citizens! Commit just 2 – 4 hours per week to help patrons increase English proficiency, study for the Naturalization Civics Test, practice for the Naturalization Interview, and so much more.

Volunteering with refugees and immigrants is an enriching experience of building community with a culturally diverse group of people. RISE volunteers will be able to help prospective citizens and English language learners understand the importance of becoming an active, informed community member. These opportunities will also help volunteers develop professional skills, enhance resumes, and allow for networking.

RISE volunteers serve in many capacities. We are currently seeking volunteers for the following positions:

  • English 1: Assist instructor in weekly classes (Thursdays 7-8:30 p.m. and Saturdays 1-2:30 p.m.) that are geared to help students learn basic verb tenses and grammar instruction through culturally relevant units.
  • English for Citizenship Tutor: Assist instructor in weekly classes (Wednesday 6 – 8 p.m.) designed to help patrons develop the English language skills necessary to successfully become U.S. citizens. Help students understand the vocabulary of form N-400 and correctly answer 90% of the USCIS civics questions, while developing their ability to speak and listen at an advanced beginning ELL level.
  • Citizenship Interview Practice Mentor: Work one-on-one with patrons who are applying for U.S. Citizenship, focusing primarily on the eligibility interview itself. Volunteers will help students become more comfortable and confident with English conversational literacy through mock naturalization interviews. For many hoping to become citizens, the interview can be the most nerve wracking part of the entire process.
  • English in Action Conversation Mentor: Work one-on-one with patrons who want to improve their English. Volunteers will meet for two hours per week with the same patron in order to develop a relationship and practice cultural exchange. This can take place at any library branch.
  • English for Vocational Trades - Carpentry: The English for Vocational Trades - Carpentry (EFVTC) Tutor will support the Instructor in teaching a weekly 2-hour class for community members preparing for the St. Louis - Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council Apprenticeship Journeyman (Entry) Test in order to become a Union Carpenter. The tutor will focus on small group work, focusing on language and trade-related math found in the Journeyman (Entry) Test.
  • Conversation Club: The English Language Acquisition Tutor will support the Instructor in teaching a weekly 1-hour conversational English course for members of the community learning English. The Tutor will assist students to feel comfortable practicing conversational English in pairs and small groups, focusing on vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, in a more casual learning environment (less like a traditionally-structured classroom).


  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Experience with literacy coaching, language learning, or tutoring experience preferred
  • Must be a native English speaker/ or have gone through the naturalization process
  • Must be a flexible team player
  • Must be able to work with students of many different skill levels
  • Experience working with non-native English speaking persons a plus
  • Must have a desire and ability to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds
  • Must be patient, kind, and passionate about refugees and immigrants

The Process

Volunteers must complete an application, pass a background check, and complete 2 hours of training to serve. To apply:

For more information, send us an email or call 816.701.3766