Summer Program Classroom Volunteer



Start Date


End Date


Time Commitment

Part time (10-30 hrs/wk)


Short-Term (few weeks/months)


New Jersey
United States


Background/IRC Summary:  Since 2011, the IRC has resettled hundreds of refugee youth to Elizabeth, New Jersey. The trauma of being forced from their homes, prolonged separation from loved ones, displacement, language barriers and poor or lapsed education compounds the academic challenges faced by refugee youth. IRC currently works with over 100 refugee students enrolled in 17 Elizabeth Public Schools, as well as 4 Roselle Public Schools, with new students arriving each month. IRC’s youth program works in collaboration with schools and families to overcome barriers and promote the academic and social success of refugee students.

Job Overview/Summary: In August 2018, IRC in New Jersey will host a three week summer program focusing on English as a Second Language (ESL) enrichment for refugee youth living in Elizabeth and Roselle, New Jersey. The Refugee Youth Summer Academy (RYSA) will serve up to 90 students in classes, aged 5 – 20, from at least 10 countries. Students will engage in ESL, creative arts, sports, field trips, and other activities. The Classroom Volunteer will work closely with the ESL Lead Teacher and Assistant Teacher to reinforce English language learning with refugee youth in a positive and healing classroom environment. The Classroom Volunteer will work closely with the Lead and Assistant Teacher to practice positive classroom management.

At all grade levels (K-1; 2-4; 5-7; 8-12) Classroom Volunteers will assist with teaching English literacy, and ESL concepts through various activities, and help facilitate other specialized activities such as art, music, and sports. Each Classroom Volunteer is expected to support the Lead Teacher, Assistant Teacher, and classroom psycho-social facilitator as they implement a culturally and age appropriate curriculum for a class of approximately 15 students. Given the varied English levels and formal education experiences of the student body, Classroom Volunteers must be flexible and comfortable with using various methods for teaching and engaging with English Language Learners. Throughout their classroom activities, Classroom Volunteers will be expected to contribute to the program’s goals of fostering students’ English competence and social-emotional development. 

All applicants must be older than 17 and a rising high school senior.

Position term:

Late July/early August: 20 hours of training and preparation (dates and times TBD)

3 weeks in August: 9:00 am-3:30 pm (excluding weekends)


Major Responsibilities:

  • Accompany children on school bus to and from summer program site (AM: board with children at the first stop, ensure bus route runs smoothly, accompany children to classrooms. PM: board with children at the program site, complete bus drop-off, and leave from the last bus stop)
  • With direction from the ESL Lead Teacher and Assistant Teacher, assist with the implementation of a culturally and age appropriate curriculum using student-centered teaching methodologies for English Language Learners at all school levels
  • Reinforce positive classroom management of student behavior
  • Provide support through small group work with students
  • Ensure classroom environment is welcoming, nurturing, and supportive to refugee students and promotes trust and self-esteem building
  • Engage in daily debriefings with psycho-social support staff, youth coordinator, teachers and assistant teachers
  • Assist with daily operations including student arrival and dismissal, lunchtime setup/clean up, and Friday field trips
  • Collaborate effectively with classroom volunteers
  • Act as a positive role model for students and staff
  • Comply with all agency policies and protocols

Key Working Relationships:

Position Reports to: Lead Teacher

Position directly supervises: N/A

Indirect Reporting: Education Specialist and Youth Program Coordinator

Other Internal and/or external contacts: Volunteer Activity Facilitators

Job Requirements:

  • High school diploma or entering senior year of high school
  • Experience providing academic instruction or tutoring services to youth, especially for English Language Learner (ELL) students
  • Cultural competence and cross-cultural or overseas experience desirable
  • Experience working with refugee and/or immigrant populations desirable
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Second Language proficiency in Arabic, Kiswahili, Pashto, Dari, Farsi, Amharic, or French desirable


Working Environment: Travel is necessary to accompany students and staff on field trips.