• 27 people are interested

Cultural Companion

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ORGANIZATION: Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS)

  • 27 people are interested

The Cultural Companions program pairs a community member and an IRIS refugee adult client to meet regularly outside of the IRIS office (typically either in the home of the refugee and/or the volunteer). Cultural Companions should be prepared to practice reciprocal hospitality and actively seek to learn from their Refugee Companion rather than seeking to be a tutor or mentor, although previous ESOL tutoring experience comes in handy! Companions can also choose to serve with a friend or family member and be paired with a refugee couple or family.

Refugees chosen to participate in this program often speak little to no English and may struggle with health or family issues that keep them from meeting people outside their home, or may simply desire to meet and spend time with a friend who is more familiar with America than they are.

Goals for the program are to practice conversational English, exchange cultural backgrounds and ideas, explore outside the refugees’ home and visit places of interest in New Haven, and ultimately, build a lasting friendship. For this reason, a Cultural Companion must commit to meeting with their Refugee Companion for at least three hours per week for a minimum of six months with the hope that you may continue meeting if your time together has gone well. This time commitment is extremely important, and we ask that you carefully consider whether your schedule can fit such a commitment.

We are specifically looking for people in New Haven PROPER.

13 More opportunities with Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS)

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About Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS)


235 Nicoll St, New Haven, CT 06511, US

Mission Statement

The mission of IRIS is to enable refugees and other displaced people to establish new lives, regain hope, and contribute to the vitality of Connecticut’s communities.


In fiscal year 2016, the U.S. government invited 97,263 refugees from all over the world to come to this country. Over 900 came to Connecticut, where they were placed with one of three refugee agencies, including IRIS, which welcomed 475. Their needs are significant and IRIS is their primary resource as they begin to rebuild their lives after years of persecution and displacement. IRIS helps refugees on the road to self-sufficiency by providing lifesaving support during their transition to life in the United States
IRIS provides a wide array of services to these new Americans including daily English lessons, education and youth programs, access to health care and a thorough multi-day cultural orientation. IRIS also works intensively with each new arrival to begin the important work of finding employment. IRIS attempts to meet all of the needs of its clients by providing extra services including a women’s group and a variety of young people’s groups. And if family members have been left behind, our legal office will work to reunite them.


Advocacy & Human Rights
Immigrants & Refugees
Advocacy & Human Rights, Community, Immigrants & Refugees


We'll work with your schedule.


235 Nicoll Street, 2nd FloorNew Haven, CT 06511



  • People Skills
  • Cross-cultural Communication
  • Relationship Building
  • Verbal / Written Communication
  • Community Outreach


  • People 55+


  • Background Check
  • Must be at least 17
  • Orientation or Training
  • 6 month minimum

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