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  • 4 people are interested

Become a Child Advocate for an Immigrant Child in MI

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ORGANIZATION: The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights

  • 4 people are interested

The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights is seeking volunteers in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Holland, Lansing, and surrounding areas, to support immigrant children in MI. We will host a Volunteer Child Advocate training on Saturday, April 1st, at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, MI. For more information, please get in touch with us at

Mission: The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights aims to promote the best interests of unaccompanied and separated immigrant children. The Young Center serves as a trusted ally for children by accompanying them through court proceedings, advocating for their best interests, and standing for the creation of a dedicated juvenile immigrant justice system that ensures their safety and well-being. Every young immigrant deserves to be safe, and the Young Center advocates that children’s needs are put foremost, and their best interests take priority.

Volunteer Position Responsibilities: A Volunteer Child Advocate is an adult who volunteers to spend time with and advocate on behalf of an individual unaccompanied immigrant child while they are subject to immigration proceedings. The Young Center welcomes all qualified volunteers without regard to race, color, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, ancestry, marital or parental status, pregnancy, citizenship, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, genetic information, or veterans’ status. Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the volunteer application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application. Advocates must be at least 21 years old. We have a particular need for bilingual volunteers who speak languages such as Spanish, Q'eqchi', K'iche', Mam, Chuj, Dari, Pashto, or Portuguese. Other languages welcome.

Volunteer Child Advocate responsibilities include the following:
* Visit with the child each week and advocate for their best interests in collaboration with Young Center staff.
* Help the child think through options and decisions.
* Maintain regular communication with the Young Center staff.
* Continue ongoing communication with the child upon their release from the facility

Volunteer must:
* Participate in the Volunteer Child Advocate training on Saturday, April 1st, 2023, in Kalamazoo, MI.
* Pass an FBI background check and child abuse/neglect check.
* Provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
* Provide proof of negative tuberculosis (TB) result.

Training topics include vicarious trauma, U.S. immigration law, and issues facing unaccompanied immigrant children. Once screened and assigned to an individual child, each Volunteer Child Advocate receives continued training, support, and supervision from Young Center staff.

More opportunities with The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights

No additional volunteer opportunities at this time.

About The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights


2245 S. Michigan Ave., Ste. 301, Chicago, IL 60616, US

Mission Statement

The Young Center is a champion for the best interests of children who arrive in the United States on their own, from all corners of the world. We serve as trusted allies for these children while they are in deportation proceedings, advocating for their best interests, and standing for the creation of a dedicated children’s immigrant justice system that ensures the safety and well-being of every child. Young Center attorneys and social workers, along with bilingual volunteers, are appointed as Child Advocate (guardian ad litem) by the Department of Health and Human Services. Our role is to advocate for their best interests, from custody and release to the ultimate decision about whether the child will be allowed to remain in the U.S. Our goal is to change both immigration policy and practice so that immigrant children are recognized first as children and their best interests are considered in every decision.


The Young Center was founded in Chicago in 2004. The charge was to develop a program to advocate for the best interests of unaccompanied immigrant children-even though US immigration law does not recognize children as distinct from adults.

The program started small. Attorneys and social workers with experience in children’s rights and immigration law supervised bilingual volunteers-Child Advocates-who spoke the children’s languages. They met with the children while they were detained, accompanied them to immigration court and advocated for their best interests every step of the way.

In 2008, Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. One short paragraph provides for the appointment of Child Advocates whose role is to advocate for the child’s best interests, the first mention of the best interests standard for immigrant children.

In 2009, the Young Center opened an office in Harlingen, Texas, on the U.S.-Mexico border. Judges, detention staff, attorneys, even ICE officials began asking for Child Advocates. In 2013 Congress amended the law providing for expansion of the Child Advocate program. Today the Young Center has offices in Houston, San Antonio Phoenix, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York, Harlingen, and Chicago.


Advocacy & Human Rights
Children & Youth
Immigrants & Refugees
Advocacy & Human Rights, Children & Youth, Immigrants & Refugees


We'll work with your schedule.


Multiple locations Grand Rapids, MI 49503



  • Child Development
  • Bilingual
  • Cross-cultural Communication
  • Child Advocacy
  • Spanish
  • Relationship Building




  • Background Check
  • Must be at least 21
  • Orientation or Training
  • Weekly 1-hour visits with the child the volunteer is appointed to. Volunteers write weekly case notes and have periodic check-in calls with their Child Advocate Supervisor and the Volunteer Coordinator.
  • -Be at least 21 years old -Complete online training modules -Participate in a one day virtual training on Saturday, April 1st in Kalamazoo, MI -Pass a background check and child abuse/neglect central registry check

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