Help Refugees Learn English

Most refugees are faced with the challenge of having to navigate through life in Portland while not being able to speak English when they first get here. Understanding and speaking English is the biggest priority once refugees are initially transitioned, as they’re expected to become self-sufficient within the first eight months. It’s the biggest factor in being able to work and support themselves.

We partner with organizations that have existing ESL and tutoring programs that we support, and recommend volunteering with one of the programs below.

Pamoja House
Pamoja House is a multicultural organization serving the diverse immigrant community in the SW Portland area through education, counseling, and vocational services. They specialize in ESL, driver’s education, tutoring, and citizenship classes. There are a variety of men’s and women’s class offerings, scheduled on varying days and times. Location: 11830 SW Kerr Pkwy, Ste. 100, Lake Oswego, OR 97035. Contact: 503.467.6882 or info@pamojahouse.org.

Homework Club at International Teams
Help refugee and immigrant children ages pre-school through eighth grade with their math, reading, writing and English. This tutoring center is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from at Barberry Village (188th & Burnside). Volunteers must be able to commit to at least two days per month for four months. No prior experience is required. Background checks and a one-time, 30 minute training is required. Contact: lindsey.boulais@iteams.org.

Tutoring at Davis Elementary
Tutor immigrant and refugee parents on Fridays from at Davis Elementary School in Rockwood. They tutor in ESOL and computer literacy, and create a welcoming environment for the parent community at Davis (which has a large refugee population). All long-term volunteers will need to complete a background check with the Reynolds School District. Contact: danielle.l.mayfield@gmail.com.

RIHO Welcome Center
Volunteer at the RIHO Welcome Center, an inclusive and supportive place where refugees and immigrants can connect with one another and learn how to access community resources and where the general public can become an integral part of welcoming newcomers. Help tutor refugee and immigrant children or assist with English classes for parents. No prior experience is required. Background checks and a one-time training is required. Location:16126 SE Stark St, Portland, Oregon, OR 97233. Contact: info@rihonw.org

Friends of Refugees: ESL Classes (at SW Bible Church in Beaverton)
ESL classes in the Beaverton area on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. There are volunteer opportunities for greeters, drivers, childcare, and tutors. Other volunteer options exist outside of ESL, such as citizenship classes, homework help for children, driving lessons, and more. Contact: saharajones5@gmail.com.