Helping Refugees as a Volunteer: Part III


There are nine major “VOLAGS” (voluntary agencies for resettlement of refugees) currently doing most of the paperwork and receiving federal funding in the United States right now.

Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC)

     While the ECDC was created in the 1980s primarily to serve Ethiopians (at a time when there was an overwhelming need for help for Ethiopians fleeing a brutal dictator and widespread famine), it now serves refugees from multiple cultures and countries. Main offices:

ECDC African Community Center (Arlington, Virginia and Silver Spring, Maryland)
Telephone: (703) 685-0510

ECDC African Community Center (Denver, Colorado)
Telephone:  (303) 399-4500   

ECDC African Community Center (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Telephone:  (702) 836-3324

Important advice for want-to-be volunteers:

Following is a list of local agencies that work with the ECDC. Don’t call ECDC itself; call these agencies directly. I know from personal experience that with some of these agencies you may have difficulty reaching the right person, so just be persistent. If possible, show up at the agency’s physical address and try to get connected with the right person. So many of the caseworkers or department heads are so overwhelmed with work that they may not immediately seem friendly or welcoming, but they do welcome help if you are clear about what you’re interested in helping with or what times you’re available. Again, BE PERSISTENT and be kind, realizing the incredible overload of work these people are facing every day.

Arizona Immigrant and Refugee Services, Phoenix, AZ
Telephone:  (602) 944-1821

East African Community of Orange CountyAnaheim, CA
Telephone: (714) 254-8880

Alliance for African AssistanceSan Diego, CA
Telephone:  (619) 286-9052

Coptic Orthodox Charities, Inc.Clearwater, FL
Telephone:  (727) 785-3551

Ethiopian Community Association of ChicagoChicago, IL
Telephone:  (773) 508-0303

Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center, Jamaica Plain, MA 
Telephone:  (617) 238-2430
Worcester, MA  
Telephone:  (508) 756-7557

Della Lamb Community ServicesKansas City, MO
Telephone: (816) 842-8040

Southern Sudan Community AssociationOmaha, NE
Telephone:  (402) 554-0759

North Carolina African Services CoalitionGreensboro, NC
Telephone:  (336) 574-2677

Acculturation for Justice, Access and Peace OutreachPittsburgh, PA
Telephone: (412) 391-4985

Nashville International Center for EmpowermentNashville, TN
Telephone:  (615) 315-9681

Alliance for Multicultural Community ServicesHouston, TX
Telephone:  (713) 776-4700

Pan-African Community AssociationMilwaukee, WI
Telephone: (414) 442-5864


  1. […] of these local agencies work with multiple VOLAGs–and for the meaning of that term, check out Part III). For more tips on specific volunteer ideas, read the beginning of Part I and Part II of this […]


  2. […] to be persistent and kind when you have difficulty reaching the right person in the agency (Part III), ideas for things you may do as a volunteer (Part II), and some brief encouragement (Part […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: