FAQ: Community engagement

USAHello’s “Get involved” pages provide information about advocacy, volunteering, and creating a welcoming community.

audience talking at community meeting
Photo: iStock/SDI Productions

Start here to answer your questions about community engagement.

How can I find volunteer opportunities in my community?

If you live in an area with large newcomer communities, you will find local organizations that may need your help. Search FindHello for organizations that help refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers. Find ideas for welcoming activities. Learn how to be a mentor. Think about community partnerships that can create opportunities for newcomers.

How can I talk to people in my community who are concerned about immigration? How can I fight discrimination and bullying?

Some ways of talking to people are far more effective than others – you will have more success in changing hearts and minds if you listen first, find common ground, address values rather than policies, and focus on economics. Learn about effective messaging and communication.

How can I be an advocate for immigrant, asylum and refugee causes?

You can work both nationally and locally to advocate for fair immigration policies and opportunities for immigrant Americans. You can join organizations, sign petitions, submit comments on legislation, and organize events. On a more personal level, you can learn how to talk to community members who have concerns about immigration. By raising awareness in your community, you can help to make your community more inclusive.

Can my community become a welcoming community?

Welcoming America offers membership to its network of governments and organizations. Members commit to advancing welcoming efforts in their community, and they receive training to create their framework. You will need the support of your local government or an appropriate nonprofit to join the network. Welcoming America also partnered with the New American Economy to create Gateways for Growth Challenge that helps communities develop economically successful, diverse communities.

Can I mentor a newcomer or an immigrant family?

The role of a mentor can take many forms. Mentoring among newcomers means making someone feel valued, heard, respected, and supported – especially someone who is isolated by culture, language, or circumstances. Find out more about mentoring and how to establish healthy boundaries.

How can I sponsor an immigrant college student?

Unless you know one personally, the most effective way to sponsor a college student could be through a local college foundation or community foundation. Instead of focusing on one individual, a foundation can create a scholarship in your name. Find an accredited community foundation near you, or speak to your community college. You can also look at our scholarships page to see where and how personal foundations are helping immigrant students.

How can my business recruit and employ new Americans?

If you live in an area with a large newcomer population, a good first step would be to contact local organizations that provide services or training to newcomers. These include resettlement offices, government job centers, Goodwill training centers, English and citizenship programs, and human services organizations.

In your recruitment process, make it clear that you welcome newcomers. Consider offering English classes, computer training, and other programs that help newcomers succeed – you can collaborate with a local college or contact the New American Workforce project that supports employers who help their employees succeed.

How do I help people at the US-Mexico border?

Helping to fund the organizations and people who are already working at the border is the most effective contribution you can make, unless you can volunteer your skills as a lawyer, a medical professional, or an interpreter of Spanish or indigenous languages. Here are some border organizations that can use your help.

Can I offer a home to refugees or asylum seekers?

Airbnb’s Open Homes program for refugees connects nonprofits helping newcomers to homeowners who want to offer free temporary housing. You can also directly contact relief agencies and nonprofits serving immigrants. Use FindHello to find organizations working with newcomers in your area.

Can I adopt or foster unaccompanied minors?

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services oversees the placement and care of unaccompanied, refugee, and immigrant children through a national network of 12 state-licensed foster care programs. Learn how to become a foster parent to unaccompanied children.

I am an immigrant – how can I help other newcomers?

As an immigrant yourself, you can bring an extra level of help and understanding to mentoring new arrivals in the United States. Introducing people to the community, offering interpretation and translation, helping to navigate systems – all of these are valuable supports. You can also help by translating some of our pages into your native language.

How can I volunteer with USAHello?

We have several opportunities for volunteers at USAHello. We value the skill and dedication our volunteer translators bring to our website. We can also use your local knowledge to build up our FindHello database of community services. Find volunteer opportunities with USAHello.

Where can I find facts and figures that are non-political and accurate?

These organizations provide trustworthy data:

USAHello’s get informed pages use these trusted sources and others to answer your questions.

What resources do you have for people working with immigrants?

These resources will help volunteers or professionals interacting in newcomer communities: