The possibilities for meaningful interaction with Refugees of all ages are only limited by the boundaries of one’s imagination. Groups are encouraged to evaluate the gifts, talents and resources within their ranks, and then construct a plan that will allow the expression of those gifts, talents and resources in an enjoyable and memorable event or series of events. These events are not meant to be ends in themselves, but are meant as opportunities to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ; and to break down communication barrios, opening opportunities for personal interaction, conversation and witness. Follow-up visits are strongly encouraged and long-term connections with visited families or activity participants are most valuable and most productive in establishing the refugee and his or her family into their new life in the United States, and maybe even into new life in Jesus Christ. That’s our goal! This venture is all about being Jesus’ hands extended to the most vulnerable, displaced, lonely people in the world. God bless you as you come with godly purpose and with Christian compassion.
Suggestions for Mission Volunteer Group Activities with World Relief (WR), Fort Worth
Mission volunteers will be divided into groups of 3-4 people and sent to visit refugee families. Normally a roster will be distributed that identifies Match Grant families and available information will be given about each family on the list. Each group will then be assigned to visit 2-3 families during the time allotted. Specific instruction will be given as to suggested length of visits, what to expect, how to react and how to make the time most productive. *This activity has been successfully implemented with 2 to 70 volunteers.
Mission volunteers will host a soccer (or other sporting) event that will be held on the available paved court areas in the large apartment complex where many refugees are living. Teams are divided giving consideration to the age, size and talent of the participants (high school age and older; middle school and younger). *This activity has been successfully implemented with 4 or more volunteers who have a moderate to high level of competency in the sport being taught, coached and played.
Mission volunteers will provide crafts and games for participating refugee children. Activities similar to those used in a Vacation Bible School, Back Yard Club or Sunday School Picnic event are used to teach life lessons and spiritual/biblical principles. The event may also include a story time and snack, all planned and provided by the volunteers. *This activity has been successfully implemented by both high school and adult volunteer groups of 5 to 10 volunteers.
Mission volunteers will provide a “bigger” version of the “Kid’s Club” event described above, including games and activities fitting for all ages. In the past, some church groups have provided inflatables and other small scale carnival apparatuses for their festival events. *This activity has been successfully implemented by high school and adult groups of 10 to 20 volunteers.
Mission volunteers will carefully select an appropriate movie and provide a “movie night” experience. This can be planned either in the club house or outside on the paved court area, and the movie can be preceded or followed by a discussion time in which life lessons or spiritual/ethical/biblical principles can be magnified through discussion either in small groups or with everyone together. Volunteers might consider providing pop-corn or other treats and cold drinks for the participating refugees. *This activity has been successfully implemented by as few as 3 to 5 volunteers; but more will be needed if small group discussions are planned.
Mission volunteers will assist in setting up one or more apartment(s) in preparation for the arrival of one or more refugee family(s). In most cases, the WR case worker will have all the furnishings and supplies gathered into the apartment. The volunteers will then set up, organize and decorate the apartment. Since WR only provides basic furnishings and some toiletries, the Mission group may wish to supply curtains for the windows, pictures/artwork for the walls and some basic food items. *This activity has been successfully implemented by 4 to 6 people per apartment.
Mission volunteers will follow the case worker to the airport to welcome newly arriving refugees to America and potentially accompany them to their apartment. The airport greeters may be the same volunteers that set up the apartment, since an emotional connection may already have been established. On the other hand, the airport greeters may volunteer specifically for the purpose of greeting the family and making them feel welcome. Often, having invested in this/these way(s) the group will wish to maintain an ongoing relationship with the new refugee family. *This activity has been successfully implemented by 4 to 6 people per arriving family.
Mission volunteers will meet with the WR Donations Coordinator at the WR storage unit where they will assist in loading and then delivering donated items to the apartments of Match Grant families. The group will then spend time with the refugee family(s) to whom the deliveries are made. *This activity has been successfully implemented by 2 to 4 people per apartment delivery.
Mission volunteers will go to garage/yard sales, hunting for specific items that are needed for apartment setups. It may be that, if the group is large and can be divided into two or more teams, the event can become a contest to see which team is able to acquire the most/best items for the least money. The acquired items will then be delivered to designated Refugee apartments, where the group will spend time with each Refugee family that benefits from the donation. *This activity can be successfully implemented by 2 or more people, the number limited only by the volume of items needed at the time.
Mission volunteers will provide discussion and/or tutoring sessions with Refugees. These sessions will be offered and tailored to groups of all ages, and can deal with subjects such as American culture, American sporting events, academic tutoring, and etc. “Hands-on” experience and/or related activities will make the event more beneficial and memorable. *This activity can be successfully implemented by 3 to 12 people.
Mission volunteers will set up and conduct an “open-mic” event, either in the WR club house or on the paved court area. Sound equipment for the event can be arranged by WR or can be provided by the volunteer group as desired. Group members should be prepared to participate or demonstrate the kinds of “talent” that can be presented on microphone. *This activity can be successfully implemented by 4 or more people.