Refugee Transitions is looking for committed and culturally sensitive volunteers to become Literacy Coaches in the California Bay Area - in the East Bay, South Bay, and San Francisco.  As a Literacy Coach, you have the option of working with clients in either our adult or youth program for home-based or after-school tutoring.  For more on our programs, click here. Coaches provide critical support to low-income, high needs refugee and immigrant families living in the Bay Area and play a central role in helping the agency service its mission.  Volunteering with Refugee Transitions is a great way to help your community and make a direct impact on the lives of others.


To fill out a volunteer application, please click here or click on the button below.  Join us in the South Bay and a generous supporter will donate $500 to Refugee Transitions on your behalf!



We are looking for advocates, cultural ambassadors, teachers, tutors, and mentors.  We are looking for individuals with a commitment to our mission and a willingness to serve our community.  More than likely, we are looking for you!  RT Literacy Coaches represent a range of backgrounds, ages, and experiences. While welcomed, previous tutoring experience and/or foreign language training is not necessary. 


Mandatory requirements

  • Attendance at two initial trainings before being matched with a client, plus one additional training within the first 6 months
  • Ability to meet with your student 2-4 hours per week  
  • Six month minimum commitment for Literacy Coaches working with adults*
  • Nine month minimum commitment for Literacy Coaches working with youth*
  • One semester minimum commitment for volunteers working at a school site*
  • Cultural sensitivity 
  • Dedication, patience, and the ability to provide your student with reliable support
  • Enthusiasm and a desire to help refugee and immigrant students 

Useful skills (not required)

  • Knowledge of a second language
  • Cross-cultural experience
  • Prior experience working with refugees or immigrants
  • Teaching experience

*PLEASE NOTE: We require a minimum six month commitment for Literacy Coaches working with adults, and a minimum nine month commitment for those working with youth (or at least one semester commitment for those tutoring at one of our after school programs).  As many of our clients have endured considerable upheaval in their lives, we stress this obligation in order to provide a stable and supportive learning environment.  RT encourages Literacy Coaches to extend this commitment, and we find that long-term volunteer-student relationships are particularly beneficial.  


  • Develop valuable teaching, mentorship, and advocacy skills
  • Receive prompt, quick, and professional support from our team of dedicated staff
  • Receive extensive training and resources on a range of topics relevant to refugees and immigrants
  • Gain substantial cross-cultural experience and develop your foreign language/ESL skills
  • Expand your network of socially-active individuals
  • Volunteer on your own time: Literacy Coaches are free to set their schedule with their student
  • Make a direct impact immediately: our Literacy Coaches are on the front lines of our work and make meaningful contributions to other peoples' lives
  • It's fun!


Refugee Transitions requires a multi-step application and orientation process in order to ensure that our Literacy Coaches are confident, committed, and capable. 

►Step 1:  Fill out a Literacy Coach application 

Take the first step to becoming an RT Literacy Coach and apply today!

►Step 2:  Attend a Refugee Transitions Orientation in the East Bay, South Bay, or San Francisco

The RT Orientation explains the resettlement process of refugees and asylees in the United States; the challenges that low income immigrants face in the Bay Area; Refugee Transitions' mission; the services that we offer; and the backgrounds and needs of our clients. To view upcoming Orientation dates, or to RSVP, please visit our calendar page or contact us

►Step 3:  Attend a Youth or Adult Training

After your RT Orientation, we ask that you attend a Training. We will provide you with relevant curriculum material and teaching resources.  You can find upcoming Training dates on our calendar page.   

►Step 4:  Interview and Screening Process

After attending the Orientation and Training, an RT staff member will contact you to set up an interview.  This interview allows us to learn more about you and your motivation for volunteering with Refugee Transitions.  The interview also allows you to discuss your volunteering preferences so that we can better match you with an appropriate student. In addition to this interview, we ask all potential volunteers to complete a Live Scan (fingerprintering) background check as part of the screening process.  Please note: completion of the interview and screening process does not assure placement as a volunteer.   

►Step 5:  The Match (For Home-Based Literacy Coaches) 

Once you have been trained and oriented to the organization, our staff will match you with a student.  This process can take anywhere from two to four weeks, depending on your preferences and student availability.  A member of our staff will accompany you on your match date to meet the student in his/her home.  Here you will establish a schedule and finalize any last details.  

►Step 6:  You're ready to start!

Now you are ready to assume your role as a Refugee Transitions Literacy Coach!  Our Volunteer Coordinators and staff are always available to answer any questions and to provide you with the support you need.  Additionally, we ask that you attend one supplementary training of your choice during the first six months of your service as a Literacy Coach.