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volunteer spotlight

"I love volunteering at SFIHS because it’s such a great group of kids."
- Lauren Nazario, RT Volunteer

Lauren is an after-school tutor at San Francisco International High School (SFIHS) and is always an enthusiastic and positive presence in the tutoring room. Thanks Lauren for being an exemplary volunteer!

To read more from our dedicated volunteers, click here.


Click here to check out our blog and get the latest news on what we're up to at Refugee Transitions!

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Refugee Transitions' Bridge-2-Success Youth Development Program includes the following components:


Home-Based Tutoring

After School Tutoring

Refugee Youth Leadership Corps

Summer Camp


For more information about each of these components, please click on the appropriate link above.



Our home-based tutoring program provides youth in local refugee and immigrant communities with the help and opportunities they need to develop supportive relationships with adults and peers, succeed academically, and develop leadership skills. Trained volunteers provide home-based tutoring and mentoring, while our staff works to ensure our students graduate from high school and continue their education.


Volunteers are asked to work with their students for a minimum of nine months, meeting for 2-4 hours each week. Schedules are arranged between the volunteer and student. We try to match volunteers with a student who lives in a convenient location, although there are no guarantees. Volunteers must attend a prepartory Orientation and Training. Find out more information about how to get involved as a volunteer.


Over 80% of the youth enrolled in our home-based tutoring program have developed healthy relationships with adult role models, significantly improved their reading and math skills, and increased their understanding of the U.S. educational system.


Refugee Transitions introduced after school programming for refugee and immigrant youth beginning with a tutoring program at Oakland International High School (OIHS) in 2007, where there are now over 50 students attending on any given day. In 2009, we introduced a similar program at San Francisco International High School (SFIHS).  Due to the success at OIHS and SFIHS, RT also offers after school tutoring at Roosevelt Middle School in Oakland.

Students attending after school tutoring receive individualized support, as trained tutors assist with completing homework assignments and general mentoring.  We are looking for eager volunteers to help out, especially in Oakland.  


Volunteers are asked to make a minimum commitment to tutor at an after school program for one consistent day each week. Program hours for each school site are listed below. Volunteers must attend a preparatory Orientation and Training.  For more information on how to get involved, view our page on volunteering.

Program hours in Oakland:
Roosevelt Middle School - T/Th from 3 - 5:30 pm
United For Success Academy - W from 3:30 - 5 pm and F from 1:30 - 5 pm
Oakland International High School - M/T/Th from 3 - 5 pm and W from 12:30 - 3 pm 

Program hours in South Bay:
Wilcox High School - T/Th 2:30 - 4:30 pm
Santa Clara High School - M/W 2:30 - 4:30 pm 

Program hours in San Francisco:
San Francisco International High School - M/T/Th/F from 3:30 - 6 pm, and W from 1:30 - 6 pm 
Only offered on Mondays & Wednesdays



"As we continue to develop our after school model, we are seeing more and more impact from Refugee Transitions’ tutoring program. This work is not only providing targeted intervention for our students with limited schooling and those with the least proficiency in English, it is also a powerful intervention and positive support for students who would normally be on the streets after school. We are confident that we will continue to see more and more benefits from this program."

- Sonia Geerdes, Principal, San Francisco International High School

"Refugee Transitions has worked with OIHS since its planning phase to identify the needs of refugee students and build academic and non-academic programs and find outside resources that would help address these needs. We have partnered in building the tutoring program from a one-day-a-week study session with eight students to a 4-days-a-week service that serves over 40 students at a time. Refugee Transitions has also partnered with OIHS in fundraising, and has provided staff members with insight into the particular history and needs of our refugee population. In general, Refugee Transitions is a top-notch program to work with. Their work is timely, of excellent quality, and meets the needs of students and staff."

- Carmelita Reyes, Principal, Oakland International High School

"Dear tutoring, You are so kind! To help me with my homework. Thank you for all your help! I feel if I don’t have the help of all the teachers in tutoring, maybe I can’t finish my work on time. Thank you for taking the time to help me."

- Student, Oakland International High School

Teacher comments about the impact of tutoring on students:

"R.'s world seems to partially revolve around tutoring and it is so amazing how much she has opened up and knows she is supported by all of the Refugee Transitions tutors."

"I think J. has benefited a lot from attending tutoring. He is more confident and participates much more in class. He refused to talk publicly before and then in December he presented his portfolio in front of the whole class!"

"A. participates more in class. Her dictation quizzes have improved. She is becoming more confident in answering questions and using English."


The Refugee Youth Leadership Program (RYLP) provides leadership training and support to refugee youth who already serve as leaders and a source of support in their communities. The RYLP provides refugee youth with a structured environment in which to learn leadership skills, network with other young leaders, receive academic guidance and counseling, develop peer tutoring skills, and learn how to link their communities to existing local resources. These youth serve as ambassadors from the refugee community to Refugee Transitions and local service providers.



Refugee Transitions holds two summer camp weekends - one for boys, and one for girls - in San Francisco’s Presidio Park, and a two-week long enrichment camp in the South Bay (in partnership with Soccer Without Borders). Youth from different nations come together for these camps and have a blast making friends and enjoying the outdoors. Summer can be a particularly difficult time for newly arrived refugee youth, and our camps provide them with a much-needed opportunity to participate in enriching activities, appreciate the natural beauty of the Bay Area, practice their English, and have fun in a safe, supportive environment. 

At our overnight weekend camps, campers set up tents, sleep under the stars, cook meals, build campfires, play games, sing songs, explore the beach, hike through the park, and learn about conservation. 

At our two-week day camp in the South Bay, youth participate in a variety of activities - working on art projects, writing stories, honing their English skills, and playing games and sports. This is a time for youth to share their culture with others and make lasting friendships with those who have gone through similarly difficult experiences.  

Camp is open to Refugee Transitions students who are already receiving home-based or after-school tutoring assistance, as well as youth on our waitlist.