The Coalition for Refugee Resettlement (CRR) matches Virginia Tech students with refugees from Burundi, Somalia, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq.

An independent, entirely student-run organization, CRR builds relationships with refugee families and gives student volunteers an opportunity for a hands-on community experience. Students provide in-home tutoring – everything from serving as mentors to providing homework help for kindergartners through high school students, and helping adults learn English and prepare for their naturalization exams.

Volunteer activities vary daily in response to changing needs.  There is also time for fun. After homework is done, volunteers usually play with the children, reading to them or coloring with them. The kids love it when their tutors come over, and the volunteers often build lasting bonds with the families they mentor.

Corinna Clements is a junior who has been involved since her freshman year. “For me, when I found out about this opportunity, I felt like I was really fulfilling a need. Even better, I’m constantly amazed by how joyful the immigrants and refugees are as people. That’s what really drew me in, and why CRR is by far the best experience of my college career.”

Currently in its fourth year, CRR has five site leaders and some 35 volunteers who work with 20 or so families on a weekly basis every semester. CRR provides training and transportation for student volunteers, who often share car rides to and from the neighborhoods they serve.

The spirit behind the effort is collaboration with families.  Students can’t “fix” their problems, and refugees are very strong and want to be empowered.  But by helping with homework and language acquisition, the student volunteers can make a big impact on a family’s trajectory.  Likewise, volunteers report that they learn as much or more from the families than they give. 

For more information, visit www.crr.org.vt.edu or contact

Corinna Clements

Board President

[email protected]