Get Involved: Immigrant & Refugee Center of Northern Colorado

Nov 6, 2017

The Immigrant and Refugee Center of Northern Colorado (IRC) is a local nonprofit that works to help get immigrants and refugees the education and resources needed to help integrate them into their new community.

“They are all coming because of hard situations; they have all come because of war, or persecution. They are a real diverse group of people.” says Mary Orange, a teacher at the center, “but all of them want to improve their English.”

This organization is the product of a recent merger between Right to Read and the Global Refugee Center. Right to Read focused on literacy education, and the Global Refugee Center focused on community navigation and helping immigrants and refugees get the information and documents they needed. The groups merged so one organization can easily provide all that is needed for incoming immigrants and refugees.

The IRC also focuses on helping people become citizens, helping them learn English and pointing them in the right direction to get the proper documents they need. They also work with people to receive GED’s. They also assist with everyday tasks, such as reading their mail and learning about American customs.

A classroom at the IRC
Credit Anna Hunt/KUNC

“We have students from Somalia, Burma, Myanmar, Mexico, and all over South America,” Says Lisa Taylor, the executive director at the IRC “Young students - old students, and religious backgrounds, we have students that have a different sexual orientation. It is really diverse in the truest sense of diversity.”

Their most needed volunteers are those willing to work one on one with students to help them learn English, provide emotional support, and help integrate them into the community. Other volunteer opportunities include one time opportunities such as outreach events or fundraisers. They also provide a little learners program, which allows students to not have to worry about childcare while they are in class.  

“For those who came from abroad,” says Sultan Ahmad, the lead community navigator at the IRC, “they must have a place that they can come and visit and express their feelings.”

To learn more about the Northern Colorado Immigrant and Refugee Center, click here.

To volunteer, click here.