Intensive Community Orientation AmeriCorps Member Grand Rapids

April 2, 2018

Position Title: Intensive Community Orientation AmeriCorps Member
Member Supervisor: Refugee Health Program Coordinator
Team: Refugee AmeriCorps Initiative
Placement Site: Bethany Christian Services, Grand Rapids, MI
Program Benefits:

  • Living Allowance of $20,000 (distributed over 12 months)
  • Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $5,815, upon successful completion of service
  • Childcare assistance, if applicable
  • Professional Development Opportunities

Work Schedule: The AmeriCorps member is expected to work 35-40 hours per week during business hours (8 am to 5 pm) with lunch breaks and participate in some evening and/or weekend activities as needed.

Church World Service (CWS) is a not-for-profit organization working to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world. To help build and maintain a diverse team, CWS actively seeks candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, use of a guide or support animal, veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law. CWS is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer.

To apply, please visit

Position Description

CWS, in collaboration with Bethany Christian Services, seeks an AmeriCorps member to be placed at Grand Rapids, MI to support and build capacity for intensive community orientation (ICO).

Founded in 1946, CWS is a non-profit and faith-based global humanitarian organization. CWS works in more than 30 countries worldwide to eradicate hunger and poverty, to secure a sustainable future for the displaced and to promote peace and justice. Over the course of its near 70-year history, CWS has assisted 800,000 refugees and parolees to start new lives and integrate into communities across the United States. Through its Immigration and Refugee Program (IRP), CWS assists refugees, asylees, asylum seekers, immigrants throughout the U.S.

CWS provides each adult refugee with cultural orientation (CO) within 90 days of arrival to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes refugees need to adjust and achieve successful integration. AmeriCorps members will focus on at least one of three key topics—housing and/or health —which are pillars of successful resettlement because of their link to refugees’ immediate self-sufficiency and long-term integration.

CWS will engage 11 AmeriCorps members for one year of full-time service (1,700 hours) at 10 local resettlement agencies in Delray Beach, FL, Grand Rapids, MI, Minneapolis, MN, Jersey City, NJ, Durham, NC, Greensboro, NC, Columbus, OH, Lancaster, PA, Harrisonburg, VA and Richmond, VA. The program supports a resettlement environment that promotes refugee integration by enhancing mutual understanding between refugees and their new U.S. communities through ICO, an education program focused on the areas of housing and health to better support refugees in reaching long term integration and self-sufficiency. AmeriCorps members will design, coordinate and deliver intensive community orientation (ICO) for 1,107 refugees, develop 130 new community partnerships and train 100 community individuals on working with refugee populations.

Local Operating Site Overview:

Bethany Christian Services, Grand Rapids, MI

The member will be placed at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids, MI.  Bethany anticipates resettling 260 refugees and assisting approximately 700 refugees through all Refugee Adult & Family programs. Bethany Christian Services’ Refugee Adult & Family Programs provide resettlement services and intensive medical case management for newly arrived refugees.  Bethany also provides Employment Services including English classes, job readiness classes, job development and job placement as well as Post-Resettlement case management and cultural orientation services for refugees in the U.S. less than 5 years.  Additional programs include a Refugee Childcare Provider Network and a Healing Center for Survivors of Torture and Trauma. The AmeriCorps member will design a curriculum (using gathered materials from similar trainings) for intensive cultural orientation for newly arrived refugees in the areas of housing and health. The largest resettlement group in Grand Rapids is the Congolese and there are also a lot of Congolese secondary migrants coming to Grand Rapids. The AmeriCorps member will research the greatest areas of need for intensive cultural orientation regarding housing and health for the Congolese by speaking with case managers, service providers, interpreters, and ethnic community members.  The areas of greatest need within housing and health will be selected to provide intensive cultural orientation.  Although the focus will be on the Congolese, the orientation would be available for other people groups as well.  The member will work with newly arrived refugees in a small group, classroom setting and individually in the home to teach these basic skills and create and administer an assessment to ensure understanding of topics.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Leverage and expand upon existing efforts to address gaps and increase quality and quantity of education in Housing and Health. Coordinate with case managers and the local community to identify clients who need ICO and enroll clients into the necessary ICO education activities.
  • Assess pre-existing cultural orientation, housing and healthcare capacity, resources and programs in your community.
  • Design, coordinate and deliver comprehensive, experiential ICO instruction, leveraging existing resources.
  • Track participant attendance and address barriers to participation.
  • Assess client understanding of ICO topics and work one-on-one with client identified as needing additional training. Update and improve ICO curriculums as necessary.
  • Communicate attendance, assessment outcomes and participant needs to case workers.
  • Research, develop, train and maintain housing and health partnerships within the community.
  • As needed, liaise between clients, the office and community partners to ensure access to and maintenance of stable housing and health.

Program Requirements:

  • Complete 1700 hours in a period of no less than 351 days and no more than 365 days.
  • Consult with your supervisor if you have ideas, issues or concerns, offering analysis and solutions whenever possible
  • Participate in a thorough on-boarding provided at the local level by the direct supervisor and the national level provided by CHWS-HQ.
  • Participate in one-on-one check-ins with CWS-HQ and at least bi-weekly check-ins with your direct supervisor.
  • Participate in monthly Community of Practice webinars to share resources, challenges and best practices with other CWS Refugee AmeriCorps members. Facilitate at least one CoP call and present on a Learn n Share topic.
  • Complete a Member Service Plan (MSP), and participate in professional development activities.
  • Participate and/or coordinate a Day of Service event on/or around World Refugee Day on June 20th.
  • Participate, if offered, in a Refugee AmeriCorps member conference.
  • Submit monthly service logs and reporting documents to CWS-HQ.
  • Respect confidentiality of clients, staff and AmeriCorps members.
  • Adhere to and follow CNCS and CWS regulations of service.
  • Practice sound health habits, including getting sufficient rest, to effectively perform the position requirements.


Skill Requirements:

  • Ability to speak publicly with defined constituencies regarding specific assigned topics.
  • Utilize MS Office (Excel, Word and Access) and Internet applications.
  • Utilize excellent communication skills both in writing and orally. Communicate detailed and/or technical information clearly.
  • Ability to work well with people of diverse backgrounds.
  • Ability to provide culturally sensitive counseling and instruction is required.
  • Strong initiative; self-starter. Ability to creatively problem solve.
  • Previous work/volunteer experience in teaching, refugee resettlement or other direct social services preferred. Curriculum and training development experience preferred.
  • Fluency in Kinyarwanda and/or Swahili is preferred, but not required.

Eligibility Requirements.

  • Members must be at least 18 years of age or 17 years of age with written parental consent.
  • Members must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident or U.S. national.
  • Members must have a High School Diploma, earned an equivalency certificate or obtain a waiver. Members may not have dropped out of elementary or high school.
  • Provide proof of enrollment in a health insurance plan within 30 days of service.
  • Selection into the program will be contingent upon a criminal history check, including the national sex offender public registry, state criminal history registries for locations where the member has lived as well as the service location and an FBI fingerprint check.

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