Intensive Community Orientation AmeriCorps Member

February 14, 2017

Position Title: Intensive Community Orientation AmeriCorps Member
Reports To: Refugee Resettlement Supervisor & CWS HQ
Team: Refugee AmeriCorps Initiative
Placement Site: Bethany Christian Services, Grand Rapids, MI
Benefits: Living Allowance of $20,000 (distributed over 12 months), Education Award of $5,775, Professional Development Opportunities
Work Schedule: The member is expected to work 35 hours per week on a 9AM – 5PM schedule and participate in some early morning, evening, holiday and weekend activities related to ICO 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. CWS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability or veteran status in employment or in the provision of services.

To Apply:
Please visit the link below to apply directly online to this position.

Please note that CWS does not accept resumes for positions that are not posted.  All applicants are required to submit their resume using the on-line applicant tracking system.

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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).

The Intensive Community Orientation AmeriCorps member position is part of a national AmeriCorps program managed by CWS and funded by a joint partnership between the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The program engages 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. Members will:

  1. develop and/or enhance ICO Curriculums and education activities in the areas of housing and health;
  2. coordinate ICO activities, including the instruction of ICO workshops, scheduling and tracking of participants;
  3. Recruit and manage volunteers to assist with ICO;
  4. Build partnerships and train community organizations and individuals in working with refugee populations.

AmeriCorps members are expected to participate in on-boarding trainings, monthly Community of Practice Calls (CoP) calls, quarterly check-ins with CWS HQ, Day of Service events, and, if offered, the AmeriCorps conference. Members are required to complete a Member Service Plan and participate in professional development opportunities.

Local Operating Site Overview: Bethany Christian Services, Grand Rapids, MI

Bethany anticipates resettling 420 refugees and assisting approximately 800 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 for refugees in the U.S. less than 5 years.  Additional programs include Health Programs (intensive medical case management) and Healing Center for Survivors of Torture and Trauma. The AmeriCorps member will enhance and revise curriculum for intensive cultural orientation for newly arrived refugees. Topics will include pest management, proper food storage, how and when to contact the landlord, basic home maintenance, universal precautions and the connection between health and cleanliness, personal hygiene, and dealing with cultural stress. 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 the quality and quantity of education in, and access to safe, affordable housing and essential health information.
  • Design and coordinate comprehensive ICO education activities in housing and health. Lead classroom and community-based ICO activities in group or individual settings, engaging volunteers as appropriate.
  • Coordinate with case managers to identify clients who can be enrolled in ICO. Access client understanding of ICO topics and work one-on-one with clients identified as needing additional training.
  • Recruit and train volunteers to assist in the implementation of ICO, such as ICO instructors, interpreters, transportation assistance, child care, tutors, mentors and classroom assistants.
  • Research, develop, train and maintain housing and health partnerships within the community. Work with community partners to improve access to culturally competent services for clients in housing and health and improved understanding of client needs.
  • Train community individuals through community ICO on how to better support refugee populations.

Program Requirements: Do not Edit.

  • Complete 1700 hours in a period of no less than 351 days and no more than 365 days.
  • 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 quarterly 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.
  • Adhere to and follow CNCS and CWS regulations of service.


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.
  • Ability to work well with people of diverse backgrounds. Previous experience with refugees and/or language skills in one of the refugee languages is preferred.
  • 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.

AmeriCorps 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.
  • In order to serve in the Refugee AmeriCorps Initiative, members must 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.

For more information:

  • On CWS, visit us on the web at
  • On Bethany Christian Services, visit
  • On the Refugee AmeriCorps Initiative and its work contact Ella Fowler, CWS HQ Refugee AmeriCorps Program Specialist, at 212/870.2648 or or Kristine Van Noord, Bethany Christian Services Refugee Adult & Family Program Manager, at 616.965.8063 or