Many refugees come into our city with little to no education, little to no English language skills and little to no job skills. The culture and everyday life skills in America are very different to them creating additional challenges. There are ways we can help which involves teaching refugees a variety of basic skills. If you speak English, have an education and have lived in America, you probably have the skills necessary to help us help them. Surprisingly, we have had clients enter in to our American Life and Language Classes that have never held a pencil before and it’s truly exciting when they can finally write out the letters in their name in the correct order and on the lines. America has a lot of paper formalities which requires us to sign our name on doctors forms, immigration forms, housing and lease agreements, job applications, bank records, etc. Our paperwork processes also require us to have an understanding of many written policies, regulations, agreements, forms and financial responsibilities. Having a basic level of understanding in the areas listed below will help our clients tremendously. Asha’s Refuge has a goal to teach these skills. We need your help. If could help lead teach or tutor (provide one on one or one with two client tutoring following along in a class as a lead teacher teaches) in any of the areas we have listed, please complete our volunteer application. You may also contact our volunteer coordinator, Deborah Eaton at .
English Language & Handwriting For Adults
Refugee woman receiving help learning english

American Life & Language Classes

Asha’s Refuge holds English Conversation Classes at Highland Heights Baptist Church in the Binghampton area from 10-12:30 am each Thursday. We have a van that picks up refugees with their preschoolers at 9am and takes them to class.

Many of the adult refugees have never had the opportunity to be educated. Before entering into America, most lived in refugee camps. Many of them were born in the refugee camps where their daily routine was very different from what they are expected to be able to do once they are here in America. Most of our friends have never had to pay bills, go to school, take care of a house, complete paper documents or drive a car. Most of our friends do not speak English. Learning the English language takes a lot of practice and time. Successfully resettling in America for each refugee comes with a lot of challenges. Our Asha’s Refuge volunteer teachers work with each refugee to help build their English vocabulary, handwriting and reading skills and their confidence in everyday English conversation.

Refugee learning from volunteer to write in English Asha's Refuge volunteer teaching an English class to Refugees Refugee learning to write in English

While working with the adult refugees, we are often asked to help our friends with many additional needs such as: completing forms and applications, registering their children or themselves in school, understanding their bills, understanding the bus system, making appointments or visiting the doctor. Our Asha’s Refuge volunteer teaching staff works together to also encourage refugees to build on the skills they already know such as sewing, cooking, gardening, jewelry making or art. There is often class time taken to teach refugees a new craft or help them to better understand things like our American culture, job and social skills, apartment living, good hygiene and various life skills. The English Conversation Classes allow us a great opportunity to practice English skills in a very practical way.
Kindergarten Readiness for Preschoolers
Refugee child receiving help learning english

Kindergarten Readiness

Asha’s Refuge has a Kindergarten Readiness program for the preschool aged refugee children who’s mother’s attend our English Conversation classes. This program is designed to help prepare children from about the age of 2-1/2 years old to 5 for a successful Kindergarten experience. Refugee preschoolers are often enrolled into the American school system with no previous school or structural understanding. Our Asha’s Refuge preschool coordinators and volunteers work with each preschooler to guide and teach them preschool English vocabulary, social skills, age appropriate health, hygiene and life skills, and positive behavioral habits.

A lot of the teaching in our Kindergarten Readiness class involves showing each child love and building their English vocabulary. If a child feels loved and can appropriately communicate his or her feelings in school we feel it will give them the confidence and skills needed for them to not only successful resettle in America but to have a future full of hope.

Refugee learning from volunteer to write in English Asha's Refuge volunteer teaching an English class to Refugees Refugee learning to write in English

Currently this preschool program occurs each Thursday from 9:30-12:30pm each Friday at 5645 Spring Lake Road inside Hope Church. If you would like to help us or donate to the success of this program please through PayPal. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

There are many ways you can volunteer to help us with our preschoolers in our Kindergarten Readiness program. Here are a few needs we currently have:

Prepare Simple Crafts for Kindergarten Readiness Class

While refugee mothers are practicing their English, their preschoolers are being prepared for what to expect when they go to Kindergarten. So many refugee preschoolers arrive their first day in an American Kindergarten class totally unprepared for what lies ahead of them. They are often behind with some basic preschool skills, do not speak English and are in need of understanding structure and kind behavior. Our Asha’s Refuge Kindergarten Readiness teachers work hard to give these preschoolers a head start in to Kindergarten in our Kindergarten Readiness program. Our teachers need a little help in preparing some simple crafts to have on hand when they need them.

What to do - Connect with our staff to get instructions on how to pre-prepare a craft. You may also prepare one that you think of yourself just be sure that it is very simple and not full of complicated pieces. We will need you to prepare each craft so that it is ready to be assembled by a preschooler. You can deliver them to us each in their separate zip lock bag so they can be ready to hand to a child. All of the crafts will be supervised and done in a small group learning time. You will prepare approximately 12 individual preschool crafts. Your help is so appreciated!


Asha’s Refuge an use any of the following items to prepare preschoolers for kindergarten. If you can help us provide any of these items or items we may need in the future for our preschoolers, please let us know. We would love to have a few people we could call on whenever we need help collecting items for our preschoolers to use during our Kindergarten Readiness Class. Of course, you can also make a financial contribution to help us out. You can do this online through our PayPal account, just click “Make a Donation” at the top of your screen on our menu bar.

- Coloring Books
- Snacks (crackers, cookies, gold fish, bottles of apple juice,pudding cups, apple sauce, fruit snacks)
- Outside play toys (jump ropes, balls, bubbles, hula hoops)
- Flash cards (numbers, ABC’s, colors, etc..)
- Paint (watercolors, brushes)
- Large craft paper for painting on
- Electronic ABC games
- Tooth brushes/tooth paste
- Children music CDs, dance and sing along DVDs


Every Thursday from 9:30am to 12:30pm Asha’s Refuge and its volunteers gather together at 5645 Spring Lake Road inside Hope Church to work with preschoolers to help them better prepare for Kindergarten. We could use some additional Kindergarten Readiness teacher assistants.

How you can assist in our Kindergarten Readiness Class – Meet us at 10 am in the preschool classroom and follow the lead of our Kindergarten Readiness teachers. You do not have to plan to teach a class or anything because all of that will be done by our Volunteer Teaching Staff. Our teachers just need your help with corralling and loving on our preschoolers.
Job Skills

Career Coaching / Job Skills

We need volunteers who are willing to coach newcomers through the processes of applying for and interviewing for jobs. Volunteers will be willing to search for jobs that would be suitable for our clients, help them apply for the job which often means completing online applications, learning to dress appropriately for the interview and coaching them on how the interview process may go as far as the typical way Americans interview for jobs. Career Coach Volunteers will help Asha’s Refuge to better develop this area of our organization to the benefit of our clients.
Arts, Cooking & Crafts

Arts / Cooking / Crafts

Americans often have different hobbies than refugees. We want to introduce new hobbies to our clients or help to develop the hobbies they already have. Many times, the development of a hobby could end up starting a microbusiness that will help to provide for their family or supplement their monthly income. Even if the hobby does not bring in extra income, it is good for our clients to have hobbies so that their free time is spent doing things productive which can sometimes help to reduce stress. Examples of Hobbies: Arts/Crafts, Sewing, gardening, fishing, wood working, etc.
Managing Household Bills

Managing Household Bills

Many of our clients do not have English skills. They also do not have the American Life skills necessary to understand a lot of their mail. For example, if a newcomer were to receive a letter in the mail telling them that their light, gas and water was going to be “cut-off”, they may toss the letter to the side not realizing what this means. When their utilities are cut off it sends them into a panic. With no English skills to understand their mail and no American Life Skills to understand the processes we would typically go through to solve this life’s little problem, they are often put into an emotional crisis mode. We can help by encouraging our friends to understand the importance of trying to read and understand their mail. We need volunteers who are willing to make friends with our clients helping them to understand and organize their mail and important household papers better. Someone who has good organizational skills and can teach refugees a filing system to manage their bills and papers is needed.
Basic Computer Skills

Computer Classes

Asha’s Refuge holds basic computer classes to our refugee friends who are interested in learning how to use the internet and basic software programs. We are so thankful to a local company, Cornerstone Systems, who allows us to share their computer training room to hold these classes! The computer classes will allow refugee men and women to be coached in completing applications, registration and other important forms. We will need volunteers to help us support this program by assisting in teaching or assisting our computer teacher/trainer. If you are interested in helping us, please let us know.

Refugees learning basic computer skills together. Instructor teaches refugees how to use a computer