CST Volunteer Job Descriptions

We depend on the kindness and generosity of volunteers to help us accomplish our mission.

CST has an ongoing need for compassionate and dedicated volunteers. Needs that have been identified by our staff and clients include the following. Please note that in most instances, volunteers must have “in-office” experience under the supervision of CST staff before beginning “out-of-office” projects with clients.
Please contact Alan to schedule volunteer training at 512-358-4612 or 214-827-2314.

DIRECT CLIENT SERVICES

General Client Support – In Office
Activities: General client support consists of being present in the CST office during standard operating hours (Monday – Friday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm) to greet clients and engage in conversation or other activities. Many clients come to CST in groups because they share transportation so there are often people waiting to see a counselor. In the waiting room, there is a computer (which clients can use), a couch, and a table. There are writing and drawing supplies as well as snacks and drinks. Time spent in the waiting room can just be socializing, it can be learning new skills and practicing English, and or it can be special projects like art, writing, or music. We rely on volunteers to help make CST a fun, friendly, and welcoming place.

Time commitment: One or more shifts each week, each shift at least 2 hours long to provide stability and minimize disruptions.

Mentor – Out of Office
Activities: A mentor enters a long-term relationship (minimum of six months) with a client. Activities depend upon the needs of the client, the interests of the two people, and the time available, but “presence” is the keystone of this role. The client and volunteer may enjoy social activities such as walks, museums, concerts, or restaurants, with an emphasis on free or low-cost activities.

Time commitment: An average of two hours per week, depending on the needs and schedules of client and volunteer; may not meet every week.

Bus Guide – Out of Office
Activities: Bus guides fill an integral role in the lives of our newest clients. Volunteers assist clients in learning the local bus system and achieving independence in navigating the city. The client learns to get to specific destinations and develops a competency that provides for greater independence. Bus rides can also provide a social opportunity and something to do for clients who might otherwise be isolated. Bus guides spend time getting to know the bus system, accompanying clients and explaining the system, and they stay positive about the experience even on days when the weather is bad and the waiting time is long.

Time commitment: Generally, two to three hours per bus trip, plus time spent studying the routes.

Mental Health/Counseling – In Office or Out of Office
Activities: Volunteer counselors must be properly trained and licensed to practice independently. Counseling interns must be under the direct supervision of an educational program and a licensed supervisor. There are many types of mental health related volunteer positions available such as: counselors in the CST office for on-going client therapy; psychiatrists who can write and monitor prescriptions; and professionals who can provide psychological evaluations.

Time commitment: Varies by type of work. On-going counseling relationships require at least six-month commitment. Court-related volunteers are asked to continue working with a client through the duration of her/his case and may be required to testify before the court in San Antonio or Houston.

Legal Assistance – In Office or Out of Office
Activities: Anyone providing legal services or legal advice must be properly trained and licensed to provide such services. There is a great need for volunteer attorneys who have the time and interest to take on a client’s asylum application. CST will pair volunteer attorneys who are new to asylum work with an experienced mentor. There are also opportunities for volunteers to provide legal advice, workshops, or presentations as needs are identified by CST staff.

Time Commitment: Varies by type of work. Presentations or workshops may be one-time events while an asylum application may take over a year.

Health/Medical Assistance – In Office or Out of Office
Activities: Anyone providing medical services must be properly trained and licensed to provide such services. A variety of medical services are needed by CST clients from specialized medical treatment, to workshops or presentations on health-related issues, to forensic medical evaluations. Volunteers may also accompany clients to Medical Assistance Program appointments or to doctor’s offices to provide support and help understanding the medical system.

Time Commitment: Varies by type of work. Presentations or workshops may be one-time events. Court-related volunteers are asked to continue working with a client through the duration of her/his case and may be required to testify before the court in San Antonio or Houston. Providing specialized treatment may last through the duration of a medical condition.

Financial/Banking/Budgeting – In Office or Out of Office
Activities: Anyone providing financial advice must be properly trained and certified to do so. A variety of financially-related services are needed by CST clients from help setting up a bank account to help understanding loans. Because they are new to the United States and may not have strong English skills, clients may be vulnerable to people cheating them out of their money. This is an area where presentations and workshops may be used to educate clients.

Time Commitment: Generally two to three hours at a time, depending on the activity.

Housing Information – In Office or Out of Office
Activities: CST clients often start out in shared housing. When they have the resources to search for their own housing, they often need assistance with the housing search and understanding the terms of a lease. Sometimes clients come to our office and need help addressing a situation with a landlord (such as a repair being needed). Volunteers can also do presentations or workshops to disseminate information about housing and tenant’s rights to a group.

Time Commitment: Varies based on the situation, from one or two hours one time for a presentation to a couple hours a week for several weeks when helping a client with a specific issue.

Vocational Information – In Office or Out of Office
Activities: Some CST clients are not eligible to work in the United States but others are. For those who are, we offer help with job searches and provide information about workers’ rights. This assistance can be provided one-on-one with a client or in a group presentation.

Time Commitment: Varies based on the situation, from one or two hours one time for a presentation to a couple hours a week for several weeks when helping a client with a specific issue.

Educational Information – Out of Office
Activities: Some CST clients are interested in taking classes at local schools, either enrolled as students or in community education programs. Others have children who need to enroll in public school. These experiences can be confusing (knowing timeframes, where to go, what to bring, etc.) and it helps to have a volunteer to navigate the system with the client/family.

Time Commitment: Varies but often four to six hours broken up over the course of a couple of weeks.

Tutoring – Out of Office
Activities: Some adult clients are studying for a GED or other examination and would benefit from additional assistance; also, some children new to the U.S. educational system may need one-on-one help to catch up to their peers. Tutoring can take place at a library, coffee shop, or other such location.

Time Commitment: One or two hour sessions at least twice a week for the time that the client is studying (generally one to three months).

ESL – In Office or Out of Office
Activities: ESL tutors provide crucial language support to our clients learning English. Volunteers will be given a small booklet of informal English lessons and a list of additional, web-based resources. Volunteers can meet individually with clients (more like tutoring described above) or can have small-group ESL classes at the CST office.

Time Commitment: For ESL group classes: two hours in the office at least once a week. Individual tutoring can be scheduled with the client.

Transportation – Out of Office
Activities: Some clients live far from a bus route while others struggle to afford bus passes. For these clients, volunteers can provide transportation to appointments or other events. This can be an on-going relationship with a client or can be one-time (such as for a special event). We do not expect volunteers to be the only means of transportation for a client, but they can be a helpful supplement to other methods.

Time Commitment: Generally one to three hours per instance of transportation (depends on the distance and whether the volunteer provides one-way or round-trip). Frequency of transportation trips is determined by the volunteer.

Recreational Activities – Out of Office
Activities: Many clients feel they have nowhere to go and nothing to do since they are limited by finances and comfort with being in a new country. It is very helpful for them to get out and have fun. Volunteers can arrange outings to free events (concerts, festivals) or activities (soccer or volleyball games, flying kites, taking a walking tour).

Time Commitment: Generally two to three hours recruiting clients, then the time of the event itself. Events can be one-time or repeating (weekly or monthly).

Special Projects – In Office or Out of Office
Activities: Clients benefit greatly from having a creative outlet such as art or music. Many clients are very skilled in these areas already while others would like to learn. It also helps the CST staff if there is an activity for clients to work on while waiting to see a counselor. Projects can be “taught” if the volunteer has expertise, or it can just be an opportunity for people to do their own thing depending on their interest and prior ability.

Time Commitment: Two hours a week for ongoing activities, two or more hours for a one-time event.

OFFICE / ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT

Clerical /Bookkeeping / Financial – In Office
Activities: Assist the CST office manager with clerical or financial matters such as filing, mailing, or data entry.

Time Commitment: Two to four hours per instance.

Computers / Technical – In Office
Activities: Help to maintain the CST computers and other office machines. Provide computers or other donated electronics for clients.

Time Commitment: Varies depending on activities.

Repairs / Maintenance – In Office
Activities: Contribute time to maintaining the CST office in various ways such as plumbing repairs, painting, or moving large heavy furniture. Volunteers providing specialized services must be properly trained and certified (e.g. licensed / bonded).

Time Commitment: Varies depending on activities.

Cleaning / Organizing – In Office
Activities: The first Monday of each month we receive a large donation of clothes and household items. Volunteers can assist by helping to collect donated materials (two blocks from the CST office) or helping to sort and organize them when they reach the office. Other cleaning and organizing opportunities may also exist depending on the interest of the volunteer.

Time Commitment: Two to three hours once a month.

Special Event Assistance – Out of Office
Activities: Volunteers are helpful at all levels of a special event, from conceptualizing and planning, to publicizing, to implementing.

Time Commitment: Varies, can be several hours a week for several months to help plan or can be two or more hours at the event itself.

Soliciting Donations – Out of Office
Activities: CST benefits greatly from donations of time, money, and tangible items such as bus passes, language dictionaries, and clothes or food for clients. Volunteers who are members of a group or organization may organize drives to collect specific donations.

Time Commitment: Several hours a week over the course of one or more months.

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