VOLUNTEER

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are essential to our ability to achieve our mission of providing immigration legal services to the low-income community, while also forging new bonds between immigrants and the larger northern Virginia community in which they live. Just Neighbors entrusts volunteers with vital duties that include communicating with clients and potential clients, translation services and document preparation for clients, community outreach, and much more. Depending on skills, experience, and availability, volunteers can help out in many different  roles.

Clinic Volunteer

Great for Occassional Volunteers

Just Neighbors holds two legal clinics each month, during which volunteers assist clients in filling out documents and preparing their immigration applications. One clinic is held at our Falls Church office on one Tuesday evening every month from 6:00–8:30pm. The other clinic is held at our Herndon office (or, occasionally, in Woodbridge) on one Saturday morning every month from 9:00–11:30am. Training for new volunteers is held one half hour before the clinic starts. Volunteers can sign up to help at a clinic approximately two weeks ahead of time. This is a great option for people who would like to give their time and talents to the immigrant community, but who can only volunteer on an occasional basis.

Short-Term Volunteers

Great for People Looking for Legal Field Experience

Short-Term Office Volunteer:

Just Neighbors depends heavily on volunteers to do casework and perform the daily operations of the office. Short-term volunteers must commit to working at least three half-days per week during our intake hours (Tuesday–Friday, 9am–5pm), and speaking Spanish is highly recommended. Volunteers answer phones and complete client phone intakes in English and Spanish, work with clients and staff in preparing documents for immigration applications, perform basic office administrative duties, assist with social media and outreach, and, when applicable, help with oral and written translations. This is a great option for people who are job hunting and looking for experience in the legal field, as well as for students and recent grads.

 

Short-Term Outreach Volunteer:

Just Neighbors needs volunteers to give presentations to the local community on “Know Your Rights” and “Safety and Separation Planning” in English and/or Spanish. Volunteers will be trained by the Just Neighbors staff ahead of time and contacted on a “as needed” basis. Volunteers will be provided with the powerpoint slides, talking points and all handouts for the presentation.

Long-Term Volunteers

Great for Retired People or People with Mid-Week Availability

Everyone has individual talents, skills, knowledge, and expertise to give to our diverse community. Just Neighbors is a great place to use these gifts to help others. In the past, we have had volunteers help us with everything from grant writing to IT support to social media, and from pro-bono counseling to casework to teaching English. Depending on your particular skill, we usually ask that you commit at least one day per week to Just Neighbors. This is a great opportunity for people who are retired from the workforce and want to give back to the community, or for stay-at-home parents looking for a flexible volunteering opportunity.

Volunteer Translator

Great for People with Foreign Language Skills that Need Flexibility

Do you speak another language, and are you occasionally available to translate from home? Because many of our cases require a written translation of client statements, official documents, and letters, we often need volunteers to translate documents. When there is a need, we send out an e-mail to our list of volunteer translators to see who is available. This is a great option for people who would like to give their time and language talents to the immigrant community, but who can only volunteer on an occasional basis and prefer to do so from home.

Legal Intern

Great for Law Students

Just Neighbors offers unpaid internships on a rolling basis throughout the year for law students. Interns must commit to a minimum of two days per week (at least 12 hours) for the semester or year. Spanish language skills are preferred but not required. Legal interns take on these responsibilities:

  • Conduct initial screening of potential clients (intakes) by phone
  • Conduct in-person interviews with first-time clients
  • Consult with staff attorneys and conduct follow-up immigration case activities with clients after intake
  • Assist clients and staff in preparing documents for immigration applications
  • Assist staff in managing client case files and database upkeep
  • Work with staff to coordinate and participate in monthly immigration consultation clinics
  • Assist with basic office administration
  • Translate and interpret, if applicable
  • Cases include refugee and asylee adjustments, VAWA and U visa applications for victims of domestic violence and other crimes, DACA, and advice and counsel.

Internship applications must include a cover letter and resume.

Undergraduate/Graduate Intern

Great for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Just Neighbors offers unpaid internships on a rolling basis throughout the year for undergraduate and master’s-level students. Interns must commit to a minimum of two days or three half-days per week for the semester or year. Spanish language skills are preferred but not required. In the past, Just Neighbors has hosted interns from the following fields: political science, paralegal studies, criminal justice, Spanish, nonprofit management, peace and justice studies, women’s studies, international studies, religion/theology, communications, social work, sociology, and more.

Undergraduate/graduate interns take on these responsibilities:

  • Conduct initial screening of potential clients (intakes) by phone
  • Assist clients and staff in preparing documents for immigration applications
  • Notify clients about upcoming appointments with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Assist staff with case files and database upkeep
  • Answer phones in Spanish and English
  • Assist with basic office administration
  • Assist with grant research and development
  • Assist with oral and written translation, if applicable
  • Assist with social media and outreach

Internship applications must include a cover letter and resume.

Volunteer Attorney

Great for Lawyers Looking for Experience or to Keep Skills Sharp

Our volunteer attorneys are the backbone of the work we do at Just Neighbors. They provide face-to-face counsel to low-income immigrants and refugees. Volunteer attorneys meet with clients from start to finish. They conduct in-person interviews with clients, work with law enforcement and social service providers, and assist in preparing documentation for immigration applications, all under the supervision of our staff attorneys. We usually request a commitment of ten hours per week for volunteer attorneys. This is a great option for retired attorneys who want to give back to the community, recent law graduates who are seeking work experience, and stay-at-home parents who want to keep their legal skills sharp.

Why I Volunteer

"I had the opportunity to work with a family who was seeking asylum based on gang-based violence in their home country. I worked with the family to get their declarations written for their case to be filed. It was very fulfilling to do work that I knew could potentially change the course of a family’s history forever."

-Chidiuto Cobb, Law Student, Howard University School of Law

 
 
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The mission of Just Neighbors is to provide immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees in Virginia, especially those who are most vulnerable. We also seek to foster enriching experiences that enhance awareness and mutual understanding among our clients, volunteers, staff and community.

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