Dallas Responds Respite Center

Dallas Responds is a grass-roots, faith community-led initiative, supported by Faith Forward Dallas@Thanksgiving Square, with a vision to support the work of the Annunciation House of El Paso, by expanding hospitality and in-transit humane support to Central American asylum-seeking families released from ICE detention and transported to Dallas as they await final plans for relocation to sponsors across the US. The local faith community will be providing daytime and overnight shelter, food, transportation and basic assistance to asylum-seeking migrants awaiting scheduled transportation to their final destination.

Oak Lawn United Methodist Church has agreed to serve as this respite center and is expecting 50 asylum-seeking migrants THIS WEEKEND and another 50 on June 11th.

Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older & have had a background check through their congregation or other non-profit.

Please note that we will only be given 12 hours notice as to when to expect the bus from El Paso, so some of you may sign up for a shift and not be needed at that time. However, this respite center will be functioning for the entirety of the summer at least, so there will be many opportunities to help!

Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities

Volunteer Coordinator: Oversees the recruitment, vetting process, and training of all volunteers on approved procedures, protocol and volunteer guidelines

Site Coordinator: Oversees and manages the use of the facility; serves as a liaison between volunteers and church staff/members as pertains to issues of physical space and storage  

Shift Coordinator: Provides on-site coordination and support of all volunteers; ensures each volunteer understands their role and responsibility during each shift; serves collaboratively with the Medical & Mental Health Coordinators, Legal Services Coordinator, Food Coordinator, and Transportation Coordinator to ensure efficient and supportive volunteer management

Medical & Mental Health Coordinators: Oversees the recruitment, vetting process, and training of medical and mental health professional volunteers, who provide medical and mental health support to respite center guests; selects appropriate referral sources for guests when further services are recommended or required

Medical & Mental Health Volunteers: Registered Nurses and mental health counselors who provide on-site medical assessments to respite center guests and volunteers, making referrals to Agape Clinic when recommended or required; will also coordinate with Physicians, Advance Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants who will be on call

Legal Services Coordinator: Oversees the recruitment, vetting process, and training of legal services professional volunteers who provide on-site orientation and informational legal resources for respite center guests

Legal Services Volunteer: Attorneys and legal services professionals who provide on-site orientation and distribute informational legal resources for respite center guests

Greeter & Welcome Orientation Volunteer: Meet guests upon arrival to the respite center, conveying warmth and hospitality; lead a large-group introductory orientation with respite center guests to provide an overview of the intake process, schedule and services available at the respite center and overnight stay; must be bilingual 

Intake Volunteers: Meet with newly arrived family units to register guests for the respite center; gather and process pertinent information, including sponsor contact, travel arrangements, and any self-reported medical/mental health needs or concerns; must be bilingual

Sponsor Contact Volunteers: Assist respite center guests with using center-provided cellphones to connect and communicate with sponsors that family members have arrived in Dallas; ensure sponsors and guests are aware of travel needs and arrangements; responsibilities include completing transportation and intake forms; must be bilingual

Administration Volunteers: Assist with maintaining volunteer and respite center guest database; ensuring intake forms, travel arrangement forms, and other documents are properly processed; assist with ongoing communication needs, including the communication of travel schedules with volunteers and guests; assist volunteers and respite center guests with accessing travel and other pertinent information and printing travel documents

Food Service Coordinator: Oversees the coordination of volunteers and resources to provide sufficient supply of snacks, meals, and refreshments for respite center guests, including set-up, meal service, and clean up

Food Service Volunteers: May include volunteers who serve meals on-site, as well as volunteers who procure, purchase, and/or prepare food off-site to be delivered and served at the respite center, including set-up, meal service to guests, and clean up.

Hospitality Volunteers: Guide welcome center guests to available resources and spaces available at the respite center, including clothing, toiletries, travel bags, showers, baby supplies and leisure/recreational activities; be available to answer questions and engage with guests; assist with light organizing and cleaning of center space; Hospitality Volunteers may be assigned by the Shift Coordinator to serve specific duties in meal service, toiletries, sorting clothes, and shower coordination as needed

Transportation Coordinator: Oversees the coordination of transportation volunteers and available vehicles and approved drivers to safely transport respite centers to overnight stays and departure sites (bus station or airport); develop and maintain a system for communication with volunteers and respite center guests’ transportation/departure times

Transportation Volunteers: Following proper safety procedure and protocol, volunteers greet guests and assist with transportation of guests to and from the respite center, overnight stay location, and bus station or airport; assist with making final travel arrangements with coordination of sponsor; ensure guests understand their travel itinerary and assist with navigating bus station and airport check-in system, escorting guests as far as possible through security to their gate

Clergy Volunteers: Greet respite center guests, provide pastoral care and ministry of presence, which may include dining with guests, conducting services, delivering rosaries, and offering prayer with guests and volunteers as requested