Refugee Elder Services Intern - Refugee & Immigration Services (RIS)

Related Program: Refugee & Immigration Services

Refugee & Immigration Services
Catholic Charities Maine
80 Sherman St.
Portland, ME 04101

Older refugees have difficulty adjusting to life in the United States. Much of the problem is due to the language barrier and cultural differences. In addition they suffer separation from families and social networks, and the loss of traditional roles as elders. Refugee Elder Services helps older refugees overcome these deficits through sensitive case management services. Also key to our work is our Senior Companion volunteer matching program that builds trust with older refugees and supports their ability to live healthy and productive lives by matching them with attentive volunteer companions. Our goals are to increase older refugees’ self-esteem, reduce their experience of isolation, and improve their daily functioning.

The Refugee Elder Services Intern Position is a part-time position with Catholic Charities Maine Refugee & Immigration Services (RIS).  The Intern will provide a variety of support services for newly arriving older refugee individuals, as well as case management support services to older refugees who have been resident in Maine for up to 5 years.

The Refugee Elder Services Intern will have a unique focus on older refugees (age 60 and over) who often have long-term adjustment needs. She/he will address those needs through collaborative efforts and working directly with refugee communities, social service providers, religious organizations, and volunteers. She/he will work closely with state senior service agencies and ethnic community-based organizations in order to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to older refugees.


Experience Qualifications

  • Language skills sought: Arabic
  • Strong computer and writing skills
  • Experience/interest in working with elders from difference cultural backgrounds
  • Strong listening skills and a nonjudgmental, respectful, and patient approach
  • Dependable and consistent in meeting time commitments
  • Access to a vehicle


Personal Qualifications

  • Self-starter – work independently with minimal supervision to accomplish goals
  • Outgoing, with excellent communication skills
  • Ability to build relationships and establish trust


Primary Responsibilities

  • Provide case management and support services to older refugees resident in the state of Maine
  • Maintain partnerships with state Senior Services and ethnic community-based organizations
  • Engage, supervise and support Senior Companion volunteers
  • Document thoroughly and accurately client issues/needst, case progress, and program outcomes
  • Participate in periodic program review to maintain best practices


Expected Outcomes & Goals:

  • Assist Maine’s older refugees in their adjustment, and provide  for their adjustment and well-being, with a special focus on newly arrived refugee families with older refugee individuals.
  • Improve the quality of life of older refugees by supporting increased independence, reducing isolation, and improving physical and mental health


Training & Supervision: One on one program training, weekly supervision and staff support


Required Time Commitment: Between 10-20 hours a week for a period of a minimum of 6 months.


Required Schedule: Regular hours during the work-week / work-day only, Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm



  • Resume builder through service to dynamic, topical, timely and effective refugee resettlement agency
  • Exposure to new cultures
  • Personal satisfaction in supporting older refugees in tangible ways
  • Building a relationships with local ethnic community leaders and a wide array of area service providers


Program Contact: Judith Southworth, Elder Services Program Coordinator (since 2004), (207) 523-2793,

Click Here to Apply Online

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