Volunteering with VOZ

¡Bienvenidos a Voz!

Welcome to our Volunteering and Internships page. Below is a list of our current volunteer needs as well as contact information for those who want to get involved. We provide training, support, and everlasting gratefulness! Please feel free to contact our Volunteer Coordinator with any questions at volunteercoordinator@portlandvoz.org or click the ‘Volunteer’ button below to use the sign up form.

Volunteer

* Internships also available! Click here! *

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CURRENT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:

MLK JR WORKER CENTER: DISPATCHING

Description and why it is important: The MLK Jr Worker Center is a non-commission hire site that assists both workers in finding decent jobs and employers in finding great workers. We provide interpretation between Spanish and English and make sure that each worker is qualified for the job. The day laborers at the MLK Jr Worker Center are men and women of all trades and experiences. They are workers who are committed members of our community and many of them are engaged in the leadership of our organization. The center hosts morning raffles and registration for workers, valuable skills trainings, mandatory health and safety trainings, labor, immigrant rights and leadership development workshops and other community events. Volunteers work with the Worker Center Staff, day laborers, and other volunteers.

Volunteer responsibilities/skills needed: Worker Center assistants should be passionate, committed, organized and energetic volunteers. It is necessary that volunteers in this role are comfortable communicating in Spanish, at the minimum conversationally. The main duty of this position is to support staff with various tasks associated with running the Center, Some of your responsibilities may include:

  • Signing workers in as they arrive in the morning
  • Running the raffle
  • Greeting employers and helping them get the appropriate workers
  • Answering phones
  • Making follow up calls to employers
  • Data entry

 

MLK JR WORKER CENTER: MARKETING

Description and why it is important: Marketing assistants work directly with the MLK Jr. Worker Center Coordinator to bring more employers to the Worker Center. This is important because it directly benefits Day Laborers by connecting them with more opportunities for employment.

Volunteer responsibilities/skills needed: Good communication and organizational skills as well as experience with marketing are useful for volunteers looking to help in this area. The schedule is flexible and can be arranged with the Worker Center coordinators, but it is necessary that volunteers be available somewhat consistently for a few hours during Worker Center open hours (7am-2pm M-Sa) in order to communicate with staff and Day Laborers. Following is a list of some volunteer responsibilities:

  • Help organize flyering events with day laborers
  • Create materials geared to different potential employers (homeowners, contractors, etc.)
  • Form relationships with local media outlets (social media included), to perform outreach
  • Build relationships with local organizations to connect employers to the Center
  • Making follow up calls to employers
  • Data entry

 

MLK JR WORKER CENTER: ESL

Description and why it is important:
ESL classes play an essential role in accomplishing our goals for workforce development at the MLK Jr Worker Center. English classes are taught at the Worker Center almost every day. Each of the classes has a particular theme and learning objective, which is reviewed and changed every four weeks. The curriculum is flexible, designed to offer both learning progress for returning students and to meet the learning needs of one-time students. English language skills are extremely valuable and so this is a critically important educational aspect of our work at the Center. Volunteers work under the guidance of our ESL Coordinator.

Volunteer responsibilities/skills needed: A volunteer who decides to lead an ESL class at the Center would be responsible for the following:

    • Teaching a weekly class
    • Preparing for class each week/planning lessons
    • Committing the expected time and energy (2-4 hours a week)

It is also possible to volunteer as a teacher assistant. In this role, you would not be responsible for preparing curriculum each week, but would provide integral support in the classroom. ESL volunteers are encouraged to have some Spanish skills, but it is not a deciding factor.

 

MLK JR WORKER CENTER: WAGE THEFT CLINIC

Description and why it is important: Voz provides assistance and support to workers who are not paid by their employers. To date, Voz has helped workers recover over $600,000 in unpaid wages. The wage theft program consists of a team of volunteers and pro bono attorneys who work to attend to incidents of wage theft among local day laborers and other immigrant workers. We are responsible for intake of clients with wage theft claims and maintaining contact with both claimants and the employers from whom claimants are seeking reparations. This component of Voz’s wage theft program has been key in continuing the process of making sure that day laborers have legal means for their grievances.

Volunteer responsibilities/skills needed: A volunteer working with the Wage Theft team will excel if they have research skills, some legal knowledge, proficiency in Spanish, ability to use google drive and some experience archiving/filing. The Wage theft clinic operates 10am-noon on Tuesdays and Fridays. A volunteer’s responsibilities may include:

    • Collecting information from the employer
    • Calling the employer to ask her/him why they have not paid
    • Securing a time and place for the employer to pay the day laborer
    • Accompanying the day laborer and speaking with the employer
    • Writing letters to employers about wage losses
    • Filling out the Voz and BOLI forms
    • Going with the day laborer to Court (if necessary)
    • Seeing the case through until the end
    • Teaching the day laborer how to use the booklet

 

INTERNAL ORGANIZING

Description and why it is important: The objective of our Internal Organizing program is to empower Day Laborers and generate solidarity and union values through the leadership development school, know-your-rights workshops, cultivating connections/relationships with Day Laborers, and other art/cultural and sports activities.

Volunteer responsibilities/skills needed: t is generally important that volunteers helping with Internal Organizing have conversational Spanish skills, at the minimum. Following is a list of volunteer roles and tasks.

    • One-on-one visits to day laborers at the Worker Center
    • ▸   2-3 hours weekly starting at 7 am
    • Assist during meetings and workshops
    • ▸   Timekeeping
    • ▸   Professional interpretation (Spanish-English and English-Spanish)
    • ▸   Taking notes
    • ▸   Schedule varies from 8am-noon and requires 2-4 hours
    • Office support
    • ▸   Translations
    • ▸   Creating flyers and posters
    • ▸   Making phone calls
    • ▸   Data entry
    • ▸   Statistical analysis
    • ▸   2-3 hours weekly with flexibility in the schedule
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    EXTERNAL ORGANIZING: OJO

    Description and why it is important: Day Laborers are prime targets for potential anti-immigrant protests, hate crimes, police harassment and/or ICE raids nationwide. OJO stands for Observadores de Jornaleros de Oregon and is a group of volunteer Legal Observers that monitor threats made by police, ICE and anti-immigrant groups towards Day Laborers at our MLK Worker’s Center. Day Laborers have been welcoming and have expressed their gratitude to the OJO participants for their support.

    Volunteer responsibilities/skills needed: Pairs of volunteers monitor activity outside the Worker Center in two hour shifts from 8am-noon. Participants can sign up for shifts as it fits their schedules. Before becoming a volunteer, you are required to attend a training session that goes over the following areas:

  • A review of individual rights when stopped by police
  • How to properly and safely record any police interactions
  • What do document with a camera vs. written
  • How to identify ICE

 

EXTERNAL ORGANIZING: OREGON COALITION TO STOP WAGE THEFT

Description and why it is important: Wage theft is the pervasive and ongoing illegal practice of not paying workers for some or all of their work. The Oregon Coalition to Stop Wage Theft is a growing group of organizations from labor, faith, small-business, immigrant, and legal communities that are working to combat the crisis of wage theft in Oregon. The coalition is working for stronger laws and firm enforcement of those laws by advocating for legislative changes and collaborating closely with government agencies and community advocates that hold unlawful employers accountable. Through outreach and education they are also working to foster stronger communities that are better equipped to organize against and prevent wage theft.

Volunteer responsibilities/skills needed: Voz is part of the Legislation Team. They meet as needed with other member groups of the coalition in order to draft legislation, and help keep tabs on pending legislation impacting systematic wage theft in Oregon. Volunteers should have experience with or interest in policy work, and be able to work both in teams and independently. The schedule is flexible, but could be determined somewhat by the scheduling of the Coalition meetings, depending on the role of the volunteer. They would be working primarily with our External Organizer. Some tasks could include:

  • Working at the state level with other groups
  • Working to draft legislation that holds employers accountable and gives workers tools to defend themselves
  • Assisting in coalition meetings (note taking, etc.)
  • Communicating with policy makers
  • Collecting data from different industries
  • Collecting data from wage claim clinic/day laborer cases
  • Helping organize forums on wage theft

 
EXTERNAL ORGANIZING: BUILDING THE DREAM CAMPAIGN

Description and why it is important: This campaign’s goal is to acquire a more permanent building at the Martin Luther King Jr Worker Center site. We believe that the future success of Portland’s day laborer movement demands a stable and suitable facility to operate from. The campaign involves a negotiation process between Day Laborers and the Portland Development Commission.

Volunteer responsibilities/skills needed: This campaign seeks volunteers with strong time management, organizational, and communication skills, and experience communicating with public agencies is a major advantage. Following are some of the possible volunteer responsibilities:

  • Attending meetings and taking notes
  • Research
  • Translation of notes
  • Spanish-English interpretation at meetings
  • Collecting data from different industries
  • Helping create content for letters, newsletters, and social media posts

 
FUNDRAISING: EVENTS

Description and why it is important: Events are important to mobilize the community, build allies and raise funds and other resources that help us fulfill our mission. Voz organizes, or is part of organizing, cultural events such as Day of the Dead and Guadalupe, large rallies and marches such as May Day, and fundraising events such as the annual dinner. Volunteers can assist in planning events or help on the day of the event.

Volunteer responsibilities/skills needed: Helping to plan events is a multi-month commitment (up to 4) and includes the day of the event. Assisting with planning means working with an event team. Tasks might include:

  • Attending or running regular committee or coalition meetings
  • Soliciting sponsors
  • Seeking raffle prizes
  • Marketing and outreach
  • Adentifying and securing locations
  • Setting dates
  • Applying for licenses and permits
  • Helping at an event is a one-time commitment, for the shift that a volunteer signs up for. Tasks for participation on the day of the event may include:

  • Set up
  • Security
  • Managing the time or agenda
  • Bussing tables and dishes
  • Greeting people and signing them in
  • Clean up

 
FUNDRAISING: DEVELOPMENT

Description and why it is important: The primary objective of staff and volunteers in Development is fundraising. It is an essential part of the work that Voz does, because it connects us to the resources that we need in order to creatively and effectively work toward realizing our mission. The fundamental component to most of the work carried out by the development team deals with the presentation of Voz’s image in the community, and includes certain aspects of marketing. Voz is funded primarily through grants, fundraising events, and one-time donors and Vozistas (dedicated/committed donors). A major ongoing objective of our development team is to grow our grassroots base of donors and volunteers, and attain more sustainable sources of funding.

Volunteer responsibilities/skills needed: Volunteers with experience and/or interest in fundraising or marketing are especially valuable members of our development team. Experience writing, researching, and reporting on grants is beneficial. Volunteers who have strong understandings of various social media outlets and their functions are of particular value as well. Some of the areas where volunteer support is often needed are:

  • Grant research and reporting
  • Archiving and organizing data relating to past grants
  • Data entry
  • Tabling at events
  • Writing thank you notes
  • Helping with email blasts
  • Helping develop promotional materials (graphic design skills useful!)
  • Helping create content for social media (Promoting Voz on Website and Facebook)
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    ADMINISTRATION

    Description and why it is important: General office work is necessary to the organized functioning and coordination of all of the operations of Voz. Because it is such a crucial element to carrying out our mission, volunteer support is needed on an ongoing basis.

    Volunteer responsibilities/skills needed: It is useful, but not necessary, that volunteers have general computer knowledge, typing skills, familiarity with databases, etc. Some tasks may include the following:

  • Data entry
  • Filing
  • Organizational tasts
  • General office work

 
TRANSLATORS and INTERPRETERS

We are always in need or interpreters for every event, assembly or meeting where monolingual speakers of Spanish and English are both present. Volunteers are asked to do simultaneous, consecutive or whisper interpretation.

We constantly need to translate letters, reports, educational material and community outreach information between English and Spanish. If you are bilingual and interested in volunteering on your own schedule, from your own home or the VOZ office, please contact us.

If you have additional talents you can bring to VOZ, let us know! To set up a time to come in and help with any of the above, please fill out our online application form and we will contact you. You may also email volunteercoordinator@portlandvoz.org. Thank you. We appreciate your support!