Volunteer at the ELC!

Experience the world without leaving Minnesota.

Come to the English Learning Center and teach our students,

who come from over 20 countries — every continent except Antarctica!

Ready to volunteer? Apply here!

Questions? More information below or contact our Volunteer Coordinators at volunteer@englishlc.org.

You make a difference.

Volunteers are the foundation of the ELC.

All of our classes—English, Math, Citizenship, Distance Learning, and Reading Circle—are taught by a dedicated core of volunteer teachers. In one year, nearly 150 individuals contribute more than 5,000 hours of their time, energy, and talent. As a result, approximately 350 immigrant students’ lives are enhanced and changed per year.

Join us and you will share your students’ joy as they meet goals and pursue dreams. We have a variety of opportunities (and sometimes food!) and will work with you to find the perfect fit for your skills, interests, and availability.

Why become an ELC volunteer?

People just like you volunteer at the ELC for many different reasons:

  • Desire to make a real impact in the lives of immigrants and refugees
  • Passion to learn about diversity of cultures in your neighborhood
  • Interest in language learning and education
  • Opportunity to gain experience for a future career or to just try something new
  • New friends and a fun, vibrant community

The list could go on and on, but don’t take our word for it. We’re happy to put you in contact with one of our current volunteers to give you the inside scoop on volunteering at the ELC!

What kinds of volunteer opportunities are available?

**Spring 2019 Openings**

**Spring Semester begins January 14 and ends April 25**

AM Program:

–Beginning English Teacher Mondays (9:30am – 11:45am)

–Level 3 English Teacher Mondays (9:30am – 11:45am)

–Level 5 English Teacher Wednesdays and Thursdays (9:30am – 11:45am)

–Math 1 and 2 Teacher Wednesdays (12pm-1pm)

–Literacy Tutors for all levels on Mondays-Thursdays (9:30am – 11:45am)

PM Program:

–Distance Learning Teacher on Thursdays (5:30-6:30pm)

–Math 1 Teacher on Thursdays (5:30-6:30pm)

–Math 4A Teacher on Thursdays (5:30-6:30pm)

–Math 4B tutor on Wednesdays and Thursdays (5:30-6:30pm)

–English 3 Teacher on Thursdays (6:45-8:30pm)

–English 5/6 Teacher on Tuesdays  (6:45-8:30pm)

–Literacy Tutors for all levels on Mondays-Thursdays (6:45-8:30pm)

See a need you can fill? 

Apply here!


Learn about volunteer positions:

All positions are available in both our morning and evening programs, unless otherwise indicated. Exact dates and class times for the ’18-19 academic year may be found here.

English Teacher

(pre-literate to advanced ESL)

Math Teacher

(pre-literate to advanced ESL)

Reading Circles and Literacy Tutors

Citizenship Teacher

(pre-literate to advanced ESL)

Distance Learning Teacher

  • Lead one class of 8-12 adult students
  • Work with the ELC life and work skills-based curriculum
  • Communicate with other teachers of your level
  • Evaluate students’ skills at end of term
  • Assess and record students’ progress
  • Lead one class of 6-12 adult students
  • Work with the ELC life and work skills-based curriculum
  • Communicate with other teachers of your level
  • Teach to students’ individual needs and learning paces
  • Assess and record students’ progress
  • Lead reading-focused group of 3-5 adult students with similar reading levels
  • Create weekly 1-hour lessons or supplement provided curriculum as appropriate for individual students
  • Assess and record students’ progress
  • Lead one class of 8-12 adult students
  • Work with ELC citizenship curriculum
  • Communicate with other citizenship teachers
  • Provide multilevel instruction for students
  • Assist students one-on-one, or in small groups, with class assignments, projects, and personal computer use
  • Determine students’ computer-related goals and find interactive and creative ways to meet those goals together

Training Requirements

Training Requirements

Training Requirements

Training Requirements

Training Requirements



If you are seeking a group opportunity, please contact our volunteer coordinators.

Though group events are not our primary need, opportunities do arise. We also have a number of group volunteer activities with our sister program in Our Saviour’s Community Services, Our Saviour’s Housing, so please check us out there!

We coordinate directly with schools for internships and service-learning hours.

If you are interested in either of these options, please contact your school’s placement office. In addition to receiving your program’s approval, we ask that you still complete our volunteer application.


Don’t see what you’re looking for?

Fear not!  We are always looking for volunteers to help us out at events as photographers and as set-up/clean-up crews. Contact our volunteer coordinators for additional options. Also consider supporting the ELC with a financial gift or material donation.

What are the time commitments, training, and other requirements?

What qualities make a good ELC teacher?

ELC volunteers come with diverse gifts, backgrounds, and experiences. However, we have found that certain qualities help to ensure a good fit and positive experience for everyone:

  • Ability to build relationships with people from an exceptionally diverse range of backgrounds
  • Strong verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Self-motivated with a high degree of initiative and flexibility
  • Understanding of or interest in immigrant and refugee issues

Time commitments and other requirements:

To provide stability for our students, we do ask for a regular time commitment from our teachers and tutors—once a week for 3-4 months (fall, spring, or summer term). Exact dates and class times for the ’18-19 academic year may be found here.

In order to lead in a classroom, volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. Individuals ages 16-18 are welcome to serve as assistant teachers.

Volunteers must also pass a background check. Prior criminal offenses, however, do not automatically disqualify you from participating at the ELC.

Once an application is reviewed, we ask for two non-family member references.

Orientation and training:

No experience or background in education required. Staff provides the orientation and ongoing training and support that you need to be successful in your volunteer role. Our English classes use a customized curriculum that provides both support and flexibility for varying levels of experience.

All volunteers must attend a 1-2 hour ELC orientation, depending upon volunteer role, as well as a 12-hour training with the Minnesota Literacy Council. You can find additional information about training requirements in the “volunteer opportunities” section above.

Are there training exemptions from the 12-hour MLC training?

The MLC training is required within 90 days of starting with us. It ensures that volunteers are better prepared to work with their students and results in greater levels of success and overall satisfaction for students and volunteers alike.  Only those volunteers who meet one of the following conditions are exempt:

  • Any volunteer tutor who began volunteering prior to July 1, 2006
  • TEFL/TESL certification
  • College degree in ESL or linguistics
  • Current Minnesota K-12 license (Note: Must be a non-expired license, which implies the need for renewal credits to keep current.)
  • Over 400 hours of documentable ESL instruction (volunteer or paid teacher) in a program or programs comparable to the Minnesota system ESL programs.

How do you become a volunteer?

3 easy steps to begin volunteering:

  1. Review volunteer opportunities—find the right fit for you.
  2. Complete our online application to begin the process, or email our volunteer coordinators with your availability and interests.
  3. One of our volunteer coordinators will contact you to set up an in person tour and meeting.

Thank you so much for choosing to make a difference in refugees’ and immigrants’ lives! We can’t wait to meet you and get started!

For questions or further information:

Volunteer Coordinators



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