School Assistance for Refugee Newcomers (SAFRN)

605 S.E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd. • Portland, OR 97214 • Phone: (503) 231-7480 • Fax: (503) 233-0667


Refugee Youth entering Portland schools for the first time face a daunting challenge.  Many refugee youth have only minimal schooling from the refugee camps in their native language, let alone English.  And given the necessity of quick assimilation, refugee youth are placed in grade levels according to age, not ability. 

photo School Assistance For Refugee Newcomers (SAFRN) provides educational support services to refugee newcomers and their schools.  In addition to English, SAFRN program staff speaks many other languages that represent the diverse ethnic groups served by LCSNW.  SAFRN brings students, parents and teachers together with orientation, translation and concentrated help both academically and socially.  SAFRN also offers summer programming that includes literacy in basic skills and school readiness.  Students that participated in SAFRN’s summer programs reported that they felt better prepared in meeting school expectations when they began school in September.  Teachers also reported that students showed greater engagement in the classroom when they returned to school.

SAFRN is a collaborative program of LCSNW that partners with Catholic Charities, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, and Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO).  It provides educational support services to schools in the Portland tri-county area that are impacted by new refugee arrivals.  SAFRN is a federally funded program through the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

How to Help

Help a refugee student thrive in school!  Be a SAFRN Volunteer Tutor!  SAFRN stands for School Assistance for Refugee Newcomers.  SAFRN volunteer tutors work either one on one or in small groups with refugee students (grades K-12) who are attending public schools in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. SAFRN students have lived in the U.S. for less than one year, and are in great need of help with homework and with general assimilation skills.

Volunteers will spend 1.5 – 2 hours per week with their students, usually in the students' homes, helping with English, homework, and learning about American culture. Volunteer training and support is provided. Make a difference in the life of a refugee youth while learning about another culture and exploring your skills! This is a truly rewarding opportunity.

For more information, please contact Faridah Haron, 503-731-9521 or by e-mail

Make a Donation

SAFRN is in constant need of these items. All your donated items will go to the refugee youth we work with.

School Supplies

  • Backpacks (for Kindergarten through 12th grade)
  • Color pencils
  • Crayons
  • Glue sticks
  • Staplers & staples
  • Transparent tapes
  • Permanent markers
  • Erasable markers
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Notebooks (college-ruled)
  • Zippered binders

Other Useful Items

  • Umbrellas
  • Winter jackets
  • Socks
  • Gloves/mittens
  • Mufflers/scarves
  • Knit-caps

Personal Items

Deodorant stick (male and female), feminine pads, hand lotion, chapstick, shampoo & conditioner, bath soap/body wash