Catherine McAuley Center

Catherine McAuley Center logo


Mission: The Catherine McAuley Center offers hope and opportunity through educational and supportive services that promote stability, skill-building, and connection. The Catherine McAuley Center was founded by the Sisters of Mercy who aptly named the Center after their foundress, Catherine McAuley. She believed that education was the ultimate answer to the struggles of those in poverty. Today, we continue to share mercy, bringing light and life where there was little or none.

Location: Cedar Rapids (71 miles from Grinnell College)


  • Virtual: English as a Second Language Tutoring On-Site: Tutoring, Youth Program, Childcare, Donations Management, Food Pantry, Gardening, Internships (all majors considered), AmeriCorps (year-long terms start in the fall).
  • Volunteers can be found at all levels of the Catherine McAuley Center! Many work directly with clients, some support projects behind the scenes, and others provide leadership through the board or a committee, but they are all offering hope and opportunity with their service. (starred volunteer roles require orientation):
  • *Tutor Adult Learners: Help an adult learner improve basic academic skills, learn English, or study for the U.S. citizenship exam. (Minimum commitment of 1 hour per week for 10 weeks).
  • *Refugee/ Immigrant Community Leader:  Are you of refugee or immigrant background and looking to use your language skills and personal experience to empower members of our local immigrant and refugee communities?  Talk to us to find an appropriate role!  (Various roles and schedules)
  • *Work with Children:  Do you enjoy working with children and creating an engaging environment?  Children’s Learning Center volunteers keep kids safe and promote school readiness while parents access services at the Center.  (Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age)
  • Donations Management: Sort and organize donations and help welcome new refugee families by setting up their homes!  (Weekday and weekend opportunities available)
  • Food Pantry: Help families in our community access nourishing, culturally-appropriate food!  Volunteers may help transport food, clean, organize, and re-stock shelves.  (Flexible scheduling!)
  • Work with your club, workplace, or place of worship to raise funds or supplies that directly support the mission of the Catherine McAuley Center! Collect items from our wishlist, gather household goods for a new refugee family, or get creative and host an event to benefit CMC! (Resources for supply drives and fundraisers available!)
  • Administrative Support  Are you comfortable with computers and looking for ways to keep your skills sharp while enjoying a more flexible schedule?  Help support data entry and maintenance, filing, and other administrative projects. (Flexible scheduling, projects as needed)
  • Social Media
  • Advocacy



  • One-time events: no
  • Ongoing: yes

When is service needed: While students are welcome to inquire, we are unlikely to have short-term opportunities to stay busy during breaks, or complete hours in a short window. Volunteer activities slow around the winter holidays. Summer break is a good length of time, though.

Number of hours: 1-2 hours a week


  • In-person: yes
  • Hybrid in-person/virtual possible: yes
  • Fully virtual possible: no


Prerequisites: Orientations for direct service roles are listed on our website (

Background check required: yes


Training supplied: Orientation class is required for direct service roles. 1:1 training for other roles will be provided.

Equipment or logistics supplied: We generally supply everything, and will specify if anything is requested of volunteers.


How to apply: Apply by emailing  (please include your phone number)

Contact: Volunteer & Outreach Manager, 319-731-0446,


Operation information: While CMC’s programs serve distinct populations – immigrants, refugees, and women experiencing crisis – they are united by a common purpose of promoting the well-being and dignity of individuals in need, as Catherine McAuley did. Through the Education Services and Refugee & Immigrant Services Programs, the Center offers one-on-one tutoring and small group learning opportunities to adult learners, and provides refugees and immigrants with employment-readiness education and job-seeking support, as well as assistance navigating community resources like transportation, healthcare, and housing. Through the Women’s Services program, women who have experienced trauma find individualized support, basic needs assistance, and therapeutic and skill-building opportunities.  These educational and supportive services offered at the Center help people achieve greater stability, community inclusion, and improved quality of life.

Address: 1220 Fifth Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403

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