Volunteer Profiles

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Kirsten Burt

is the mother of two boys and works full time as a project manager for a translation company. In the fall of 2016 she became the Donations Coordinator for PRSG (Portland Refugee Support Group). PRSG is a relatively new organization, so Kirsten had to provide the structure for this committee. She developed a system of distributing supply bags monthly to the families supported by PRSG, which include toiletries and cleaning supplies like laundry soap and dish soap. These items mainly come from individual donors and donation drives at churches and schools. Now that PRSG has 501(c)3 status, she has started approaching corporations. The biggest challenge of this position has been to develop a sustainable source of supplies. The most rewarding part is taking the supplies to the families and developing relationships with them. She spends between 10 and 15 hours a month doing this.

Kirsten also became a core volunteer, meaning that she became responsible for mentoring one family. This family consists of the parents and four children. Kirsten does a variety of things with the family ranging from trying to help the father get a better job to helping them make sense of paperwork that they receive in the mail. She described the biggest challenges of this as communication issues because of the different languages and the need to set limits and prioritize between all of her commitments. The most rewarding part is visiting with the family and watching the progress they make. Kirsten says, "I involve my kids in the volunteer work I do because I want them to learn empathy and to see they can make a difference."