Become a Cultural Navigator

Who are Cultural Navigators?

Cultural Navigators (CNs) serve as mentors to help reduce the stress of cultural adjustment, strengthen linkages with vital services and resources as well as open doors to community involvement and family-focused activities. CNs receive training both on-ground and online at Hartford Public Library, and then are matched for a 3-month assignment with individuals and/or families.


Volunteer Responsibilities  

  • Recognizing that cross-cultural competence is an ongoing process
  • Listening attentively with care and interest
  • Accepting the role of dedicated advocate
  • Having the willingness to donate their time (up to two hours a week over a three month period)
  • Serving as nurturers of possibilities
  • Providing support and guidance


  • Twenty four years of age or older and have, at minimum, a high school diploma
  • Prior experience interacting with people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds
  • Demonstrated interest in supporting the transition of new arrival families into the Hartford community
  • Ability to be flexible and set limits
  • Willingness to serve in the role of advocate
  • Ability to listen with care and interest


  • Meet with the assigned family a minimum of 2 hours per week over a 3-month period
  • Participate in online and on-ground training to prepare for cultural navigating.
  • Partner with assigned newcomer family to address their needs
  • Understand that building relationships of trust with the assigned family is a gradual process
  • Seek and initiate linkages with key Hartford-area services, agencies and networks
  • Participate in special group events and activities
  • Complete and submit Cultural Navigator/Family Progress Report forms to Intercultural Liaison every 5 weeks.

Scope of Volunteer Position:

  • The primary focus of the position is that of interacting with parent(s) in weekly meetings on site at the Library. NOTE: In cases when children accompany their parents, meetings may take place in the Children’s Dept., 3rd floor or a reserved meeting/study room on the 2nd floor
  • A minimum of 21 hours will be spent working with the family at the Library or at locations within walking distance of the Library — prior to accessing venues that require public transportation
  • Cultural Navigators and their families can use public transportation to reach venues that are not within walking distance after completing the required 21 on-site hours. (Bus tokens will be made available)
  • NOTE: To ensure that all families benefit equally from their relationships with their Cultural Navigators, no Cultural Navigators should lend money or purchase items for their assigned family.

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