Establishing boundaries can be very difficult; however it is one of the most important things a volunteer can do to ensure healthy and long lasting relationships with their newcomer partners. Many times when refugees first arrive they are in ‘crisis mode.’ There are more needs than any one person can supply. It is important for volunteers to understand that they are not responsible to solve all of the newcomer's problems; relatives, community resources and WRHP exist to help them, as well. Volunteers should remember that the ultimate goal with resettlement for self- sufficiency to be reached as soon as possible. If volunteers are doing too much for refugees, they are not learning how to do things for themselves.
The first step in learning to set boundaries is self-awareness. Volunteers should pay close attention to the situations where they lose energy, feel a knot in their stomachs or get upset. Identifying where and when they need more space and energy is the first step to setting appropriate boundaries. Once volunteers have identified their limits, they should stick to them. Volunteers should not be afraid to have a heart to heart with their newcomer partner if needed. Volunteers should be in communication with WRHP if they are feeling overwhelmed. It is best to establish these boundaries at the beginning of the relationship, but volunteers should not hesitate to clarify boundaries at anytime.
Volunteers should also remember to set appropriate boundaries with their time. Volunteers will burn out quickly if they do not set time boundaries. Perhaps it is one visit a week, maybe two. Volunteers should not feel pressured into spending more time than they can afford. It is most important to WRHP and the refugees it resettles that volunteers’ relationships with refugees and WRHP is healthy and long-lasting. This can only happen with the appropriate boundaries.