Family Mentorship Program

The task of resettling in the United States presents numerous challenges for refugees, due to cultural differences and limited government and agency support. They often find that rebuilding their lives in a new country, without speaking the language or knowing anyone, makes daily tasks daunting and overwhelming.

We believe that refugees shouldn’t need to navigate the complexities of the American system alone. Family mentors work as part of a team to befriend a refugee family, by providing regular, on-going support as they resettle in the Portland area. With the goal of enabling and empowering families to be self-sufficient, mentors connect their family to community resources, teaching them how to use public transportation, access the library, shop for groceries, and aid in integrating to life in Portland.

Mentors aim to replace the community that refugees are missing from their home country, offering their time and friendship. As our newest friends press into rebuilding their lives, they’re surrounded with people who care.

Teams consist of two to four volunteers, depending on the length of time the family has lived in Oregon. This program is open to anyone who currently holds or has previously held refugee status. Volunteers give an eight month commitment to their family, meeting weekly, with the hope that lasting friendships are built. Mentors are matched based on geographical location, with the highest need being in outer SE and occasional needs in SW and NE Portland. It can take up to four months to be paired with a family, depending on the frequency of refugee arrivals.

Potential volunteers attend an Info Night or a one on one meeting, fill out an application, and agree to a background check. Registration for the RCC Fall New Volunteer event has closed. Email us here to be notified of future events.