Become a Family Mentor

Coming to a new country without speaking the language or knowing anyone suddenly makes simple daily tasks daunting and overwhelming. What’s needed are friends to help with the transition.

The first month is a critically important time once refugees arrive. Does the family have food? Do they know how to get around? Do they have what they need? Family mentors act as the support system for the family. They’re the advocates. They check in and make sure everything is ok. Often times, they’re the only people that the refugee family knows. They connect the family with resources, and they teach the family how to go grocery shopping, use appliances, sort through mail, and generally adapt to life in Portland.

Family mentorship works best in a group context, so the responsibility of meeting the family’s immediate needs can be shared. The vision is that these relationships would be long-term, so a eight month commitment is required. The focus is on helping the family navigate through daily life, building lasting friendships, and caring for the refugee in an extravagant way!

It can take 1-6 months to be paired with a family, as it’s dependent on the frequency of refugee arrivals and geographic location. We pair family mentors with a family in the same area they live in. Most refugee families are being placed in outer SE currently, but some are occasionally placed in SW or NE.


• Have a group of 4-8 people, located in the same part of the city.
• Be ready to commit to one family for a minimum of eight months.
• In the first 4-6 weeks, be prepared for people within your group to visit the family 2-3 times per week.
• Attending an Info Session or a one on one meeting with a RCC lead is required for all volunteers, and then the group leader can fill out an application here. Email the completed application to