A little over a month after they arrived in the United States, we received a referral for a family of four from Afghanistan – a widowed mother and her three daughters – for mentorship support. The family had a tie in the United States. whose own life was quite full and did not have capacity to provide robust support to this family.
We identified a family mentor who lives close to this family’s home to provide support with navigating life in their home, share resources that are available to the family, and who will get to know the family well enough to identify their specific needs.
In the introductory meeting with the family, their new mentor, and Refugee Care Collective staff, we learned even more about this wonderful family. The oldest daughters were brilliant students who were working to be in the medical field, before women were prohibited from attending school in Afghanistan. After the ban, they were no longer able to continue their education and desperately desired to return to school. Before our introductory meeting, the oldest daughters had already located the nearest community college and had begun working on their enrollment.
Refugee Care Collective supported the daughters furthering their education through our Digital Devices Program, as the mentor provided support in ensuring they were all set up well. The oldest daughters are beginning classes at a local community college this summer. As the mentor and family were connected, the family had only explored as far as they could walk from their apartment, and they now have plans to explore more of Oregon with their mentor as well.
Many families we get to pair in our Family Mentorship program share how deeply meaningful it is to have mentors come alongside them in their first few months or years in the United States. For many families, mentors are the first friends they’ve made outside their community. From navigating parent-teacher meetings, doctors appointments, job interview practice and so much more, we are grateful to have such incredible mentors who are committed to supporting resettled families as they navigate life in their new home.