Family Mentorship Program

If you’re interested in volunteering as a Family Mentor, fill out our Volunteer Form here.

Faith communities interested in hosting a volunteer orientation can email us here.

When refugees arrive in Oregon, they are faced with significant challenges learning how to rebuild their lives in a new country. We’ve been told by many of our new neighbors that the process of transitioning to life in a new country is often more traumatic than the pain of being displaced.

From cultural differences to limited government and resettlement agency support, to not knowing anyone or speaking the language yet, many daily tasks can be daunting and overwhelming. We believe that refugees shouldn’t need to navigate this process alone.

Our Family Mentorship Program pairs mentor volunteers in year-long relationships with refugee families and individuals, empowering them to be self-sufficient, connecting them to community resources, and most importantly, providing friendship in a time that’s marked by such hardship.

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

Family mentor 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 a one-year commitment to a family or individual, 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.

Add-On: In-Home English Language Learning

The In-Home English Language Learning is an add-on to the Family Mentorship Program, which serves to empower English language learners by building their functional vocabulary. The English language learning is geared to non-native speakers who are beginner English speakers or do not speak English yet. Volunteers do not need to be certified English developmental teachers, but will be supplementing the English language classes and vocabulary the client has already learned or is learning; a tool that would be provided is The Oxford Picture Dictionary, which uses basic phrases and words to build a functional vocabulary.

The curriculum is specific and based on the needs of the client (e.g. what phrases to use at the grocery store, how to contact the school to ask for an interpreter for a meeting, etc.). Through one on one relationships, the refugee individual and volunteer work through a written curriculum, meeting weekly in the refugee’s home for one year.

Potential volunteers attend a Volunteer Orientation, fill out an application, and agree to a background check. Fill out our Volunteer Form here.