Our Family Mentorship Program
One way to depict the significance of our Mentorship Programs is to imagine what it would be like to be forced to flee your home with the task to rebuild your life again in a new country.
What would you need? Who would be there to assist you? How would you hope to be treated by your new neighbors?
One of the key ways we support our newest neighbors is through coming alongside in relationships that empower people toward self-sufficiency. In our Family Mentorship Program, one or more community members are paired with a resettled family or individual to provide friendship and much needed support.
Here’s a glimpse into what many of these recent relationships have looked like:
- Prepping for job interviews
- Filling out school registration forms
- Providing English language learning
- Finding affordable housing
- Connecting to critical resources
- Having one another over for dinner
- Going on hikes
- Attending weddings and graduations, and so much more.
Mentors have walked alongside families through the joy, woes, and ordinary parts of life, and we hear often that our Family Mentorship Program is transformative not just for our newest neighbors but also for volunteers.
Among the many meaningful pairings this year was connecting volunteers with a single mother and daughter from Eritrea. They have shared many meals together and the volunteers journeyed with this small family through early childhood registration and graduation. The volunteers were even present for the daughter’s Head Start graduation ceremony, not simply as mentors, but as friends of the family.
Recently, we paired a family of three from Afghanistan who arrived earlier this year – the mother, father, and their four-month old. The father currently works a minimum-wage job while he attempts to identify one more suited to his expertise as a statistician, while the new mother has shared that she’s been unable to build community or attend English language classes. We were able to pair this family with a mentor who also has a four-month old, and longed to provide support to mothers new to the country. Though these mothers do not yet share a language, it has been incredible to witness them bond over motherhood, bringing their babies close to interact with one another. This mentor continues to provide immeasurable support to her new friends by supporting the family with various applications and identifying local resources for the mother and baby.
In another recent pairing, we paired a mentor team with a family of seven from Afghanistan. The father and mother were elated to meet these mentors. They shared that having the volunteers in their home was the first time they hosted people native to Oregon. The volunteers are coming alongside the father to complete the courses he needs to prepare him to work in his preferred field. Additionally, the volunteers are planning to support the mother, who completed engineering studies in Afghanistan, with building her English language skills and being able to independently navigate the support her family needs, which she shared is important to her. We’re eager to see these relationships unfold.
One of the greatest losses our resettled neighbors endure is the loss of community. The impact of our Family Mentorship Program extends beyond meeting a family’s tangible needs; through building community, we help our resettled neighbors rebuild their home.
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