The Mentor Program
Are you interested in getting to know recently resettled refugees? The Mentoring Program encourages established members of the community to serve as a friend, guide and advisor to newly arrived refugees. Becoming a mentor allows community members to share personal knowledge, skills and American culture with newly arrived refugees. In turn, mentors will learn about the lifestyle and culture of the refugee family. As most of the refugees we pair are new to the United States, mentors often become their very first American friend. Help us, in our mission to welcome the stranger, one refugee family at a time.
Here at Migration and Refugee Services we also see this as an excellent way for people to share their culture as well. Often, the individuals that you will meet will have no American friends. Have a chance to be a bridge builder and welcome the stranger.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the time commitment?
We ask that all mentors dedicate at least one hour per week for three months.
What do I do with the refugees during our weekly meeting?
During the initial mentor introduction, refugees will set 2 – 3 goals to work on with their mentor(s) over the course of the three month period. Some examples of goals include: improve English language skills, learn to ride the bus to the doctor, become comfortable using a washer and dryer, open a bank account, etc.
Do I have the mentor alone?
No. Often, groups of people will choose to mentor together. Families benefit from the combined experience, skills and networks of multiple mentors.
Will I be able to mentor multiple families?
Mentors focus on one single family per three month period. After the initial three months, most mentors extend their time with the family to set new goals and further grow in relationship. Some mentors also choose to be matched with a new family.
What type of screening and training will I be subject to?
As per Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland requirements, every individuals who is interested in becoming a mentor must be vetted through the Volunteer Coordinator. Steps for vetting include: 1) Submission of a Volunteer Application; 2) Phone Interview with the Volunteer Coordinator; 3) Reference Check; 4) Background Check; 5) Refugee 101 Presentation and Mentor Training; 6) VIRTUS: Protecting God’s Children for Adults. The entire process takes about a month.