Mentors who volunteer through LSS Refugee Services act as a guide and friend for a refugee or refugee couple in their challenging first months in the United States. Each mentor/mentee paring will involve setting 2-3 goals/focuses for the mentorship. Some sample activities that a Refugee Mentor may help with include:
- Teach refugee/refugee family how to ride the bus to their ELL class location, grocery store.
- Visit community resources, like the library, food shelves, and cultural organizations.
- Practice counting and using American currency.
- Teach the family how to make a money order and pay rent.
- Teach a refugee how to use appliances – laundry, stove and oven, thermostat.
- Help family members learn the English language by practicing with them.
- Assist with a job application or practice interview skills.
- Provide transportation
Please Note: A case worker works with each refugee for at least their first 90 days in the US. These first needs are called the “core services,” and include housing, furniture, basic household items, medical care, social security, employment authorization documentation and school enrollment. Mentors are not responsible for these services.
Time Commitment and Scheduling: Mentors make a commitment to meet at least once a week for three months. Meetings are scheduled at the discretion of the volunteer and the availability of the refugee. This volunteer opportunity has the potential to extend beyond three months, if all parties are interested in continuing.
Location varies, but will most likely be at the refugee’s home and in the community.
Cross-cultural sensitivity, flexibility, patience, and a sense of humor. Ability to work with people with basic English proficiency. Interest in helping refugees with resettlement needs. An application, interview, and background check are required. Training and supervision are provided.
Lynn Mullin, LSS Refugee Services Volunteer Coordinator