World Relief Tri-Cities Mentoring Program
New refugees need more help than World Relief can possibly provide. More than help, they need friends – people who will come alongside them and show them the way. That is your task as a Mentor.
Mentors get connected with the new refugee family as soon as possible after arrival. Each relationship is different, but the cornerstone is that you make a commitment to try to spend at least two hours a week with the refugee for 12 weeks (it’s no problem if you can’t do it every single week). These two hours per week can be committed to English practice with a book that World Relief will provide or it can entail helping the family with numerous other needs. Instead of us asking you to help us with specific tasks helping different people from week to week, you spend time with a specific family, assess their needs, and then do what you can to help them. The key word for mentoring a family is “Assessment.” Since each family is different, mentor roles can be very different with each new family. Mentor roles can simply be practicing English together for a couple of hours a week. Often times, you will see the needs and as time allows, you may find yourself spending more time and helping with some of the following:
• English practice (World Relief has books you can use)
• Shopping – food, thrift stores for clothing and household needs
• Helping World Relief with the numerous appointments during the first few weeks
• Showing them how to use the bus
• Looking for work with them
• Helping them understand bills and letters
• Sharing your life with them and learning about theirs – food, culture, history
• Accessing medical services as needed
Of course, it is wonderful if you can spend more than two hours a week helping the family. It is also great if you want to give them things that will help them toward self-sufficiency. On the other hand, you may need to set limits on your gifts of time and resources. When you have reached your limit, it is fine for you to say “no” to requests for help from the refugee family and from World Relief. This is very important since the family and World Relief may not have a clear idea of the other commitments and responsibilities you may have.
At the end of the twelve weeks, you and World Relief will discuss your assignment. It may be that your time with the family has run its natural course. On the other hand, you may feel that you have plenty of work to do with this family and may like to continue with them for another 3 months. Some volunteers may end up never taking another assignment as these friendships can continue for years after the official ministry “assignment” ends.
Our program is designed for both individual volunteer mentors and also groups. When groups formally agree to serve a family it is called “sponsorship.” For both individual mentoring and group sponsorship there is a background and reference check, formal orientation and then ongoing support.
For more information, please contact Kristina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips for filling out a volunteer application: