YOUTH HOME MENTORING PROGRAM

5 "More" Reasons to Mentor

As a volunteer with the Home Mentoring Program, you have so much to offer our region’s refugee youth. Mentors support our students in building academic and social confidence, English language skills, and facilitate student’s adjustment to a new culture. But we fundamentally believe that this experience has just as much, if not more, to offer you.

Here are 5 more reasons to step forward, and discover all the perks this program has in store for you.

1. Make a new best friend, and meet your new adopted family

Cleveland’s refugee families are eager for friends in their community. Their hospitality is like no other, and in time it only grows. No matter how humble their home, their means, they are always exceedingly generous and gracious for the opportunity to return the welcome. You’ll have a new biggest fan expecting you week by week; little ones will rush to give out hugs as you come and go, parents will eavesdrop in awe at your English, and elderly grandparents will offer their quiet smiles. You’ll also have a team of fellow mentors who’ve got your back to collaborate on field trips, holiday meals, and other fun events for your refugee family.

2. Immerse yourself in new cultural traditions and perspectives

What do you know about the Congo? Burma? Somalia? Syria? Our refugee families’ homes are alive with the sights and sounds of a place that tells their story. From a mouthful of new greetings to a plate of samboosa hot off the frying pan, our refugee families are always excited to offer a cultural exchange. Music and dance of unfamiliar pop stars in brightly colored outfits fill their TV screens as teens sing along to their favorite tunes from a place they once called home.

3. Rediscover Cleveland from the eyes of a newcomer.

Answer their burning questions and reexamine the ideas that seem so commonplace to the rest of us – what is an A on a report card? why do popcorn and movies go together? Why are the Browns so loved? Who and why is Justin Bieber? Dig deep and find new wonder in many of the things you thought you knew.

4. Build your resume.

Volunteering regularly for a cause you believe speaks volumes about your willingness to act to make a difference, as well as perseverance. Volunteering as a mentor will provide you the opportunity to practice and develop a number of skills: Cross cultural communication, English as a Second Language teaching, literacy and math tutoring, cultivating strong interpersonal relationships, and working with youth. Mentors who take the time to develop a relationship with our staff and maintain a strong commitment to the program benefit from the opportunity to request letters of recommendation from the organization for graduate programs and other purposes. Whether you are early in your career or nearly ready to retire, your journey as a volunteer mentor will provide you with many memorable experiences and lessons to carry forward and share with others.

5. Show off your adventure creds.

Few of our refugee students have strayed far beyond their home or school, and exploring unfamiliar place on one’s own can be intimidating. You can expand their horizons through a hike in Cleveland’s Metroparks, an unforgettable performance at Playhouse Square, or a wild adventure around the ice rink. You can grant these families the chance to tag along in new experiences with a trusted friend and cultural guide, build new memories, and learn and grow in ways that will make this unfamiliar place quickly feel like a home. You can be a critical part in writing their story, just as they will inevitably play a part in writing yours.

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