The Refugee Youth Project’s mentoring program matches refugee and asylee youth in Baltimore City and Baltimore County with caring adults who commit to serving as guides, resources, friends, and teachers to youth for a period of 9 months or more.
Young people benefit from additional English language practice, help with schoolwork, goal setting, exploration of careers and interests, recreational activities, visiting Baltimore landmarks, and having a trusted supporter. Students and families are typically referred to the mentoring program by the International Rescue Committee’s Youth Team, a teacher, or a community member.
Youth selected for the program are often in need of additional social, academic, or emotional support to adjust to their new lives in the US, or they may live farther away from RYP’s current after-school program sites. Mentors commit to spending 2 hours per day, one day per week with the families they work with.
Through RYP’s partnership with the International Rescue Committee in Baltimore, the Refugee Youth Project also places adult tutors with single or stay-at-home mothers. Many of the clients referred to us are unable to attend English classes due to childcare restraints or have had previous limited formal education.
Tutors maintain weekly contact with these mothers to build a relationship with them and help them practice their English language skills. Tutors also serve as a resource for the mother and their children, acting as a guide for exploring their neighborhoods, discovering American culture, and becoming a self-sufficient family.
I loved working with my mentee family. [The kids] were amazing and their mother is so invested in helping them. I have volunteered a lot throughout my life in a variety of different settings and this was one of my most rewarding experiences. I felt like I really made a difference in this family’s overall adjustment to their new life.-Youth Mentor
Teachers and Administrators:
Do you work with a refugee or asylee who would benefit by having a one-on-one tutor or mentor and is in 5th-12th grade?
Are you an adult, age 21 or older, that would like to become a role model and mentor to a young refugee? Or, are you interested in working with a single or stay-at-home mother to help her integrate and learn English?
Refugee Youth Project’s College JUMP (Journey Upward Mentoring Program) was created in 2015 through a partnership between the BCCC Refugee Youth Project and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in response to the need RYP staff saw among its students for more college preparation. Undergraduate students volunteer as near-peer mentors to 11th and 12th grade refugee students in Baltimore City and County. Mentors and mentees meet on a weekly basis to go over college exploration, application, and preparation. They also participate in monthly events and/or workshops, aimed to expose students to various aspects of college life. Ultimately, College JUMP strives to empower students with the knowledge, skills, and mindset to gain admission and free prepared for success in postsecondary institutions.