Mentor 17-year-old refugee from Honduras
Bethany Christian Services
We are looking for a male, Spanish-speaking volunteer to mentor a 17-year-old refugee youth from Honduras. He arrived into Bethany's refugee foster care program in November of 2019 and is living in one of our residential group homes. After the COVID-19 pandemic began, he has shown more frustrated and angry behavior. He can become quick to anger and can be disrespectful to his peers and staff. He has reported that getting some space and fresh air often helps him process his emotions and thoughts to feel better. His ability to communicate his needs and share the emotions behind his actions and behavior demonstrates his desire to change and be back to his more positive demeanor.
This youth's Christian faith is very important to him. He became a Christian soon after he arrived in the U.S. and this has been a pillar of strength and hope for him. He has been attending Engedi church in Holland, MI where he is able to find community with a Spanish-speaking church congregation. In February, he was baptized at this church. The church closures due to coronavirus are probably contributing to his recent mood changes and behavioral concerns.
His case manager shared the following: "This youth is perceptive, mature, and incredibly resilient despite the many difficulties he has faced in his life. He primarily remains positive and hopeful for his future. His faith is the reason he has been able to accept and process his mother’s unexpected death. Right now, he is struggling with being away from his family who live in Texas. Mother’s day was especially difficult for him. He has reported wanting to stay in the Grand Rapids area or a bit to graduate from high school and resolve his legal case. However, he hopes in the future to be able to spend more time with his family in Texas and maybe move there some day. He really likes to play soccer, go fishing, and get outside the program. He is willing to try new things and learn more about the community. When discussing the mentor program with this youth, he seemed really excited about the potential of having someone who can help him get out of the program or outings as well as to help him in his upcoming transitions out of Casa as he nears 18 years old.
Background: This youth experienced physical abuse by his father from a young age. When he was about 7, his father left the home and did not provide any financial or emotional support to him. When he was about 10 years old, his mother took the two younger siblings and left for the United States. He was left in the care of his grandmother and aunt in Honduras. He experienced physical and verbal abuse in that household, as well as neglect. He left to reunited with family in the United States when he was 16. More information about the youth's background will be shared upon completion of the mentoring application process.
About Bethany Christian Services
1050 36th St. SE, Suite 400, Grand Rapids, MI 49508, US
Bethany demonstrates the love and compassion of Jesus Christ by protecting children, empowering youth, and strengthening families through quality social services.
For refugees fleeing danger, the search for safety can be extremely challenging. And too often, people become numbers in a system that can feel impossible to navigate. That’s why we guide, protect, advocate for, and support refugees. In the U.S., we offer resettlement and continued support services in strategic locations.
Bethany Christian Services' Refugee and Immigrant Services program encompasses adult and family resettlement as well as refugee foster care for Unaccompanied Children and Unaccompanied Refugee Minors. Our services for unaccompanied refugee youth include case management, counseling, housing (foster homes, group homes, independent living), classes (New Arrival, Life Skills, driver's training), and volunteer mentoring and tutoring.