Mentor 16-year-old refugee from El Salvador in Rockford
Bethany Christian Services
We are seeking a male volunteer to mentor a Current a 16-year-old from El Salvador who has been in Bethany's program since March of 2020. He lived at one of Bethany's residential group homes for unaccompanied minors until his move to a foster home in Rockford last month. His case manager shared, "He has been enrolled at a local charter school. He was only able to attend a few days in person before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the schools to shut down. He has since been completing packets of work that have been set home from teachers. He is very motivated to get his work done and seeks the help of staff often. He would also spend time on his homework packets after the allotted time for school in the program because he was eager to complete them. His English skills are amazing, considering his lack of training and schooling. He is able to hold conversations in English, interpret for his peers, as well as translate documents. He is eager to continue learning and practicing. He interacts well with his peers and with staff at the group home, and he was well-liked by others in the program, often seeking to spend time with his peers or staff.
This youth is healthy and enjoys being active. He specifically enjoys going on walks, going fishing, playing American football, and playing basketball. I would also say he is open to trying new things. He is extremely resilient, kind, and hard working. He is highly engaged in the services being provided to him and participates in the activities offered. He gets along well with his peers and is respectful of staff. This youth enjoys staying busy and has enjoyed fishing and playing sports. He has remained positive despite the COVID-19 pandemic happening shortly after his arrival which then led to a stay at home order. Overall, he has done well but has expressed wanting to get out and enjoy the community around him - which is reasonable given the circumstances. There are no problems to report for him, as he is a great kid who the staff enjoy having around as he is helpful and follows directions. He loves attention and thrives off being praised for his hard work and accomplishments."
Background: This youth grew up without his father, who left the family when he was born, claiming that he was not his son. He was raised primarily by his grandmother, and his mother was often gone. When his mother was around, she would sometimes physically abuse him. There was also community violence where this youth lived in El Salvador. A gang attempted to recruit him on a few different occasions. On one occasion, he was beat up by the gang due for refusing to join them. Because he did not feel safe, he left for Mexico with his mother. However, she continued to be physically abusive to him as well as his mother’s boyfriend. He continued on to the U.S. on his own, and when he arrived he was placed in a shelter for over a year where attempts were made to reunify him with family members in the United States. Unfortunately, no one was able to care for him and he was placed into long term foster care. At this time, the youth primarily keeps in contact with his grandmother in El Salvador and has very limited contact with his mother.
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.