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Mentor 17-year-old refugee from Eritrea

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Bethany Christian Services

We are looking for a male volunteer to mentor a 17-year-old male refugee youth from Eritrea who arrived into Bethany's refugee foster care program in January of 2020. He has a medium level of English understanding and poor speaking abilities. This youth smokes but states that he wants to quit without the use of the Patch. This is problematic given the illegality for a minor to smoke and his repeated behavior of leaving campus without notifying staff.

Background: This youth's father was imprisoned when the youth was seven years old, so he grew up with his mother and several siblings. In 2015 he was forced to quit school at the instruction of his mother and work to help his family financially. His lack of attendance in the school created an increased likelihood that he would be targeted for conscription into the Eritrean military. In July 2016, with the assistance of his uncle, the youth fled Eritrea by boat and entered Sudan, where he stayed with his brother for several months. In January 2017 he left for Libya with the intention of reaching Europe. He reports that he was held in a warehouse in Libya for a year. His family had to pay a significant amount to clear his debt, and then he was sent to continue his journey. He was on a boat, attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea, before being apprehended by Libyan Police. He was taken by Libyan authorities and detained for six months. Due to a violent outbreak related to the war, the detention guards let him and the other detainees escape. He reports he made his way with other escapees to a different city in Libya, where he registered with the UNHCR. In November 2018 he was evacuated by the UNHCR to Niger and assessed to qualify for resettlement as an unaccompanied refugee minor

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About Bethany Christian Services


1050 36th St. SE, Suite 400, Grand Rapids, MI 49508, US

Mission Statement

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.

Children & Youth
Immigrants & Refugees


We'll work with your schedule.


1050 36th St. SESuite 400Grand RapidsKentwood, MI 49508



  • Mentoring
  • English as a Secondary Language (ESL)
  • People Skills
  • Relationship Building




  • Driver's License Needed
  • Background Check
  • Must be at least 21
  • Orientation or Training
  • One year, four hours per month
  • Application, references, background clearances, interview, training

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