Mentor 18-year-old refugee from Eritrea
Bethany Christian Services
We are looking for a male volunteer, 21 or older, who is interested in mentoring an 18-year-old refugee from Eritrea. He arrived into Bethany's refugee foster care program in November of 2019, lived in one of Bethany's group homes until September of 2020, and has recently moved into Bethany's Independent Living Plus group home on the southwest side of Grand Rapids. His case manager shared that he has limited English abilities, but is able to hold basic conversations and will benefit from practicing with a mentor. The case manager also said, "This caseworker is still not entirely familiar with him after meeting only once but he seems to be fairly easygoing and on track with everything per his previous caseworker. He has been able to maintain several relationships in his new placement with other Eritrean youth that he also lived with at his previous group home."
In his mentoring survey, the youth shared that he is more quiet than talkative, is good to stay home or go out, and enjoys working out at the YMCA and playing soccer. He also said that he likes to exercise and swim, and he is open to trying many new activities during mentoring. He shared he would be open to explore Grand Rapids, work on school stuff, learn a new skill, outdoor activities, sports, movies, cooking/baking, learning to drive, crafts/art, concerts/plays, and looking for college and career information.
This youth grew up in poverty in Eritrea with limited resources and access to school. He reports that his family was not able to provide regular meals and he often had one small meal per day. He stated that the Eritrean army was doing round-ups of youths in his village and many of his friends were taken and conscripted to serve in the army. The youth feared that he would be forced to join the army at a young age as he did not attend school. In 2014 (around age 12), he fled Eritrea as he believed he would be forced to join the army.
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.