Mentor Handbook

Welcome! We are thrilled that you have decided to mentor. Below you’ll find links to our resources, history, an outline of the mentor role and a few other things to help you get started. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or concerns that come up as you begin. Thank you for helping to make Portland a welcoming community for those seeking asylum.

Jill Epstein, Coordinator, Welcoming the Stranger

  1. Resources and Support
    1. Google Group – our network of mentors for posting needs, resources, articles
      Use this forum as much or as little as you’d like, but please remember that unless it is something with more general application, hit “reply” rather than “reply all” when responding to an inquiry.

      1. To post something to the group send an email to: welcoming-the-stranger@googlegroups.com
      2. To get into the group to find past information use this link.
    2. WTS website – a place to find a wealth of information on everything pertinent to mentoring
    3. Mentor Events – Support Groups & Trainings
    4. Resources an abundance of information to support your mentee: GA, child care, social services, housing, etc.
  2. History of the WTS Program
  3. Mentor’s Role
  4. Understanding the Asylum Process
  5. Working with New Mainers

    1. Managing expectations and boundaries – yours and theirs

      1. Expect some miscommunication- don’t assume it is personal. Give time for the relationship to develop.
      2. It is not expected that you provide monetary support or gifts of any kind, but if you choose to please be aware of General Assistance (GA) rules so you do not jeopardize your mentee’s eligibility. The GA recipients sign a contract that they need to follow. You should read and understand that contract. Use the google group if you have specific questions.
      3. Be careful of setting up ongoing expectations. It is important to set reasonable limits to avoid burnout.
      4. Note that our goal is to empower not rescue.
    2. Working with English Language Learners
    3. Cultural Sensitivity
    4. Respecting privacy

      1. Asylum seekers have often experienced significant trauma and are in a legal limbo that may be scary and unsettling especially in our current political climate. Don’t ask them for their ‘story’ or why they’re here. Instead, allow them tell their stories to you at their own pace (or not at all).
      2. Don’t share photos of your mentees on social media etc. without explicit consent.
  6. Managing Crises
    If there is a situation that you are unsure how to handle please let us know and we will work with you to find a solution.
  7. Accessing the Critical Needs Fund