Resources for Mentoring Refugee, Immigrant & Newcomer Children and Youth

The following documents and associated resources have been developed with the support and advice of many community agencies across Alberta. Many of the resources have been adapted from Mentoring Immigrant and Refugee Youth: A Toolkit for Program Coordinators. They are intended to support community-based groups and organizations that are striving to develop and deliver quality mentoring programs to children and youth who are new to Canada. The tools are based upon research and the combined expertise of those who are already doing this important work.

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The Importance of Mentoring

For years, Canada has been home to thousands of refugees, immigrants, and newcomers from around the world. Most recently, the largest influx of newcomers have been Syrian refugees displaced from conflict. As of January 29th, 2017, Canada has welcomed 40,081 Syrian refugees. This is not the first time, and sadly, it likely won’t be the last that those fleeing conflict or strife will need to find a new home.

Mentoring is the simple act of an adult or older individual spending dedicated time with a younger person. By creating a relationship based on trust and open communication, mentors help kids foster a sense of belonging, build self-confidence and learn new skills and passions. Talking and spending time with engaged adults provides children with positive experiences during periods of heightened brain development. That kind of positive mentoring can help children build a solid foundation that prepares them to adapt to the future demands of the adult world. Mentoring for refugee, immigrant & newcomer children and youth helps them succeed in school, and adjust to their new home.

Spending time with a young person may seem simple, but science tells us that healthy interactions with supportive adults boosts children’s brain development, mental health, and well-being. This is even more important in helping youth who are transitioning from a new country or culture.

It doesn’t take any special skills or accomplishments to be a mentor. If you find yourself reading this, you already have what it takes: an interest in making a difference in the life of a child.

Become a mentor and help a young person do better in school, understand their strengths, and reach for their goals. Your presence, time, support, advice, friendship and constructive role modelling can make a big difference.

We know that refugee, immigrant & newcomer children and youth are in need of unique supports and interventions. Establishing strong mentoring relationships can help a young person thrive, and in turn have a positive impact on the whole family.

Whether you are working with Syrian refugee youth who have recently arrived, or more established communities, there are universal practices and considerations outlined below that will maximize your impact.

Consider these best practices, success, and challenges as you get started, or as you rework your current program. Mentoring refugee and newcomer youth is an enriching experience, for both the mentor and participant.

Resources for Mentoring Refugee, Immigrant & Newcomer Children and Youth

The following document and associated resources have been developed with the support and advice of many community agencies across Alberta. Many of the resources have been adapted from Mentoring Immigrant and Refugee Youth: A Toolkit for Program Coordinators. They are intended to support community-based groups and organizations that are striving to develop and deliver quality mentoring programs to children and youth who are new to Canada. The tools are based upon research and the combined expertise of those who are already doing this important work.

DOWNLOAD ALL THE RESOURCES (.zip)

If you click the link above (Download all the Resources), you will receive a .zip file that includes the main document, Mentoring Refugee, Immigrant & Newcomer Children and Youth, along with six further resources also linked below.

The Mentoring Refugee, Immigrant & Newcomer Children and Youth Resource is split into 9 resources — see below for an introduction to each resource and which page they can be found in the main document.

Further Resources

Mentoring a Unique or Diverse Population?

If you are working with a unique or diverse community please supplement these steps with the tools and resources included in the sections below. These additional tools have been developed to support mentoring programs with immigrant, refugee, Indigenous youth and youth in care.