Cultural Mentor
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Cultural Mentor

You’ll be a friendly host to a newly resettled refugee family! You’ll partner with an individual or family and meet with them weekly for an hour or more, depending on your availability and the family’s needs. As New Americans become comfortable with living in the United States, you’ll help acclimate them to Grand Rapids. You may do things like take them to the grocery store, show them the post office, help them use the library computers, practice English, etc. You’ll offer friendship, advocacy, and help as they learn to be self-sufficient in their new home.

Show me how to get started
1 hour/week for 3 months
18+; pass a background check
Varies based on New Americans' location

Is This the Right Fit for Me?

You love meeting people of all backgrounds and learning their stories. You have a passion for making people feel welcome. You get that interacting with cultures different than yours requires flexibility and patience. You have empathy that allows you to consider what may be challenging for someone entirely new to something you do every day, like grocery shopping or using a library. You know that celebrating our differences and learning from new Americans make Grand Rapids an even better place.

About Samaritas

Samaritas (formerly Lutheran Social Services of Michigan) creates communities of service. They walk with people in need, offering hope and compassion while upholding their dignity, advocating for equality and justice, and seeking creative solutions.

  • Samaritas African Mother And Children2
  • Samaritas Mother And Child Carrier
  • Samaritas Mother And Child

What Others are Saying

“I was assigned to be a Cultural Mentor to a family of seven from the Congo.  I began meeting with them weekly a little over a month after they arrived, and there was no doubt I was meeting a real need.  It is an enormous transition these families are making—new language, new culture, new schools, new everything.  They need our support. The challenge comes from the fact that you can never anticipate the family's needs; after a tornado, we found out by chance that they had lost all electricity and were unable to cook. Refugee resettlement is an enormous challenge for this country.  If you want to make a significant, immediate contribution to people whose lives are very much in transition—this is a place you can do it.”


Contact the Organization

If you’re ready to ask some questions and get started, contact the Samaritas directly.

Rebecca Walsh Community Outreach Coordinator 616-222-6097

What to Expect

Reach out to Rebecca (left), and she’ll email you a volunteer application and information about the next orientation. Orientations are one-hour and held monthly on Tuesday evenings. (Individual orientations can be arranged at other times.) The orientation will explore what refugee resettlement looks like in America, what an average week is like for a volunteer, and do’s and don’ts for working with New Americans. As you get to know your matched family, Samaritas will continue to answer any questions or offer general support.