Working Group Three was in charge of “increasing awareness of what newcomers contribute to the region and what the region can contribute to newcomers.” and launched the Community Fast Track Mentoring Program. Two immigrant members from the group took an active role in defining resources.
The program has been designed as a peer-to-peer driver. The goal is to match new immigrants with a mentor, a settled immigrant, from their country of origin, who will help familiarize the newcomer with their community in 30 days. With the assistance of a checklist and other available resources, the mentor will help the newcomer settle. Requirements may range from planning their first few days of arrival to understanding the recreational opportunities of each session. At the end of 30 days, the mentor will evaluate any additional assistance required and if needed, transition the newcomer into a long-mentoring program offered by SOICS.
SOICS hosted the 1st Mentor information session in February where fifteen volunteers representing fourteen countries and thirteen languages met each other and agreed to work as a cohort. These volunteer mentors will leverage each other’s knowledge and experience in a support network as they develop relationships with mentees.
Our experience from the first meeting indicates that the mentors will need additional support in
a) becoming more familiar with the community and
b) connecting comfortably with each other as a cohort