International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Friend of the Family Mentor Program

Become a Friend of the Family Mentor and help a newly arrived refugee family adapt to a new home, new culture and new life in the U.S. You can warmly welcome a family into our community by serving as a friend, a guide and an advocate. Your mentoring experience may take many forms and can include things like visiting each other’s homes or going on scheduled outings such as concerts, sporting events or plays. Playing simple board games, cooking a dinner together, or otherwise making time for your family will show that you care and are sincere in your desire to help them adapt.

Other common mentor activities include assisting kids with homework, helping family members improve their English language skills, or assisting with simple, everyday tasks like sorting through mail. Mentors are a valuable source of cultural knowledge and help family members learn new customs and norms. Mentors also serve as an extra source of support to refugees seeking their first jobs in the U.S. by teaching them about the job search process, basic job-readiness skills such as workplace etiquette and expectations, as well as work-related language skills.

Mentors help refugee families become familiar with new systems and community resources, and help families learn to troubleshoot challenges they encounter. Mentors also keep the IRC up-to-date on their family’s progress by encouraging clients to communicate with IRC staff and, in some cases, directly alerting staff of questions, concerns or success stories. The ultimate goal of the Mentor is to support IRC clients on their paths toward living independent and involved lives in their new community.

LOCATION: Primarily South King County (requires frequent travel to this location)

TIME COMMITMENT: Average 2-4 hours per week, flexible days/times. Minimum 6 month commitment.


  • Meet with a refugee family on a weekly basis to engage in activities together – activities can be practical, educational or just for fun!
  • Familiarize the family with services and resources available in the community
  • Help the family troubleshoot challenges they encounter
  • Help orient the family to a new neighborhood, culture and environment
  • Help family members improve their English language skills


  • Must be culturally sensitive and respectful of diverse backgrounds, lifestyles and beliefs
  • Previous experience working with refugee/immigrant, multi-cultural and/or low-income communities preferred
  • Must be willing to communicate with English language learners
  • Report volunteer hours monthly to IRC Volunteer Specialist and communicate updates (including questions, concerns or ideas) regularly to IRC Mentor Team
  • Respect client privacy and treat family information as confidential
  • Must be able to fulfill at least a six month time commitment
  • Flexibility, resourcefulness, and easy-going attitude


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