April 11, 2022

Refugee Family Mentor Becomes Part of the Family

Catholic Community Services’ Family Mentors assist our clients in a variety of ways. From assisting families with transportation and helping them learn English to introducing them to neighbors and becoming long-term friends themselves, Family Mentors do it all. 

Gina, a Refugee Family Mentor, is one of many volunteers who have greatly impacted the lives of our clients in this role.  

At the end of 2021, Gina had been volunteering at the CCS’ Sharehouse and thoroughly enjoyed the time she spent there. She then started volunteering with CCS by helping with transportation for clients to medical appointments, English classes, and more.  

When Gina met the family that she now volunteers with, she wasn’t planning to become a Family Mentor. Instead, she was excited to become certified to teach English as a second language to serve the refugee community in the area.  

However, in December 2021, Gina picked up a recently arrived refugee family and brought them to CCS’ office for an appointment.  

“After that day at CCS, I dropped them back off at home and I came home and I just couldn’t stop thinking about them,” Gina said.  “Their twelve-year-old daughter especially just stole my heart. So, a few days later I called [CCS] and said I wanted to mentor this family.” 

Since then, Gina and her family have made a multitude of memories together. One of her favorite memories was helping the mother learn to read a book in English, despite being unable to read or write in her native language. 

Gina took a set of books to their home that are designed to teach reading skills. After teaching her the sounds that would be introduced in the first book, she read it on her own three times. 

“She read it three times and she wanted to keep it for a few days so she could show her daughter after school that she could read it,” Gina said. “She’s since read book number two and book number three. It’s really satisfying to teach someone how to read.” 

Gina continues to play an important role in the family's life, and they in hers.  

“This family is so grateful and they’re trying so hard to assimilate and become self-sufficient and it just makes me want to help them even more,” Gina said. “I just really love being with them.” 

Thank you Gina, for all that you do to support Catholic Community Services and our clients! 

If you’re interested in becoming a Family Mentor, find more information here.