Our Mentorship Program

Matching recently resettled refugee and immigrant families with local mentors

The core of Hello Neighbor is a mentorship program where we match recently resettled refugee and immigrant families (our mentees) with local mentors. The initial time commitment is a minimum of 10 hours per month for 6 months, but many of the relationships created in our program remain active after the initial time commitment and develop into long term (and potentially lifelong) friendships.

Mentors are strategically matched with the refugee and immigrant families based on a variety of factors including geographic proximity (to cut down on driving time), family composition, availability and interest areas. The matches decide what to do together with activities ranging from playing at the local park, to attending Hello Neighbor events, to helping the families read mail and teaching them to write a check.

In 2017 and 2018, we matched 25 refugee families with 25 mentors. The mentees included refugee families from 7 countries - Myanmar, Bhutan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Our requirements for being a mentee are that the family has been in the United States between 6 months and 5 years, has a child under the age of 18 in the home and at least one of the parents has a job. We could talk a lot about why these requirements exist, but to simplify our goal is to help with post-resettlement and self-sufficiency and these so we are working alongside refugee resettlement agencies and other social service agencies, not to replace them, but to compliment their work in the community.

Our mentors have come from a variety of Pittsburgh neighborhoods (over 23 different zip codes), truly spanning the whole city. Something really unique about our program is that mentorship is available for the whole family! Mentors have included individuals, couples, families with young children, families with older kids, empty nesters and retirees. Families make up 50% of our mentors and we have heard this is a great family activity and something you can do as a family to give back to the community, learn about other cultures and build empathy.

Because of the isolation many refugees face when they are first resettled, it is difficult to measure the impact a program like Hello Neighbor has on their lives but through our first program in 2017, we heard positive feedback from all involved. In fact, 100% of program participants said this program positively impacted their lives and they would recommend it to others! (Check out our 2017 Impact Report!)

For a few hours a couple times a month you can meet your new neighbors, help Pittsburgh become a more welcoming city, and help our new neighbors achieve success in their new lives in Pittsburgh.