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Help Wanted: Program Seeks Mentors for Young Refugees in Southern Kentucky

Becca Schimmel

A resettlement agency in Bowling Green is looking for mentors to pair with high school-aged refugees. It’s part of a new effort called the Refugee Youth Mentorship Program.

Refugees in their sophomore of high school up to the year after their senior year are eligible to be paired with a mentor. The youth will set their own goals with their mentor in hopes of improving academics, resume building, or career coaching.

Jessie Meier is the volunteer and youth mentorship case manager at the Warren County-based International Center of Kentucky. She said the program will fill an unmet need for the refugee community.

“We have lots of programs here to help with parents and adults who are refugees but the youth population is a little bit undeserved,” she said.

The mentoring program is available to students in the Bowling Green and Warren County school systems, as well as nearby students resettled by the International Center.

Meier said some refugees need emotional support, as well as help with their homework because of their English language skills.

“These kids are getting a little bit looked over and they have very specific needs that possibly aren’t being met by their schools,” she said.

The program will help students navigate college applications and find resources for financial aid.

Mentors who want to sign up are required to commit to it for at least six months. The effort is supported by a one-year grant from the Kentucky Office of Refugees.  

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