The Youth Mentoring (YM) program funds grantees to match eligible youth with mentors, who will support their successful integration and help them thrive. Grantees will also provide case management to support individual educational and career development goals.
All ORR-eligible individuals between the ages of 15-24 can receive services for up to five years from their date of eligibility. However, grantees prioritize new arrivals and those requiring additional social, academic, vocational, or emotional support.
ORR established the YM program to address the needs of refugee youth and young adults and promote their positive civic and social engagement. Often times, youth arrive to the U.S. following long periods of displacement and/or exposure to conflict, which has caused trauma. Many also have limited English proficiency, possess no family ties, and have had little or no previous formal schooling. The YM program aims to provide the social, educational, and vocational supports needed to ensure all refugee youth and young adults are well-positioned on a path towards self-sufficiency and integration.
Services for youth may include:
- Developing opportunities and activities to promote social and life skills
- Providing opportunities for social engagement with peers
- Introducing American culture, while maintaining and celebrating the youth’s cultural heritage
- Providing information about civic and community service activities
- Supporting learning of English, math, and other skills
- Offering academic support (managing homework and school transitions)
- Assisting with career development: skill building, résumé drafting, understanding worker’s rights, and trainings
- Developing health and financial literacy
For more information on the YM program, view Policy Letter 19-02.
ORR funds grantees to carry out the YM program through a Refugee Support Services (RSS) Formula “Set-Aside.” To learn more, view our Dear Colleague Letter.
As part of the YM program, grantees are required to:
- Perform an initial assessment of the needs and goals of the youth and develop a plan to meet those needs through educational, vocational, and social activities
- Provide case management, documenting services provided and noting the progress of meeting the youth’s needs and goals
- Recruit and train mentors on how to support refugee youth
- Screen potential mentors, including reviewing their background for histories of criminal or child abuse
Grantees may also develop an incentive program that encourages youth to participate in the YM program. Incentives may include, but are not limited to, paying registration fees or tuition costs for educational, vocational, apprenticeship, and career development activities, or providing donated goods, such as computers. If a grantee chooses to establish an incentive program, the grantee must document the policy and ensure a fair and consistent implementation plan.
Contact your State Refugee Coordinator (SRC) to find local YM programs.