There are two types of Mentor Families plus a Mentor Family Sponsor Category
The primary difference between the two types of Mentor Families is if they host and mentor the refugee family or do not host but mentor. The guidance, coaching and support provided is similar in all other aspects.
At this time it should be noted that the Canadian Government is not offering financial support to arriving Ukrainians as they are not classified as refugees. We are working to change this, however the current situation requires private support of incoming refugees.
Mentor Family (Hosting)
A hosting mentor family provide accomodation for the refugee family often in thier own home or a place they own, or have control over (rental house for example).
It is expected that this is a short term hosting requirement, as through the resources provided, the network of connections, financial setup, familiarity with the community, employmnet with childcare and schooling setup, are to be completed so that housing and refugee independence can then be established.
The hosting mentor family facilitates the refugee family becoming independent and will follow up periodically to ensure everything is ok, until confident follow up is no longer required.
A mentor family provide guidance, support, and coaching in the early days of arrival in Canada. Designated mentor families can take on more than one refugee family, but we do not recommend more than 3 at any one time.
For the refugee family, this is a very stressful transition. They have likely come with very little to nothing, likely know very little english, and Canadian culture and habits will not be familiar to them.
A mentor family is to be a supportive integration into this new world, even if it is not to be permanent. FundraiseUkraine supports the mentor families by providing lists of resources, contacts, and methods for helping with this process to make it as easy as possible. The mentor family has support from FundraiseUkraine, other mentor families, and in turn supports the refugee family.
Mentor Family Sponsor
A mentor family sponsor provides financial (or other predetermined support) at an arms length and may not be directly involved in supporting or assisting the refugee family.
We recognized that not all Mentor Families, although wanting to help, are equally as capable to handle extra expenses or challenges that may come with a refugee family. For this reason we add an 'angel' layer to our Mentor Family Network. MFN Sponsors can be persons, companies or other families that cannot devote the time or energy to activelly support a refugee family, but have funds or other resources they can contribute as needed.
Sponsors can contribute in many different ways either one time, periodically or as needed:
- Supplies and items as needed
- Health care or medical coverage
Mentor Family Functions
This is only to facilitate understanding of the role, a full and detailed Mentor Family Guidebook from MFNO, which is tailored to incoming Ukrainian refugees will have more information and details as time progresses.
This list is not in any particular order but helps to illustrate roles as per timing:
Prior to refugee arrival
- Familiarize yourself with possible incoming refugee needs and requirements. Currently this is likely to be mothers and children primarily
- Review the guidebook, and attend a Mentor Family Network (MFN) Workgroup to establish and understand support channels
- Ensure accomodations are set for incoming refugee family (this may include furnishings)
- Ensure start kits are available (cleaning, kitchen supplies, linens, etc.)
- Plan the first meeting (interpreter?)
- Meet at the airport
- Ensure required documents
- Bring to accomodation
First 24 hours
- Orientation (safety, home, and general community)
- Assess needs and determine priorities (health/medical, supplies, clothing, personal items, etc.)
- Settlement Process and Services
- Ensure VISA's and other applications are filed
- Health Coverage - Interim, Expanded, OHIP (when applicable)
- Assist in obtaining ID and other identification documents (SIN as applicable)
- Assist in shopping
- Recreation and Neighbourhood Integration
- places of worship
- outdoor/social activities
- children activities
- Finacial setup assistance
- banking setup
- government registrations as applicable
- taxes setup
- Childcare, schooling and educational requirements
- full-day kindergarten
- elementary or secondary school
- vaccinations in relation to school
- other child care
- english as second language courses, other forms of learning
- Assist in finding permanent accommodation
- Language training and further integration
- Employment and job training advancement
- Cultural adjustment facilitation
- Mental health and general health care follow up
- can include dental, optometry
- Community and recreation further facilitation
- recreation facilities
- social groups