We invite you to join Sumitra San Diego, a refugee mentoring effort to provide much needed support to those recently arriving in our city after their flight from violence and persecution.
In Sanskrit, Sumitra means “having good friends” and this is precisely the aim of this new effort whose goal is two-fold: 1) fostering simple and direct friendships between established residents and newly arrived refugee families and 2) providing logistical training, sharing of best practices, and emotional support among the friends themselves. Potential friends are invited and welcomed from diverse backgrounds and may think of themselves as humanists and/or members of established spiritual/religious traditions.
Sumitra San Diego is an experiment in creating a “global village” in our midst. Its goal is not to extend or duplicate the practical skills and training provided by refugee agency case workers, but rather to extend genuine friendship and connection to newly arrived families living nearby. If you live within easy driving or bicycling distance of City Heights and have a few hours per week to share your life, you may just find that your life will be transformed as well.
Our first goal, of course, is to do no harm. Recently arrived refugees are in a vulnerable situation in their new country, and we want to do everything we can to make sure they are protected from exploitation. To that end, we require prospective mentors to complete the following:
- A background check. Please email this form to Keren Mondaca, a staff person at the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, for processing. Your personal information will remain confidential. If you are able, please contribute $25 to cover the cost of this background check.
- Safeguarding God's People training. This free online training will take about 40 minutes and can be accessed by following the instructions at this link beginning at the "To Enroll" section. Please complete the first two modules entitled "I am Sam" and "It Happened to Me" and a third module on "Policies".
- Basic Training. Click on this link for a 90-minute training that took place on April 6, 2017 to learn more about the refugee resettlement process and reflect on race, power, privilege, ethics, and service.
Please contact Colin at [email protected] or 619-977-8173 if you're having trouble with any of these items or with any questions or concerns! We are blessed by your interest to walking beside those newly arrived to this country.
Here's some good information as we learn more about refugee resettlement and how we can help:
- Background reports on countries from which refugees arrive
- Best practices for refugee education/acculturation
- The San Diego Refugee Forum meets monthly at the International Rescue Committee (5348 University Avenue, Suite 205) on the 3rd Tuesday every month. All are welcome!
- White Paper on New Americans, published by the International Rescue Committee