Immigrant and Refugee Youth (IRY) Mentoring Facts

There are little to no studies in the professional literature that directly measure the impact of mentoring interventions on Immigrant and Refugee Youth.  There aren’t nearly enough mentoring programs specifically created and geared to this population, and even fewer professional researchers looking to examine their impact. What does exist, however, is a body of research identifying the challenges that these youth face, and studies that support mentoring as an effective intervention for each of these challenges in other settings.

Mentoring is the answer because it allows Immigrant and Refugee Youth to thrive. And when immigrants thrive, America thrives.

The Challenges

Immigrant and Refugee Youth experience high rates of:

  • Discrimination
  • Exposure to violence and poverty
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Stress due to differences in acculturation from parents
  • Alienation at school
  • Academic underachievement
  • Depression

Mentoring’s Answer

The data shows that mentoring creates:

  • A sense of belonging
  • Resilience
  • Decreased traumatic memories of transitioning into a new country
  • Improved peer relationships
  • Improved family relationships
  • A desire to come to school
  • Improved academic performance
  • Increased confidence

Mentoring has been identified by both immigrants and providers who serve them as a recommended intervention for overcoming language and cultural barriers and prevention of gang involvement.


1Oberoi, A.K. (2016). Mentoring for first-generation immigrant and refugee youth. National Mentoring Resource Center.

2Vinokurov, A., Trickett, E. J., & Birman, D. (2002). Acculturative hassles and immigrant adolescents: A life‐ domain assessment for Soviet Jewish refugees. Journal of Social Psychology, 142, 425–445.

3Gil, A. G., Wagner, E. F., & Vega, W. A. (2000). Acculturation, familism, and alcohol use among Latino adolescent males: Longitudinal relations. Journal of Community Psychology, 28, 443–458

4Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS) (2010). New directions in mentoring refugee youth. Washington, DC

5Todorova, I. L. G., Suárez-Orozco, C., & Singh, S. (2012). Longitudinal narrative concerns of newcomer Latino youth. In D. K. Nagata, L. Kohn-Wood, & L. A. Suzuki. (Eds.), Qualitative strategies for ethnocultural research (pp. 179–197). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

6Child Trends (2014). Immigrant children.

7Suárez-Orozco, M., & Suárez-Orozco, C. (2007). Moving stories: Immigrant youth adapt to change. Du Bois Review: Social Science and Research on Race, 4, 251–259.

8Hernandez, D. J., Denton, N. A., & Macartney, S. E. (2008). Children in immigrant families: Looking to America’s future. Social Policy Report, 22, 1–22

9Passel, J. S. (2011). Demography of immigrant youth: Past, present, and future. Future Child 21, 19–41.