Mentoring advocates, who value human relationships above almost everything else, cannot remain silent when immigrant youth are not being provided with adequate services. It is beyond absurd to not be providing the advantages that mentoring creates for immigrant youth who regularly experience discrimination, isolation, poverty and trauma.
The first mentoring programs that I created were school-based programs located in an educational setting that primarily served immigrant youth. Parents and students talked to me about feelings of displacement and loneliness in their immigration experiences. When I saw the increases in self-esteem, connectivity and feelings of belonging that these programs created, I knew that creating mentoring opportunities for immigrant and refugee youth would be the professional path that I would take.
But this is not just a personally meaningful issue, it is a collective one. We, as a country, don’t just have a moral responsibility to care for those fleeing poverty and persecution. The United States NEEDS immigrants. We need their passion for realizing the American Dream. We need the new perspectives and ideas that immigrants bring to this country. We need the infusion of innovation that has always kept America a step ahead and made us the most powerful nation on earth.
Mentoring programs are invaluable opportunities for immigrant youth to thrive. And when immigrants thrive, America thrives.