Hello Neighbor works to improve the lives of recently resettled refugee families by matching them with dedicated neighbors to guide and support them in their new lives post-resettlement. We thoughtfully match refugee families with mentor families to build their social networks, help them learn and navigate the community and cultivate a sense of belonging.
Mentors and refugees spend four months participating in Hello Neighbor-designed activities including potlucks, cultural visits, outdoor activities and friendly interactions with firefighters and police. Outside of structured activities, mentors and refugees share meals in one another’s homes, learn critical life skills, access key services and celebrate holidays together.
Our programs improve understanding of daily life in the U.S., such as the healthcare, education and banking systems and local food and transportation. We also connect refugees to key agencies for employment and language learning services. Finally, we build and expand social networks for refugees and their mentor families by building lasting friendships and cross-cultural understanding in our cohorts.
Refugees have a long history of making significant contributions to our economy and the cultural fabric of our nation, but more recent refugees (countries like Syria, Bhutan and Afghanistan) are not faring as well as long-standing populations. With Pittsburgh’s small ecosystem of support, it’s not surprising that we received three times as many applications as available slots for our current mentoring cohort.
We are the only refugee mentoring program in Pittsburgh and are unique nationally as well. Since appearing on NBC Nightly News and in the New York Times, Hello Neighbor has received requests from more than 100 cities to bring the program to their community.
The funding we are requesting will help us to grow, strengthen and formalize our program model so that it may help more families in Pittsburgh and, eventually, across the country.