Sophia and her sister Anne joined SWB Baltimore in Jan 2019 and volunteer as part of the Family Mentor Program. As a Family Mentor she supports an SWB family with the challenges of resettlement in the United States.
When did you first start volunteering for SWB and how did you learn about the program?
My sister and I began a relationship working with our family in January 2019, after hearing about the opportunity through the JHH Source volunteer listserve.
What has surprised you most about working with SWB?
We met our family shortly after their arrival/transition to resettlement in the United States. I thought our role as volunteers would be mostly helping with homework after school. We quickly assessed that our time was more needed helping them navigate the various national and state aid systems and helping them overcome barriers to other systems that were difficult to access as non-native english speakers. Even after being refugees set up with several resources through the IRC, experiencing firsthand how challenging these processes were was quite eye-opening.
What’s a favorite memory of your time as a volunteer with SWB?
Celebrating milestones experienced by our young people — Nathalia's 18th birthday ice skating, having a celebratory picnic for Erika's high school graduation, the birth of Briana. Also finding other time for relaxation and play with our family, such as when the whole family went to the Patterson Park kite festival together.
What’s the best part about being a SWB volunteer/your favorite thing to do?
The relationship my sister and I have built with each individual in our family and experiencing the students grow over time. The rewarding feeling of struggling through a problem with them and then having it work out successfully, such as a long day at the DMV and all coming away with new ID cards.
What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?
I'm a new homeowner in Baltimore City and a physician assistant at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I enjoy exploring new places in the city, being active outside, and cooking.