LIHI/WWU Mentoring Partnership

What is the LIHI/WWU Mentoring Project?

The LIHI/WWU Mentoring Project trains mentors who make a difference in the lives of transitional housing residents living in LIHI residences in Seattle. Mentors provide residents with one-on-one tutoring in digital literacy skills, job search skills, communications skills, and other skills and encouragement that they need to become more self-sufficient.

The program is open to Seattle College students through a partnership between Western Washington University (WWU) and The Low Income Housing Institute of Seattle (LIHI). LIHI matches the mentors with a resident and the two work together for the duration of the program. The mentors are also concurrently enrolled in an experiential, discussion-based Online Training course offered through WWU that provides them with training in strategies used to support transitional and permanent housing residents, including mentoring skills, community-based education, and cross-cultural communication. Each mentor creates a Community-Based Participatory Action Research Project (PAR) with the resident. The PAR project is created to provide additional support and resources to help the resident become more self-sufficient in the future.

The project is a $30,000/year initiative sponsored by Bruce Shepard, President of Western Washington University.  It seeks to emphasize Western's support of social justice, inclusion, and diversity in education across the State of Washington. 

LIHI provides affordable housing in six counties in Western Washington and is responsible for housing over 4,000 people. The residents live in both transitional living programs, and permanent supportive housing. Many of them have had a prior experience or experiences with homelessness.

Why I Want to Be a Mentor

Below: The tutors begin the program with a face-to-face orientation session pictured in the following video. 

A Brief Tour of the LIHI/WWU Online Training Modules

Below: The tutors participate in an online training course concurrently with their tutoring. The screencast below provides an overview of the training.

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Education for Transition

In this video, we see Mercedes, the Volunteer Program Coordinator for LIHI talking to the mentors during the orientation. Mentors learn about the impact they have on the residents lives before beginning the program. 

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These mentors are so important to residence, because they provide a feeling of connection and community. Mentors help the residents learn valuable skills, while at the same time developing relationships which help residents navigate difficult transitions. 

Project Evaluations

View the LIHI blog for more information about LIHI.