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, by providing them with one-on-one tutoring in digital literacy skills, job search skills, communications skills, or other skills that the resident may need to become more self-sufficient. The will also provide mentoring for the resident should the resident need, or ask for additional support.

Open to Seattle College students by a partnership between Western Washington University (WWU) and The Low Income Housing Institute of Seattle (LIHI), the program begins on the first day of fall or spring quarters. Each cohort is comprised of four to six mentors and lasts for 12 weeks.

At the beginning of each cohort LIHI matches the mentors with a resident, and that mentor tutors the same resident for the duration of the program. During that period, they are expected to tutor an average of 1.5 hours per week, and complete at least 10 sessions.

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 also creates a Community-Based Participatory Action Research Project (PAR). The PAR project is created to provide additional support and resources to help the resident become more self-sufficient. The mentors leave the project with the resident upon completing the program, as a resource for the resident to use in the future.

The mentors are expected to participate in the Online Training approximately 3 hours per week over the 12 weeks. No credit is offered, but they receive an honorarium of $500 dollars upon completing the online training, to help offset expenses incurred by participating in the program.

The project is a $30,000 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.

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.


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

Why I Want to Be a Mentor


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

A Brief Tour of the LIHI/WWU Online Training Modules


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. 
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. 

2014 Project Evaluation Published - click this link to see the 2014 Project Evaluation

For more information about LIHI check out their blog here