STL International Spouses
The mission of The St Louis International Spouses Mentoring Program is to connect international spouses with local women in order to help them integrate into the St. Louis community. Each international woman will have the opportunity to learn about places to visit and enjoy in St. Louis while they get more familiar with American culture as they make new friends. This Program will also give the St. Louis women the chance to learn about other cultures from the international women.
Our vision is to be a local resource to engage local women and International women, who will have the opportunity to learn about places to visit and explore in St. Louis while acclimating to American culture and traditions. The Program also gives local St. Louis women an opportunity to make new friends and learn about cultures from around the world.
The initial idea of this mentoring program came from a conversation from the Coordinators of the St. Louis International Spouses Group - Susan Gobbo & Danielle do Olival with Annie Schlafly, an active participant in the St. Louis not-for-profit community, introduced by Betsy Cohen , director of the St. Louis Mosaic Project. From the initial idea, the next step was introducing this program to the international spouses, the mentees. This happened in October 2017 (first picture below), when they had the first meeting with the mentor coordinator Annie Schlafly and the mentees. From this date, they came up with the idea to form a Pilot Program.
Would you like to join us as a Mentor or a Mentee?
Mentee/Mentor Pilot Program
On November 3oth 2017, mentors and mentees met each other for the first time at the St. Louis Mosaic Project Office housed at World Trade Center St. Louis. The Mentee/Mentor Pilot Program was established to help international women connect to St. Louis in a meaningful way. Five International women selected to be in the program and five local St. Louis women were selected to be mentors. The ten women meet every six weeks to discuss the process and make any changes at that time as well as getting to know one another better. This Pilot Program is expected to run from January to December 2018.
During the year, there will be six ways for the mentor to connect with the mentee. These are in addition to the six group meetings throughout the year. The idea is for the mentor to help the mentee adapt to the St. Louis community through different
activities, depending on the interests of the mentee. Some suggested activities:
coffee/ lunch together, going to the movies, going to sporting events, visiting museums or exhibitions together, discussing cultural topics, and even helping with English and providing an opportunity for the international spouses to discuss sensitive topics which they might otherwise avoid. Each mentor will host their mentee and spouse in their home, (or a restaurant), for a dinner and perhaps invite a few other locals to the dinner. The mentors job is to open doors in our community for the mentee. Honesty is key for both mentee and mentor.
The Mentor/Mentee Program kick-off happened on January 8th during one of the Lectures Series by St. Louis Women Society of Washington University at Washington University Campus.
Photo: Mary Butkus/WU Photographic Service
The Mentor/Mentee met again on January 31st 2018 hosted by World Trade Center and supported by St. Louis Mosaic Project. The mentors and mentees talked about all the interactions that have taken place since their last meeting . They discussed three different areas that might be guidelines for the mentor/mentee partnership in the future: Education on the nuts and bolts of the city, Community Opportunities and Cultural Life in the city.