Sponsors, have you ever asked yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Perhaps you’ve fallen into the trap of expecting gratitude. Have you wondered why the newcomers didn’t take your advice? Maybe you didn’t understand their needs or goals.
Our recent Lunch & Learn event focussed on Managing Expectations, with resource expert Marika Elek, who is co-chair of the Beach Cares sponsor group, and has a background in clinical psychology from York University, specializing in cross-cultural adaptation.
Marika identified some pitfalls for sponsor groups:
- Different backgrounds, different expectations. Unspoken differences can cause conflict.
- Attend to the needs of the group as well as the refugee family
- Don’t compare yourself to other sponsoring groups.
- Recognize the power imbalance.
Critical skills for sponsors include cultural sensitivity, active listening and good communication. Identify cultural nuances and verbal and non-verbal clues. If there is a difference in positions, you need to adjust your expectations. A successful settlement takes time, patience and flexibility.
Sponsor groups need to look after themselves, too. Make sure you maintain open conversation within your own sponsor group, including regular check backs to ensure alignment. Be clear about the amount of time sponsor group members will spend with the newcomers and what will happen after Month 13.
Sponsors who attended this Lunch & Learn came away with good tips on managing expectations and benefitted from the chance to connect with others in the break-out groups. Don’t miss out next time when we discuss Dealing with Cultural Sensitivity on June 21.