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Volunteer Spotlight: Seth McManus

We are grateful for volunteers like Seth McManus who make a difference in the lives of refugee youth. Seth was paired with his mentee, Alle, in 2019 as part of our Youth Mentoring Program.

1. Why did you decide to volunteer at Exodus and become a youth mentor?

I’ve worked in missions work overseas for years and currently work with people all over the world, but it’s become more and more apparent that it would be hypocritical and misguided of me to focus on doing good for others overseas and ignore my neighbors that have come from overseas to my home country. I’ve never experienced what it’s like to be forced to relocate, so I can only imagine the difficulty of coming to a new place and having the courage to seek out a better life. The opportunity to be a small part of that process for one of my many new neighbors in Indianapolis is such a blessing!

2. What has the experience been like for you?

The experience of being a youth mentor has been fun, challenging, and very educational. It’s one thing to have an opinion on the refugee crisis and immigration policy, but to focus on a relationship puts things into perspective and has allowed me to do more than just talk about my opinions and convictions.

3. What has been your favorite moment?

I love trying new things and exploring new experiences, so the opportunity to hang out with Alle and introduce him to new experiences and hopefully help make Indy feel more like a welcoming place has been amazing. From his first soccer (futbol) game to meeting the mayor, it’s been such a humbling experience to see new experiences through his eyes.

4. What has this volunteer experience taught you?

It’s taught me so much! I think one of the main lessons I’ve learned has been what it looks like to try to put myself in the shoes of those who have moved here recently. It’s challenged me to my core to reconsider what kind of neighbor I am to people who are in need of a community. It’s forced me to look in the mirror and ask myself if I’m being a good neighbor, friend, and if I’m making a difference here in Indianapolis. That’s one of the most important questions anyone could ask themselves, so being challenged to think on that and to live it out has been pretty special.

5. What do you wish people knew about refugees?

So many things!!! I wish people understood what a benefit and blessing refugees are to our communities both economically and culturally and beyond. I wish people (myself included) understood what a global crisis it is and spent more time looking for ways to welcome and provide for refugees. I wish people could see past political ideologies and misinformation to see human beings just like them who have more courage, work ethic, and strength than we could ever imagine. I wish people focused less on having an opinion on refugees and more on pursuing a relationship and connection with our new neighbors. I wish people knew that Exodus is the BEST and has an amazing staff that is making an incredible difference in Indiana!

Would you like to mentor a refugee youth? Learn more.