All In for Youth Quarterly Report - June 2014 - page 3

BigBrothersBigSistersofCalgary andArea
(BBBS) describesmentoringas “a simple
conceptwithbig results.” Mentoring is about
forging connections; friendships supplemented
withguidance, support and inspiration. “This
is the typeof relationshipeverybodyneeds,”
saysGetseyChen, Supervisor of BBBS’ youth
mentoringprograms. “It doesn’tmatterwhat
walkof life you come from.”
At theoutset, not all youthunderstandwhat
amentor cando for them; theymaynot know
what itmeans tohaveamentor, or have
reservations about spending timewithanadult.
However, once they are connected in these
relationships, theoutcomes arephenomenal,
saysGetsey. Everyday she sees the impact, like
watching the interactionsbetween
a teenboy froma singleparent
householdandhismentor—a
stable, positivemale influence,
or a younggirl andhermentor
working together to tacklenew
challenges, encouragingeach
other every stepof theway.
Thesebondsbuild confidence for
future success.
Drivenby thedesire to introduce
more students to the concept of
mentoringand to connect youth
toprofessionals in their fieldof
interest, All In for Youth seized theopportunity
toprototypegroupmentoringearlier this year
witha teamof studentspreparing for a robotics
competition. Ehigieme, apracticum student at
Imperial, becameamentor to10high school
studentsworking towards a commongoal. The
youthwereexposed toa real-lifeengineerwith
practical experience inprojectmanagement,
which theywereable to seedirectly applied
to their project. Ehigiemeofferedpractical
guidance inaddition tobeingapositive role
model.
Thisprototype yielded several lessonsBBBShas
applied toamodel for similar interest-based
projectsbeing implemented for the2014/2015
academic year.
EXPLORINGMENTORING
POSSIBILITIES
I recentlymet a teenwho shared
howher difficult past, struggles
with anxiety andunhappiness
withherself had ledher to self-
harm, specifically cuttingherself.
She toldme about hermentor—
someonewho cared about her,
spent timewithher andmade her
feel ‘normal’. ‘My lifewouldbe
sodifferent if I didn’t have her,’
she toldme. Just theway she said
it, seeing the scars onher arm
really touchedme. It’s the little
things that buildmeaningful
connections; that help youth
realize they arenot alone, that
they can achieve their dreams.
GetseyChen
Supervisor, YouthMentoring
BigBrothersBigSisters
We tested groupmentoringwith a teamof students
preparing for a robotics competition.
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1,2 4,5,6,7,8
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