Make a difference!
Mentoring offers an opportunity to connect with young people, to share experience, skills knowledge and a listening ear. A knowledge exchange happens in each encounter and through relationship building – from youth to mentor – and mentor to youth.
Mentors may offer skills to run group workshops, work one on one with individual youth to support their academic work and homework, offer stories about their own life journeys and challenges, offer their expertise in all varieties of work experience – trades, small business, leadership, professions, volunteer and unpaid work. Mentors also share their life skills – how they coped and dealt with challenges and barriers on life journeys. Some mentors share their gifts in the arts, academic studies, community leadership, environmental projects, music, sports, crafts and hobbies.
We try our best to find out about each mentor’s goals and explore how youth, the program and each mentor can all benefit and share in the relationship and experience at RTG!
We also welcome a diversity of mentor experiences and skills in our program providing a range of leadership journeys, and experiences for youth. It is important for youth to gain advantage and knowledge of community wealth and skill within their own and external communities. Mentoring is a possibility for exchange across this diversity of experience.
A mentor at Ponoka club
We have a wonderful mentor named Heather who is just remarkable with the students. She always comes and is so invested and interested and has time for everybody. We have one student who is pretty hit and miss with attending but when he does come, he always spends time with Heather. He is a young aboriginal student and he was learning all about residential schools and the assimilation of his people and it was really bothering him. Heather always took the time to talk with him and let him really express his feelings. She encouraged him to write and complete projects based on these feelings. I think we were all unaware of the impact she had with this young man as it is just what she does and how she does it; but, this summer, this young man showed up for a drop in day and made her impact quite clear. We were hanging out and chatting and I asked if he was going to be back for Raise the Grade in the fall and he said absolutely as long as Heather is there because she REALLY helped him and is an amazing person. That’s pretty awesome for a young man to recognize that and express it. Every day we make connections with these kids and even if we think we aren’t having much of an impact or if sitting and listening is all we do, the positive effects of this program are incredible. We couldn’t do it without wonderful volunteers and mentors like Heather.
A mentor at Boys and Girls Club of Moncton
Chelsea is a great help to our Raise the Grade program at the Boys and Girls Club of Moncton. She joined our volunteer team during the 2014-2015 school year and has been a dedicated and responsible mentor since her first day at the club. Each time she volunteers, her positive energy is contagious! She is patient with the youth and enjoys working with them on any school subject.
This summer, we had the pleasure of having her as a full time seasonal staff member. There is no task too big or too small for Chelsea. She gladly accepted to apply her post-secondary teacher training and created a curriculum’s worth of worksheets for a student she mentored who was studying throughout the summer. In the picture above on the left, you see Chelsea, on her week off between her summer job and university, volunteering more hours and helping prepare for September! We are grateful she will be returning for her second year as an RTG mentor. Thank you Chelsea!
A mentor at Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops
A mentor named Keira who is a local artist and who made a real connection with our youth Alexia. They were paired easily and bonded over their shared love of art in its many forms. They explored SO many different mediums and really knowledge bartered their skills during their time together creating masterpieces each week and encouraging each other to try new things and break out of their comfort zones. With permission from BGC and Alexia’s parent, at Alexia’s request Keira attended Alexia’s art show at her school to support her further and really went above and beyond. While doing their art projects they talked about such a broad scope of topics, everything from relationships, to schooling and political education, how to get their art out in the community, self – advocacy and breaking stereotypes, where to get the best supplies, school and friend challenges/ successes and so much more. They are going to continue as a pair here in the RTG program this fall, and I feel Keira really encompasses what a great mentor is. Keira mentored two other youth before we found the right match with Alexia, and Keira gave such quality support to them and really found ways to show she cared about the youth in ways that were meaningful to them. Keira always brings fresh ideas to the table, an empathetic ear, a willingness to learn anything that anyone is interested in, and often shows up with extra supplies she had kicking around her house that she wants to donate to the project. We value her so very much.
A mentor at Boys and Girls Club of Cornwall
One mentor I want to tell you about is Lee. RTG is one of the ways that he is involved in our club. Lee would often spend time in our youth drop-in program building relationships and having fun. As soon as he heard about RTG he quickly asked how he could be involved! From the very beginning Lee was enthusiastic about this wonderful program we were offering the youth in our community. Lee has a special gift of brainstorming ways to engage our youth and helping to implement it into our RTG program. For example, he was the lead in our Kano project which taught the youth how to build their own computer he sat individually with each youth to assist them in the project. He also took initiative to help our youth practice mock interviews and prepare for future jobs! Aside from the programming aspect Lee always pops in to say hello, he personally touches base with each of our youth, and he constantly spreads his wisdom and positive energy with the group! Our youth LOVE Lee and always ask “Is Lee coming today?” We appreciate the dedication he puts in to RTG and look forward to new ideas and fun this year!
An interview with Lee
“There’s not a lot of ethnic diversity in Cornwall and not a lot of men working at the Club, so I have a great opportunity to be a stable, positive role model here.” For his first major endeavor with theClub members, Lee started a chess program and taught a group of 41 children how to play.Lee is always looking for ways he can make a contribution and enjoys mentoring children and youth in the enriching, supportive Club environment“What motivates me the most is when I’m working with a kid, teaching them something, and I see that lightbulb go off. There’s a magic to that. I know I’m making an impact.”Lee is always thinking of ways to engage the Club members and support their development and empowerment. He appreciates that the Club is flexible and open to his ideas.“They make it easy to be part of the organization and to do good things.
“If anything, mentoring has benefited me the most—it has made me a better person. Coming to the Club and connecting with the kids is something I always look forward to.“
A recent graduate William talks about his mentor at Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa
William has just graduated from RTG and is now on his journey to study medicine at the University of Ottawa. He reflected on his RTG journey with our communications team for the IMPACT magazine.
Many RTG mentors are in university or recently graduated so they have a lot of relevant advice.
William says he was lucky to be mentored by Peter, who recently completed his surgical residency at the Civic Hospital.
“Peter is amazing and really helped me a lot. He told me what courses I needed to take and his experience really expanded my vision.”
William’s been working part-time at a pharmacy for the past year, helping prepare and fill prescriptions, so he’s already getting a good understanding of the job of a pharmacist. He has also been working part-time at the Boys and Girls Club for the last two years and plays sports of all kinds every chance he gets. Will he be able to keep everything up with the added demands of university?
“I think I’ll manage,” he says with confidence. “My mentor helped me figure out my work/life balance and gave me some good time management tips. He is much more than a mentor to me —he is a friend.”