Making meaningful connections through mentorship is something I am passionate about.
As the YWCA Connect to Success Mentorship Program Manager, I have connected 245 mentees with over 150 mentors (many who return year after year). Through mentorship, mentors teach their mentees new skills, share different perspectives, open doors, encourage and empower and act as the ever-important sounding board.
But what is mentorship?
Mentorship is a relationship where the mentor assists the mentee in development. I like to think of it as sharing experiences and knowledge with others in order to support learning and the development of new skills. Essentially, mentors are those who teach, coach and empower. In this sense, mentorship can be found in all aspects of our lives. In school, more advanced students mentor new ones; in sports, an experienced player takes a rookie under their wing; an older sibling looks out for a younger one; a boss or senior employee teaches the ‘newbie’ tricks of the trade. Okay, but who do we decide to be our mentor and where do we find him or her? Let’s take a look at how the YWCA leads our community in this opportunist movement!
Our Youth Education programs, Welcome to My Life, That’s Just Me and Boys 4 Real, aim to boost self-esteem and confidence among Grade 7 boys and girls. Mentors include two university/college student facilitators, a high school mentor and a wisdom champion (older mentor with life experience).
High School Mentorship
Our High School Mentorship program provides young women in Grades 11 and 12 with the opportunity to meet and interact with professional women to help them explore career options, gain a positive role model and be better prepared for the future. Mentors include professional women from a variety of industries and sectors throughout Vancouver.
The Aboriginal Mentorship program aims to empower teen girls between the ages of 13 to 18 through an arts and culture based group mentoring relationship. Mentors include female Aboriginal volunteers and skills facilitators.
Connect to Success is a free mentorship program for job-ready women who are entering or re-entering the workforce in professional careers. Volunteer female mentors come from a variety of industries and sectors throughout Vancouver.
We can find mentors formally (through one of the programs mentioned above) or informally (a bonus to daily life). In both cases, there are important questions to consider:
- Whatdo you want to get out of this mentorship?
- What do you want to work on with your mentor?
- What is your focus?
By asking the right questions to the right person, you may just find the answers and direction you’re looking for.
Laurie Sinnott manages Connect to Success, which provides one-to-one, group and peer mentorship to women who are unemployed and seeking employment in a professional or skilled occupation. Laurie is passionate about mentorship, making matches and seeing the success of both mentees and mentors. In her spare time, Laurie enjoys yoga, the sun and window shopping on Main Street with friends.