The YWCA Circle of Sisters Indigenous Mentorship Program provides opportunities for self-identified Indigenous girls, age 12-18 (mentees), to connect with Indigenous community and culture with the help of young self-identified Indigenous women (mentors) and skilled facilitators. The program welcomes members of the Two-Spirit, Trans, Queer and Disabled Communities.
Are you a self-identified young Indigenous woman who is interested in helping create a supportive community for other Indigenous women and girls? Do you have a few hours a month to share with mentees and other mentors?
Become a volunteer mentor and share your knowledge and passion to celebrate Indigenous community and culture.
Our mentors come from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences, and have a range of knowledge, teachings and cultural connections. Our mentors are:
- Young adult women (often university or college students) self-identified as Indigenous who are keen to connect with Indigenous community, culture and ways of knowing, and to serve as positive role models for Indigenous girls
- Able to commit an average of five to ten hours per month from November to June to attend:
- At least one set of School Circle sessions (one School Circle comprises of six sessions held at a local school from noon to 3pm on a weekday during Fall, Winter or Spring semester), and
- Sunday Circle sessions (once every three weeks, from noon to 4pm on Sundays at the YWCA downtown location)
- Gain mentorship, facilitation training and experience
- Cultivate your youth leadership and communication skills
- Expand and strengthen your connections, community and experiences of Indigeneity
“This is an absolutely necessary program to build confidence, leadership and life skills in Indigenous girls.”
“I can’t fully express how important this program is to me. It has changed my life in so many positive ways. I have become a stronger, more confident, more articulate and well-rounded person. The relationships I have formed with the sisters are lifelong, and the cultural enrichment I have gained cannot be replicated in any other space.”
“The sharing of stories, strengths helped me to feel closer to people.” — Mentee
How the Program Works
The program provides a forum for volunteer mentors to cultivate a community of support and gain leadership skills. Circle of Sisters consists of two key components:
The Circle of Sisters Indigenous Mentorship Program partners with schools in Metro Vancouver to provide Indigenous girls (mentees) with opportunities to explore their culture and learn life skills in a safe, supportive environment.
The School Circle consists of five to eight three-hour sessions (held weekly or bi-weekly at a partner school) delivered by the YWCA Facilitator and Mentors. Through games, crafts, activities and discussions, the School Circle supports mentees with:
- Increased knowledge of Indigenous cultural roots and practices, ways of knowing and history
- Promoting a sense of connection to–and pride in–their Indigenous cultures
- Cultivating resilience, healthy self-esteem, relationships and communication skills
- Gaining access to positive role models and developing leadership skills
ABOUT THE FACILITATOR
Indigenous Mentorship Facilitator, Anna Soole, is Red River Métis currently located on unceded Coast Salish homelands. For the past two decades, Anna has worked locally and internationally as an educator, consultant, coach, artist, and healer with experience facilitating fun, interactive, arts-based programs for Indigenous women and girls.
The goal of the Sunday Circles is to provide a community space for Mentors to connect, share and support one another, and to be positive role models for Mentees in the program as well as other young Indigenous women in their communities through:
- Learning and sharing cultural teachings
- Developing leadership skills
- Discussing issues important to Indigenous people, particularly to urban Indigenous young women
Sunday Circles are held once every three weeks on Sunday afternoons, from November to June, at the YWCA Program Centre in Downtown Vancouver.