Youth mentors involved in the Pass It On project are an inspired group. They are finding ways to spend time with their mentees/buddies that are both creative and practical. Here are some of their ideas:-
- Go to the library and look for a book to engage each other’s passion in art
- Make a dinner together at each other’s houses, while getting to know each other’s families
- Invite your buddy to your school during tutorial block so they can spend some time in the high school and get to know the environment they will be entering in the fall
- Take your buddy to the upcoming play at the high school
Spending time alone with a buddy assists in establishing a relationship, but creating social opportunities with all mentors and buddies adds a new dimension. Before spring break, the mentors and buddies on Salt Spring Island will be having a brunch where they will tie dye t-shirts. For those buddies who have mentors who will be graduating and will not be in the high school next year, it is good to get to know all the mentors and buddies – to form a network of support.
The relationships forged in this project, will create links that last and will be “passed on” when the buddies become mentors themselves.
All mentors and buddies were invited to attend a hip-hop class put on by a young woman in the community who saw a niche and was inspired to create a class to meet a need. A great way to spend time together dancing and meet others who are ‘passing it on”.
Mentors and buddies creating inspired moments together….
Chris Gay (Pass It On Coordinator)
The last week of January was a tough week here in British Columbia. On January 22nd, eighteen-year old Tyeshia Jones from the Cowichan Tribes, was murdered near Duncan. On January 27th, seventeen year-old Chassidy Charlie of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation was murdered in Burns Lake.
Two young Aboriginal women with promising lives and futures were taken. Both murders remain unsolved at this point. Two families and two communities are bereft, shocked and confused by these horrors.
I keep waiting for the media to launch an outcry- why Aboriginal young women? What is happening in our province? What are the attitudes and acceptance of behaviours that could lead to these heinous crimes? So far, it has not happened…
Lynda Laushway (Pass It On Coordinator)
What makes mentoring work for young women and girls? – having a supportive network. The 10 young female high school mentors on Salt Spring Island had their opportunity to test out their own expectations of what mentoring is this past week. Of the 10 mentors, half were able to make a connection. A week of exams and busy schedules got in the way for some, but all are still committed with either follow-up dates or initial meetings in the works.
As the mentors burst into the bi-weekly meeting room with their adult mentor supervisor, they could barely contain themselves, as they eagerly wanted and needed to share their ‘first meeting’ stories. Not every initial meeting was idyllic nor smooth. There is no predicting what a ‘buddy’ will bring forward and not all mentors felt entirely prepared to deal with the kinds of comments or questions that the younger girls brought forward. It is evident that their bi-weekly talking circle is crucial in building confidence, maintaining momentum, and supporting each other through example, modeling, and brain storming strategies. With their competence and skills reaffirmed, the mentors eagerly anticipated ways to re-connect with their buddies in the coming weeks. Some of their great ideas on how to spend time with their buddies doesn’t necessarily mean spending money or sitting in coffee shops. Instead they suggested:
- going to a basketball or soccer game at the high school (with another mentor and buddy)
- swimming together
- baking together
- arranging the visit at either the mentor’s or buddy’s home
- going for a bike ride
- climbing trees together
In addition, they are keen to bring both the mentors and buddies together for a social gathering. In the works is a brunch and clothing swap. And because the mentors feel so positive about the program, they want to ensure there is funding for the program to continue next year. They are considering a fundraiser – an outdoor concert with 3 bands in the spring. More on that in the weeks to come.
The Pass it On Project is definitely up and running on Salt Spring Island and it is all possible because the mentors and adult mentor supervisor have created a safe, respectful and collaborative community of mentors mentoring mentors. Connections that last a lifetime.
Chris Gay – (Pass It On Coordinator)