The YWCA Yellowknife wants to continue a free leadership and empowerment group mentoring program for girls, which is called Y Mentors. Y Mentors creates mentoring groups with an adult woman, two-four girls who are 11-13 years old, and one girl who is 14-18 years old. These groups meet every two weeks for two hours and call each other during the weeks they do not meet. These groups provide friendship and guidance for many girls who are at-risk while exposing them to new activities and boosting self-esteem. These groups are educated in social justice issues, volunteer for local organizations, and learn about education and career opportunities.
Y Mentors provides food and guided exercises so the girls can build trusting relationships with their mentors and their fellow mentees. Mentors and mentees are grouped based on share interests and similar experiences. As the girls become more comfortable in their groups, they determine what their groups will do, including the volunteering, the activities, and the field trips.
Y Mentors trains mentors in adolescent development, communication, healthy relationships, supporting young women in leadership development, and so much more. Mentors and mentees are provided ongoing support to foster healthy mentoring relationships and encourage engagement with the community.
Y Mentors actively brings amazing women together with girls of all socio-economic backgrounds to share their experiences as women and girls. These mentoring relationships provide guidance and a safe place to ask questions. The adult mentors say they feel good giving back to the community and supporting young girls as they become women.
Who Will it Benefit?
The first year Y Mentors ran, the program reached 20 girls who are 11-13 years old. Eight junior mentors who were 14-18 years old came to the year-long program and seven adult women became mentors. Seven mentoring groups were created in Yellowknife
This year, Y Mentors would like to expand the numbers the program can accommodate, including training more adult and junior mentors. Girls need supportive and affirming adults in their lives, especially in this ever-changing digital world. Adult mentors provide a safe place to talk about issues important to the girls.
Y Mentors encourages community engagement by providing opportunities for younger generations to learn from older generations. Y Mentors also partners with other organizations to foster opportunities for the groups. For example, by linking with other organizations, Y Mentors hosted digital storytelling workshops and provided educational field trips to the mentees! Y Mentors also supports the mentoring groups’ volunteer goals.