Picture this, an at risk youth frequently in trouble mentoring a younger student also deemed at risk. What do you assume the outcome would be? In this particular case they built a friendship and were inspired to follow a healthier path. At the end of the year the older youth thanks the Constable for the opportunity to mentor and says he would do it all again.
Now I don’t tell the story as well as the Constable does but it was this particular story that inspired me to not only become a peer mentor but also to promote peer mentorship programs as my platform.
Peer mentorship programs allow the opportunity for youth to help other youth. It can prove beneficial because no one understands the problems youth face more than another person in the same age range. With the rise of technology youth today face many different problems then generations before, making it sometimes more difficult for an adult to relate to the problems of a modern teen. Peer mentor programs not only allow teens to receive guidance but also to gain a friend willing to help them through anything.
In my senior year of high school I joined the RCMP peer mentoring programing. This program was lead by the school liaison officer and involved high school seniors mentoring middle school students who were deemed to be at risk. I was paired with a girl in one of our feeder middle schools. I spent one hour every Tuesday morning with her and as I got to know her I couldn’t figure out why she had been picked out as at risk. She reminded me so much of myself when I was in middle school. She was very shy and quite, but very smart. She loved art and phys-ed and hated math. Not only did I help her to build confidence and come out of her shell a little bit but she helped me grow. She reminded me of where I started, and that I shouldn’t ever judge people because sometimes people just need a friend to help them blossom.
Peer mentor programs, to me are a great way to gain personal growth. Not only are you teaching and guiding someone else but you learn new things from them. I also believe that with every friendship we make, we gain something new in our lives. Peer mentorship programs are a great basis for creating new friendship that have life lasting effects on who we are as people.
Through out my reign I have been working with the school liaison officer on expanding and growing the program. We have been planning and getting things in order to get the program started in the first month of school. We are also opening it up to grade 11 students this year so that the students from the middle schools moving into high school the following year will have a senior buddy to help them with the transition. I am so excited to be working with the Constable on expanding the program that had such a large impact on my senior year but I also want to see more peer mentor programs put into schools.
If I was crowned Miss Teenage Canada 2015 I would want to promote different kinds of peer mentor programs across the country. Programs that help with the transition into a new school, at risk youth, building confidence, and everything in between. I would want to work with the Best Buddies program and the Big Brothers/ Big Sisters program. I’d like to encourage schools across the country to adopt different forms of mentoring programs to help their students grow with one another.
Thank you everyone and have a wonderful day!