Mentorship: Your Experience, Their Dreams
Mentorship has become a critical foundation of support for youth participating at Eva’s Phoenix. Low self-esteem is one of the greatest barriers our youth face. The theory is that a mentor, through interaction with a youth, will have a positive impact on the youth’s self-worth and view of the world. Increased self-worth allows the young person to progress toward their goals, whether personal or career-related.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is an opportunity to pass on the benefits of an individual’s experience by providing guidance, offering an alternative perspective, encouraging confidence, and providing a positive influence in the life of a youth.
“I think that everyone in the community should have a mentor to hang out with and give them guidance in seeking out their individual goals.” - Former resident of Eva’s Phoenix
At Eva’s Phoenix, we want to be the last stop before youth leave the shelter system behind for a home of their own and a job with a future.
One of the harsh realities for homeless youth is that they lack any formal or informal network for advice. The mentor becomes a positive role model who encourages them to develop values and a success-oriented attitude. He or she is also a support that can provide a link to a wider and healthier support network.
“Since I’m new to Toronto and as I don’t know anyone, having a mentor has given me a contact. Someone who will help guide me in the right direction.” - Cameron
Benefits of Becoming a Mentor
Youth benefit from the attention of a positive role model who will encourage them without being judgmental and as a mentor you will have the opportunity to have a direct impact on the life of a young person, which can be deeply satisfying. You will also develop your teaching, leadership and communication skills while gaining a very personal insight into issues facing homeless youth in your community.
“I believe that my experiences can benefit my protégé in making better decisions. In return, I get an understanding of his challenges, and perspective in dealing with my personal goals. It’s a rewarding two-way street based on understanding, patience and effort. It also feels good to be of service.” - Chris, a Mentor
Eva’s Phoenix Mentoring Models
There are three main components of the mentorship program – Project-Based Mentorship, Peer Mentorship and One-to-One Mentorship.
“Eva’s Phoenix the program itself is great because it allows the youth to focus and put their energy in a creative common goal and the rewards are amazing. I think there are a lot of benefits that come out of that; one being pride, another being confidence and then there is the development of basic life skills…communication, organization, working in teams. In the beginning of the year nobody had appointment books, now half of them do… things like that are easy to observe.”- Adam Reid, Film Director and Mentor
Project Based Mentorship: Two projects have been completed, both done in partnership with industry professionals. In the first instance, a mentor from the music industry worked with the youth to teach them how to write and perform their own CD. In the other, a Mentor worked with the youth to create a short film, written, directed, produced and starring the youth. The film was publicly screened in September 2005 to a full-house at the Historic Distillery District. The latest project involved a professional photographer who volunteered his time to work with a group of youth, helping them to develop their creative and technical skills and to provide them with an understanding of a career in the industry.
Peer Mentorship: The Peer Mentorship initiative matches graduates of our program with current youth participants of Eva’s Phoenix. Peer Mentors are responsible for running workshops in cooking, cleaning, and creative arts as well as helping youth to find apartments and conduct effective job searches. Whether the goal is to have success in the Eva’s Phoenix Employment Program or learning how to get along with your roommates, a Peer Mentor can relate directly to the experience of our youth and can assist them to achieve their goals.
To support this program, training and ongoing support for Peer Mentors are provided in the areas of effective communication, diversity, substance use, mental health and abuse – mental, physical and sexual.
One-to-One Mentorship: The One-to-One Mentorship initiative matches an adult mentor with a youth, based on their specific needs and interests. Mentors assist youth to achieve stability in their work and personal lives and receive ongoing support and supervision from staff at Eva’s Phoenix. Mentors need to be over the age of 25 years to be able to effectively meet the needs of Eva’s clients.
Training & Support
To support your contribution as a mentor, Eva’s Phoenix has developed mentorship training workshops to maximize the benefits of the One-to-One Mentorship program for both Mentors and Protégés. Some of the topics include: effective goal-setting, communication, issues of youth homelessness and unemployment, mental health, substance use and immigration issues. The Mentorship Coordinator supports the Mentor throughout the program as needed to ensure the relationship is a positive experience for both the Mentor and Protégé.
As a Mentor in the Eva’s Phoenix One-to-One Mentorship Program, we ask for the following commitment:
- Commit to a relationship with a Protégé for a minimum of 6 months
- Meet with the Protégé once a week during the 6 months
- Participate in the Mentorship training workshops
“It’s nice to have people actually care about you.” - Jason, a Mentorship protégé
For more information about the Eva’s Phoenix Mentorship Program, please contact:
One-to-One Mentorship Coordinator
416-364-4716 ext. 267
Or complete the following application form and email it to the address above or fax to: 416-364-7533
Mentorship could change your life and the life of a youth!
We would like to thank the Counselling Foundation of Canada and the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their generous support of the Mentorship Program at Eva’s Phoenix.