Mentoring Programs Making a Difference

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Our hearts go out to all those affected by the floods in Southern Alberta. We know that many of you will be involved in the recovery process and we want to thank you for the work you are doing, and will continue to do, in support of the families and communities in our province.

We are honoured to work alongside such wonderful organizations.

The Alberta Mentoring Partnership


Athabasca Mentorship Program Makes a Difference in a Child’s Life

By Karen Wintonyk & Diane Morrison

It takes a village to raise a child, or in this case, a town. Regardless of social and economic factors, all children can benefit from a mentor in their lives. Mentors provide support that make children feel special and that underlines the importance of who they are.

Launched in 2001,  the Athabasca Mentorship Program is a partnership between Aspen View Schools (LTIS & WHPS), Athabasca FCSS and Alberta Health Services. It is a friendship exchange between trained and screen adult volunteers (mentors) and children (mentees) in Grades 3 and 4.

Our volunteers come from all walks of life. Linda Littlechilds and her daughter Sheena Wood work for Athabasca University and take time out of their busy work schedule to mentor. Littlechilds has been with the program since its second year and has found it to be a rewarding experience for many years. “I love to see the smiles on my kids’ faces and the enjoyment they get from our visits.”  Her daughter caught the enthusiasm of her mother’s mentoring experience and joined the team as well.

For another volunteer, Mike MacLean, the mentorship concept made a lot of sense. “I am involved with other sorts of volunteering, and a big appeal was that mentoring is well-defined in terms of what you’re there to do, and how much time you need to budget. It all fits into one lunch hour per week.”

The role of a mentor is to be a friend that a child can count on and look forward to seeing. Mentors share one hour a week in the school with their mentee playing games and sports, drawing, crafting, baking, reading or just talking. Mentors provide encouragement with studies, as well, by showing admiration and interest in schoolwork.

MacLean finds it a good energy boost. “I head up to the K-3 school and suddenly I’m around a bunch of crazy kids. You can’t help but get energized around kids. They get excited when it snows, or doesn’t snow, or might snow. When it comes to raw energy, nothing compares to an 8-year old.”

“The smile that my mentee has when she sees me is amazing!” Wood said. “To know how much joy and happiness she gets from that little time spent with her means a lot. It’s a reminder that it is the littlest things in life that bring us happiness and joy. I really enjoy my time spent with my mentee.”

Volunteer mentors must be reliable, responsible, and good role models who are willing to make a commitment of one hour a week from October to May to meet with a child. To create the best kind of environment for the child and mentor interaction, mentors are screened, trained, and supervised by a Project Coordinator.  The pairing of mentor and mentee must be a partnership approved by the child’s parent or guardian.

Being a mentor forces you to think about someone much younger than you, MacLean said. “They are not your child or nephew; the relationship has specific parameters. You get this unique place in another person’s life, where you’re essentially a strange adult who can make a powerful impression. And all you have to do is show up and spend time. I don’t know if that achieves a whole lot, but it’s not nothing either.”

Littlechilds said a mentor may never really know if they are making a difference in a child’s life, but sometimes, they do. “I met one of my little girls I had many years ago and she actually remembered me from grade 4! Each time I see her, she keeps praising the program and tells me the program did make a difference in her life. That is the reward!”

The school year of 2012/2013 concluded with a wrap-up celebration luncheon on June 10, 2013 with 96 people in attendance.  This included the mentors, mentees, parents, and sponsors.  There were 34 mentors who signed up to be a part of our mentorship team this year.    From its inception of having 5 mentors in the beginning, our program continues to grow to where we were 34 mentors strong for the school year of 2012/2013.  We received 55 applications from the students and we were able to match 61% of those students.  That is huge for our community.   Our goal is to match every child who hands in an application to have a mentor.

“It’s not what we leave for our children that matters, it’s what we leave in them.”

For more information on the program in Athabasca, contact Karen Wintonyk, the Athabasca Mentorship Program Coordinator, at  Athabasca County Family and Community Support Services: Phone 780-675-2623  E-mail  karen@fcssathabasca.org

Participants of the Athabasca Mentorship Program


Congratulations to the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie!

We would like to congratulate our partners at the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie for winning the United Way Spirits of Gold Diversity Award! Spirits of Gold is the United Way’s annual recognition and awards gala that celebrates the spirit and generosity of the people, agencies and workplaces that displayed outstanding leadership and dedication during their Annual Campaign.

The Diversity Award is given to an agency who is dedicated to providing open and accessible services to diverse citizens. The Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie was recognized for their program, “Outside the Box,” which provides support, friendship, and fun to youth who may be questioning their sexuality.

For more information about the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie or any of their programs, please contact them at info@bgcairdrie.com or 403-403-948-3331.

Click the photo below to see Brett Wilson congratulate the winners of the Diversity Award


Professional Grant Development Workshop

Master the techniques of writing superior and winning proposals

July 24 -26, 2013

8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

To be held at:

University of Calgary

Calgary, AB

Sponsored by: The Grant Training Center

This intense three-day proposal writing workshop is geared for: 1) experienced writers who wish to strengthen and update their proposal writing skills, and 2) beginners who wish to acquire and master the techniques of preparing and writing successful proposals from various funding agencies. Whether you are a researcher in the sciences or social sciences, or an education or non-profit professional, our training will provide you with the skills you need to write winning proposals!

Participants Will Learn How To:

• Navigate the world of grant procurement

• Research and identify potential funding sources

• Address the guidelines of private, foundation, corporation, and federal applications

• Find foundation and corporate giving sources specific for the Province of Alberta

• Understand the new federal regulations for proposals

• Comprehend the review process, and attend to key points for reviewers

• Write winning proposals that stand out against competing submissions

• Develop focused and realistic budgets

• Ensure your proposal demonstrates excellence and innovation

• Package professional grant proposal submissions

Our goal is for you to walk away with a grant design, abstract, and budget outline specific to your project, research, or interests – and ultimately – submit winning proposals!.

*Space is limited, and since this class fills-up quickly, it is on a first-come, first-serve basis.*

Workshop Fee: $595.00 USD (including tuition, materials, certificate of completion, and continental breakfast)

Rebate of $50.00 USD per person is given for two or more registrants from the same organization.

To Enroll:

Please visit our website: http://www.granttrainingcenter.com

Or call us toll free at (866)-704-7268 or (571) 257-8864


If you and/or your organization are looking to broaden the communication of an event or program, a professional development opportunity, a mentoring success story, or valuable resource, contact us at mentor.resource@albertamentors.ca to have it included in a future newsletter.Contact: mentor.resource@albertamentors.ca

Alberta Mentoring Partnership

Phone: 1-888-342-6514

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