YOUCAN youth services
The YOUCAN Mentoring Program is sponsored and coordinated by YOUCAN – Youth Canada Association with funding from the National Crime Prevention Centre (NCPC). It is managed through the YOUCAN National Office in Ottawa (ON) and delivered by a Local Mentoring Coordinator and a Local Training Coordinator in each site. The program is being implemented in 5 sites across the country:
• in Surrey (BC) in partnership with Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver;
• in Edmonton (AB) in partnership with YOUCAN Edmonton;
• in Gatineau (QC) in partnership with Grands Frères Grandes Soeurs de l’Outaouais;
• in Toronto (ON) in partnership with the Toronto District School Board; and
• in Cape Breton (NS) in partnership with Family Services of Eastern Nova Scotia.
This 5-year project consists of a school-based mentorship and skills training program for Mentees aged 9 to 12 years and teen Mentors. A new group of 20 Mentees will be recruited in each city each school year from September 2011 to September of 2015. Each Mentee will be matched with a volunteer teen Mentor from a local high school. The Mentee and his or her Mentor will meet for one hour each week in the school setting over the course of the entire school year. These weekly one-on-one mentoring sessions will allow the pair to get to know each other, develop a trusting relationship, and have fun while providing opportunities for positive role modeling, discussing personal issues, and acquiring problem solving and pro-social skills. One Saturday per month all the Mentees and Mentors will meet together in their respective cities for a day of recreational activities, outdoor play and/or field trips to cultural hot spots. These monthly group activities will help strengthen bonds, expose participants to local events and activities, and provide peer support. The Mentors will receive intensive pre-program training and will be trained in the YOUCAN Peacebuilder Program. Based on the peer mentorship model and having been trained themselves, Mentors will use some of their one-on-one and/or Saturday meeting time to train Mentees in the YOUCAN Jr. Peacebuilder Program. These conflict resolution techniques will help Mentees understand how their actions affect others, enhance their interpersonal skills, instill a greater sense of self-confidence, and encourage them to take on leadership roles. Parents and guardians of both the Mentees and Mentors will be invited to participate in information and training workshops on a biannual basis based on local needs.
Mentoring relationships have been shown to lead to positive effects for the Mentees including: increasing confidence, self-esteem and respect; developing more positive attitudes, values and beliefs; developing the capacity to make positive choices; improving prosocial behaviour, attendance in school and academic achievement; and developing the ability to think constructively and positively about the future. Mentors can also experience benefits including improved confidence and listening, communication and leadership skills.
YOUCAN is an acronym that stands for Youth Organizing to Understand Conflict and Advocate Non-Violence. YOUCAN has served youth in the Edmonton area for nine years. Our mission is to equip youth to engage and inspire others to peacefully resolve conflicts and develop healthy relationships in their communities.
In Edmonton, YOUCAN offers four unique programs: Verto Project Step Up and Step In Project, Relentless Youth Worker Project and the YOUCAN Conflict Resolution Training. It is our intention with all of our projects to have conflict resolution at the core of what we do with the idea that it is the component of a bigger picture including personal development, employment development and community building. YOUCAN Edmonton strives for youth by youth programming. We take pride in our work that we do to help prevent youth violence and to promote the idea of dealing with our differences.
- Group mentoring