The initiative for youth mentoring was developed to foster leadership skills and confidence in youth. This pilot project paired up 4 LTB students with 14-19 year olds, and the goal was to introduce them to community issues and organizations including: poverty and homelessness, the municipal government, Aboriginal Issues, the charitable sector, the environment and economic development.

One of the main projects taken on by the youth and mentors was to prepare and serve meals on Boxing Day to over 250 people. The experience was very hands on and provided the youth with an experiential glimpse into the realities of our community and the ways in which they can step up to be leaders and really make a difference.

At the end of the mentorship, a graduation ceremony was held with other YES Employment participants and the youth produced a video describing what they learned. One of the youth, Vanessa Waboose, said she learned how to move out of her comfort zone and move forward as a leader. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is the first step to change and growth and this was wonderful feedback to hear from one of the participants. Mentor and LTB student Margot Ross also shared that the group thought they would be the young people’s role models and teachers, but they quickly realized that they were learning just as much, if not more from the youth as they were able to teach.