Youth Mentoring Children and Youth – a CED Approach: Four innovative models from across Canada

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Paul Chamberlain

The Youth Mentorship initiative was a national project created to enhance current programs and services for children and families. The approach sought to strengthen engagement of youth through their voluntary involvement and mentorship with younger members of their communities. This initiative was developed in partnership with four primary partners from diverse communities across the country that were each supported in developing and documenting their Community Economic Development (CED) approaches to youth mentorship. Our four partners, representing different typologies of population and setting, were Futures in Newfoundland and Labrador's Youth (FINALY), St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador; the Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF), Toronto, Ontario; Core Neighbourhood Youth Coop (CNYC), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; and Multicultural Youth Leaders’ Group (MYLG), Edmonton, Alberta. The primary documentation of these youth peer mentorship models comprise the major part of this project report.

Learning throughout the project was also stimulated and shared through a national learning network of 22 organizations involved in a series of tele-learning sessions which informed and reflected on the process. Further learning was generated through workshops at national and regional events. The role of the Learning Network is further explored within The Learning Network section on page 22 of this report.

This report, together with a set of resources and practical tools, are designed to inspire and inform so that these models can be adapted and replicated across the country.

The four mentorship models are outlined in some detail below. Their mentorship work is grounded within the context of both the respective community and organization. The activities that provide the structure for mentorship, as well as the approach they use, are explained. The results of their work in this project are shown quantitatively, in terms of the numbers of young mentors and mentees supported, as well as qualitatively. A few relevant stories or anecdotes are also included as well as reflections on some of the challenges faced and lessons learned along the way. Finally, the tools each of them created to implement and document their work are listed in their specific section. These tools are listed comprehensively in Appendix A (page 24).

Read Youth Mentoring Children and Youth – a CED Approach: Four innovative models from across Canada (27 pages pdf)