Samantha Cochrane is the Manager of Girls' Mentoring at the Canadian Women's Foundation. Samantha's work helps girls in Canada to move into confidence and learn to overcome challenges like violence, poverty, and gender stereotypes. She loves broccoli sprouts, is a Toronto Blue Jays fan and loves her incredibly adorable dog Clint.
How do we know that mentoring programs make a big difference in girls’ lives?
Because the girls tell us:
“For once, I feel like I belong somewhere.”
“It makes me feel happy because I am with people I know, and I know everyone there has something different to share every time, and I feel like I have a whole second family.”
“My mentors taught me that it is OK to be me. They also taught me to love myself.”
For young girls today, it isn’t always easy. Dreaming about the future can seem limited by messages from the media and society that tell girls who and how they should be. Against all of these pressures, it can be difficult for a girl to embrace her curiosity or independence. Many girls struggle to believe in themselves and to know that they matter.
Fortunately, girls in Toronto’s Thorncliffe community are learning to dream beyond these limits.
It wasn’t too long ago when jeans made headlines - not for being comfortable or stylish - but because of an absurd judgment made by an Italian high court in a sexual assault case.
On July 12, 1992 in Italy, an 18 year old student was picked up by her driving instructor for her first driving lesson. He then drove her to a secluded pathway and brutally raped her. She bravely pressed charges against him the following day, despite his threats to kill her if she spoke out.