Mentorship is give and take: Younger girls have a valuable opportunity to connect with a trusted older peer, while mentors get to practice their leadership skills and become role models. Both get to learn from the time spent together.
We asked a mentor and a mentee from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saint John to fill us in on what their mentorship looks like and what it’s taught them. The Go Girls! Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds program at Big Brothers Big Sisters is a current grantee of the Foundation through our Girls’ Fund.
Char runs one of the many Go Girls! programs and has been a mentor for two years.
To me, being a mentor and leader means being a positive and supportive influence for a group of girls who are looking for guidance. I strive to be someone who they can relate to and confide in while providing them a safe, judgement-free environment to share their stories and experiences with one another.
I enjoy listening to their stories, having them ask questions, and sharing some of the embarrassing and funny stories of being a teen with them. Hearing stories of struggle, resilience, support, and success from both their mentors and their peers gives the girls a sense of support and familiarity.
Having the perspective of a positive adult woman in their lives, aside from a family member, is beneficial. A mentor is someone you can ask the hard questions to, that you may not want to ask your parent or guardian. It also helps you know that many girls are struggling with similar problems.
Everyone in the group is different, and maybe would not have been friends outside of this program, but many of their experiences are the same.
As a group we encourage the girls to be a support to one another and lift each other up. Sometimes girls have been taught that there’s only room at the top for a few, so they have a habit of wanting to bring one another down. We teach them that empowering your peers and other women is important.
In my experience as a mentor, I have laughed and shared tears with these girls. I feel like they left the program with more self-confidence and with a new group of friends they knew they could turn to if they needed someone.
Kiera is 17 years old and is a past member of Go Girls!. She now attends the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saint John Friendship Club.
A mentor is someone who encourages you to do good, better yourself, and helps you grow into the person you’re supposed to be. They are there for you in times of need, and are someone who you can trust with personal problems or concerns. My mentors and I are very close. They have helped me turn into who I am today and helped give me the confidence I was searching for. My mentors and I have gone to watch movies with elderly people, gone paddle boarding, put together sanitary packets for women in the winter, along with many other exciting things!
Social media and media in general can be a wonderful thing, however it can also cause a lot of girls to feel self-conscious or not good looking enough. Girls need good mentors because mentors help with building their self-confidence and figuring out who they are. They’re also people who you can rely on and who know you well enough that you’re comfortable with them.
Mentorship allows you to form bonds with other strong women, and that’s really important.
The Canadian Women’s Foundation believes that every girl deserves the opportunity to believe in herself and realize she matters. Mentoring can be a valuable means of providing support and reinforcing the belief that we are all important have something valuable to contribute to the world around us. Our Girls Group Mentoring Toolkit will present you with strategies and approaches that can guide you to support girls to achieve these same outcomes, and help you develop a girls group mentoring program in your community. The Toolkit takes into account the experiences of different girls by taking an intersectional approach, that highlights the simultaneous effects of factors such as race, class, ethnicity, status in society, sexuality, religion, age and ability on a girl’s life.
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