Two girls smilingHow 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.”

The Foundation’s Girls’ Fund supports 21 organizations that are doing group mentoring, and our evaluations have shown incredible results. Group mentoring not only connects girls with an older role model but also with three or four peers.

Girls say that mentoring helps them celebrate their strengths, become more outgoing, gain confidence, and feel like they can achieve their dreams. Given the power of mentoring, wouldn’t it be amazing if more girls in Canada had access to this kind of program?

This was our thinking when we decided, with the generous support of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, to develop an online girls group mentoring toolkit. Any organization can access this comprehensive resource online and have the steps, tools, instruction and from-the-field-advice to develop a program in their communities. And it’s one-size-fits-ANY. The toolkit can be adapted across communities with completely different capacities, needs and resources.

And what’s the best way to develop a resource for a community? Gather a community to develop a resource!

When we first created the toolkit, we asked five organizations to pilot it. We invited them to use the toolkit to create a program from scratch and to track their learnings along the way. We regularly checked in with these groups, analyzed their feedback, pulled out the trends and gaps, and then returned to the drawing board to create new or adapted content.

And then we published it? No, actually. We first went back to the pilot groups to make sure we heard them correctly and addressed their recommendations. Since these five pilot sites were so different, we were able to learn how the toolkit would work in completely different contexts and for organizations with different capacities.

Just to be sure the content was on track, we also consulted with our fantastic advisory group of international researchers, practitioners, grantees, evaluation experts, and our partner on the project, the Alberta Mentoring Partnership.

At the Canadian Women’s Foundation, we believe in bringing together many voices and perspectives to make magic happen. And now that the toolkit has launched, we’re looking forward to seeing the magic of mentoring spread to more girls in communities across Canada.

To learn more about the girls' group mentoring toolkit, watch this video: 

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