Background:

 

The Community Youth Mentorship Program arose out of a conference held in October 2015 hosted by the Youth Empowerment Group (YEG), an initiative that works towards empowering and sharing voices of young peoples of African and Afro-Caribbean descent. The conference brought together over 300 young people to address systemic issues and barriers affecting ethno-cultural youth within Alberta. The conference challenged participants to be solution focused and as a result were able to identify mentorship as a primary need lacking consideration. Also, another outcome of this mentorship program was community leaders who came together discussing an opportunity to exchange information of mutual interests and foster collaboration and networking on November 2015. Consequently, the leaders highlighted that an important focus will be on youth empowerment and mentorship.

What makes this mentorship program unique?

  1. Mentors with similar lived experiences as their mentees share tools to overcome challenges and focus on mentees strength and resiliency
  2. Wisdom keepers’ circle that consists of African community Elders, community assets and professionals that support mentors with cultural reconnection, professional development, sharing circles and advocacy.
  3. This mentorship program is also informed by several years of our work in partnership with WrapED project that implements high fidelity wraparound principles

This community-based Mentorship program seeks to promote and create positive and proactive influences for African youth in junior high, high schools and post-secondary institutions across our city. Through collective and individual mentorship, we aim to provide youth of African descent with both natural and professional supports. Our purpose serves to foster a space where African Canadians, can support other African Canadians in addressing and cultivating cultural identity, professional development and collective participation and partnership within our local African communities.

|Academic Performance| Emotional & Social Development| Cultural Reconnection| Positive Role Modeling| Healthy Relationships

These supports are oriented around prevention, early intervention as well as encouraging and strengthening bonds within our respective communities.

African-Canadians have made tremendous achievements within business, academic and political spheres in Edmonton and surrounding areas. However, apart from these individual achievements of our community members, there is still a need to address the identified barriers around settlement, employment, education and the justice system. It has been reported that African immigrants and refugees take a longer period for settlement in comparison to other ethnic groups. Settlement difficulties have primarily been connected to newcomers who arrive with pre-migration history involving repeated traumatic experiences of war, discrimination, and prolonged stays in refugee camps. This consequently had powerful impacts on the individual and families’ mental health wellbeing.

This mentorship program intends to empower youth and alleviate risk factors that hinder African youth’s personal development through a means of building:

  • Relationships rooted in trust
  • Positive personal/cultural/professional identity
  • Strengths, interests, skills
  • Capacity to address needs
  • Motivation to enhance academic performance and to excel more broadly
  • Capacity to develop strategies now that foster eventual career success
  • Interpersonal and work-related relationships
  • Social/career/community support networks

 

Mentees will be 12-17-year-old African-Canadian, African immigrants or African refugee youth and our Mentors will be 18-30-year-old African-Canadian, African immigrant and or African refugee young adults. The mentorship process will strongly encourage parental or guardian engagement for mentees under the age of 18 years old. The core of our mentorship process is to invest in relationships that inspire and help individuals build their greatest self.

As a mentor, you will receive:

  • Personal and Professional support
  • Access to being mentored by our community assets and wisdom-keeping circles, who consist of African Elders and professionals
  • Receive Orientation, Training (online and in-person)
  • Volunteer Honorarium to appreciate your contributions

Below are two models depicting the process of in school and individual Mentorship:

Model 1: In School Mentorship

 

Model 2: Individual Mentorship

We are continuously recruiting mentors and mentees, for further inquiries please contact 780-455-5423 ext. 206 or email karis@africacentre.ca