Volunteer Mentorship Program
The FFCNWT runs a volunteer mentorship program, where sensitive, committed, responsible, and caring volunteers are matched with child and youth mentees, similar to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. We are always looking for new volunteer mentors to sign up to be matched with a child or youth. As a volunteer mentor, you have the chance to give something back to the community and make a positive impact in the lives of young people in your community. It also provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge.
Volunteers play a vital role in the everyday workings of the Foster Family Coalition and the impact that we have in our community.
Mentoring for youth in care: According to the Ontario Mentoring Coalition, adequate mentoring can have many positive outcomes for youth in or leaving care, including reduced mental health symptoms and more stable living environments. However, information and research regarding mentoring programs for youth in or leaving care is at an early stage. Qualitative studies that have been done show that there are positive impacts on interpersonal skills, healthy relationship skills, self-esteem, independent living skills, and high school completion.
Signing up as a volunteer mentor means you have to go through a full orientation process. We want to ensure our mentors receive training and feel confident to be mentors to a child or youth. We also want to ensure our mentees are safe and matched with caring mentors. See below for our sign-up process. The first step is to sign up here!
We are partnered with Home Base YK, which offers volunteering opportunities in their youth programs. If you are interested in volunteering at Home Base YK rather than as a volunteer mentor, head to their website for more information and to sign up.
Many of the children and youth in the volunteer mentorship program are Indigenous. A few elements have been found to make mentoring more successful for Indigenous youth, including:
Focusing on natural mentoring instead of formalized matching: The FFC needs to go through a formalized onboarding process for both the mentors and mentees to ensure the safety of everyone involved, meaning that natural mentoring is not an option. However, one way that the FFC makes matches less formal is to ensure the child or youth feels comfortable in their initial match meetings – to do this, FFC invites staff members and family that they feel comfortable with to the meetings. This makes the match experience less daunting.
Using a small group mentoring approach instead of one-on-one matching: Mentors are welcome to include their mentee's friends or siblings in their match activities sometimes. It is always good to still have one on one match activities with your mentee. However, your mentee may feel more comfortable and confident when around their friends or family.
Ensuring cultural appropriateness of program activities: The Foster Family Coalition encourages mentors to bring their mentees to community events, cultural showcases, and workshops where they can learn more about their culture.
Matching based on similarities and respect for differences: The Foster Family Coalition encourages Dene and Inuit mentors to apply for the program. Most of the children and youth in the program are Dene or Inuit, and mentees would benefit greatly from being matched with a mentor of the same cultural background, especially for those placed in foster homes different from their culture. However, please note that we do accept volunteer mentors of all cultural backgrounds!