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Mentoring has many outcomes depending on the people involved and the circumstances of the mentoring process. It is clear however, that the benefits of mentoring are felt by both the mentor and the person being mentored. Peel Mentoring Network believes that the best way to demonstrate the benefits and outcomes of mentoring are to experience real life examples.

Peel Mentoring Network wants to hear about your mentoring experiences so that they can be shared with others. Our goal is to promote the concept of mentoring and show how it can positively affect everyone involved.

To that end we encourage you to send us your mentoring stories for this website. If you use real names in your writing, please ensure that you have the permission of everyone and anyone involved. To receive submission criteria please contact info@peelmentoringnetwork.com.

Shana's Story

Volunteer Mentoring - A Rewarding and Challenging Experience

In pursuing her post-secondary school education Shana Almeida volunteered at Rapport Youth & Family Service's mentoring program for youth, called the Volunteer Connections Program (VCP). This program provided an opportunity for volunteers to work with troubled youth on a one-to-one basis under the supervision and mentorship of a trained social worker. A comprehensive evaluation of the Volunteer Connections Program can be found at www.rapportyouth.com. Shana's testimonial was originally published in Rapport Youth & Family Service's May 2002 Newsletter.

My name is Shana Almeida and I have been a volunteer mentor with Rapport Youth &
Family Services for the past 14 months. My main reason for joining the Volunteer
Connections Program (VCP) was to gain the hands-on experience recommended by most
post-secondary institutions for social work or social services. As I started training at Rapport however, and as I continued with my first client, it became much more than "necessary" experience for me. I can honestly say that Rapport has been one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life. I have learned basic counselling skills and been privy to new research and information regarding the social services field. On a personal level, I have learned to actively listen without judgment, which can be very challenging to do in certain situations. The volunteers always have the support of the professional counsellors, who for any questions, troubles or ideas, are available to us and provides some great insight for our cases. This support is crucial to the volunteers, as we are sometimes faced with situations beyond our knowledge or training. Should this happen, we know right from the beginning to find one of the professional counsellors for further assessment.

As a volunteer for over a year, my clients have come to me with such issues as anger, depression, grief and teen sexuality. One of the most worthwhile things about Rapport is the idea that teenagers have a place to go when they want to talk about issues that they do not necessarily want to involve their parents or friends. There are not many agencies like Rapport, and it is comforting to know that Rapport exists for teens. My experience at Rapport has greatly influenced my interest in the field, specifically my interest in working with youth. From the moment I sat down with my first client I felt comfortable, as if it came naturally to me. I am truly grateful for the experience, not to mention the amazing people that I have met. I am honoured to be a part of this program, and will continue to give my time and dedication for as long as I can.

Thank you!

Follow Up:

In the Spring of 2005 Shana graduated from York University's School of Social Work with her MSW degree. One of her field placements was in (former Toronto city counsellor and now federal M.P.) Olivia Chow's office, where Shana also worked for a year after she graduated. Currently, Shana works as Executive Assistant to Toronto city councilor Gordon Perks. Shana plans to return to school to pursue her PhD in Education or Social Work.

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