Goals for Mentors

Wonderfully Made strives to develop and foster a respectful, collaborative, and inclusive environment for each other, our service users, and the community. Through this environment, we promote innovation and initiative and encourage our team to grow and expand within this environment. As a team we practice an inclusive and anti-oppressive practice that dismantles and addresses discrimination, harassment, victimization, and other forms of violence against each other, our service users, and the community. We acknowledge that we strive for perfection and, on that journey, we actively engage in self-reflective practice and improve our interpersonal skills.

We Desire to Inspire Change and Opportunity for Mentors and Mentees

The program aims to help address the barriers young Black girls encounter and offset the potential outcomes associated with them. To this end, the program has seven goals:

  1. providing mentors and mentees with the opportunity to give back to their own community,
  2. supporting and encouraging young Black girls to achieve their goals,
  3. helping young Black girls to acquire leadership skills, such as coaching, social skills, decision making, and emotional intelligence,
  4. connecting girls with professionals to increase their employability skills,
  5. improving their mental health and their overall well being,
  6. guiding girls towards greater health and wellness, and
  7. being a positive role model and representing hope and change.

Benefits our mentors and mentees experience

            The program aims to provide six core benefits: hope, inclusion, resiliency, acceptance, courage, and unconditional love. We believe each of these can help to the issues associated with many of the social barriers that young Black girls often encounter.

Hope

            Many young Black girls do not see themselves reflected in the world around them and may feel as though there are no opportunities for them. Thus, they may be reluctant to set high goals for themselves and instead settle for less fulfilling opportunities. the purpose of the mentor mentee program, then is to ensure that they are exposed to Black women who have excelled in various fields and can serve as a role model for them. this well ideally provide them with hope so that they set goals for themselves that will be fulfilling and rewarding.

Inclusion and Acceptance

            In addition to the lack of role models that young Black women often see in broader social contexts, there is also concern with inclusion. many young Black women feel excluded from the world around them. Thus, the purpose of the mentor mentee program is to ensure that these young women no that there is a place for them and that their needs and desires are important.

Resiliency and Courage

            Because young Black women will often encounter a variety of barriers and challenges in familial, social, academic, and professional contexts, it is critical that they develop their resiliency to take on these challenges and thrive rather than allow themselves to be discouraged by the barriers. To this end, the mentor mentee program seeks to build their resiliency.

 Culturally based Knowledge

Our culture based knowledge workshops will help mentors to facilitate in an environment that is welcoming, inclusive, understanding, and created on principles for living. The workshops will also explore cultural strengths, beliefs and practices using anti-oppress approaches that will guide young women to define their identities. Since our histories are richer than an experience of oppression. In the workshops, we will learn, explore, and understand our history together that was developed by our ancestors. We will employ and encourage knowledge to enhance wisdom based on our own truths, we will learn to develop our own identities to empower ourselves for becoming strong future leaders. Wonderfully Made seeks to address the lack of culturally appropriate services and programs that understand Black women and girls’ needs and are designed specifically to meet their needs. Our program aim seeks to build connections and foster healthy relationships with the mentor and mentee program that will assess the identified target issues with a pre and post surveys.

Understanding History

Our workshops will explore history outside of what is taught in schools, and highlight excellence with African, Caribbean, Indigenous, and Asian cultures. These workshops will examine and encourage critical thinking and analysis in understanding principles and beliefs incorporated in culture, and how society was developed. Some of these workshops will examine early beliefs and practices within culture, knowledge, and healing practices. Our elders share their stories, and histories with participants, and guide them to a greater understanding of the trials and successes of their ancestors.

Group Programs

The Wonderfully Made program seeks to support young Afrocentric and Indigenous girls and women who need to enhance their cultural knowledge and connections to their elders, as well as leadership and life skills based.  While our programs are culturally based, we are open to and encourage youth from all backgrounds to attend our group as their inclusion in culturally-based programs can provide them with the essential skills needed to work with others from diverse backgrounds as well as enhance their employability skills. Likewise, through our workshops, young girls can learn and enhance their skills by developing and discovering their identity, enhancing their emotional intelligence skills, supporting their healing from past trauma and difficult experiences, and establishing goals and leading by example.

Facilitating Workshops

Workshops are led initially by a subject matter expert and focus on teaching mentors how to develop key relationships, and support youth to grow and develop.

Our Key Learning Objectives

  • Successful mentor-mentee relationships are through positive changes and through mutual trust.
  • Mentors and mentees grow and develop while working together and participating in workshops.
  • The mentors are able to develop their own leadership styles that is unique with them.
  • Workshops will train youth how to manage challenges that may occur while mentoring.
  • Mentors build their capacity to develop include facilitation in delivering workshops
  • Mentors learn skills to communicate with diverse people, including stakeholders and partners
  • Mentors will learn how to encourage girls how to speak their truth, communicate their ideas, and generate discussions.

Mentors facilitate workshops in schools, community centres and special venues that reinforce:

  • Girls are princesses and treated as emerging queens
  • Girls have opportunity to connect with each other
  • Girls are encouraged to engage in cultural and artistic expression
  • Girls can define their own identity
  • Girls can choose their own gender identity and role

Values we promote is a holistic environment promoting wellness, safety, and inclusion

  • effective communication,
  • integrity
  • accountability,
  • professionalism,
  • taking responsibility,
  • building trust and
  • Mutual respect.

Consider becoming a mentor

Becoming a mentor is easy for our youth and adult women seeking support in their lives, and wanting to support others.

The Mentorship Experience

The Importance of Creating Wonderfully Made Program

Young Black girls experience many barriers at the individual, cultural, and systemic/structural levels. Such barriers can take the form of negative feedback from others, which may take the form of a lack of identity support via social media, or systemic oppression.  As a result, they may feel disconnected from their peers, schools, communities, and even their families. The impact of this can be devastating. Even in milder cases it can lead to lowered self-esteem and self-confidence and in turn low school success rates. However, not only can there be more severe impacts, but these milder issues can snowball into far more debilitating issues. For example, low school success rates lead to fewer career opportunities and higher rates of criminalization, while increase trauma, stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to higher risks of mental health concerns and unwellness. A lack of self-esteem and self-confidence can also make young Black girls more vulnerable to abusive interpersonal relationships and even community violence and abuse.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?

Marianne Williams

Our Beneficiaries are our Communities

A beneficiary is described as the person who benefits from and experiences joy, wealth, resources, and access from a service, program, or intervention.

Our program recognizes that many young girl and women are impacted by racism, stereotypes, gender-based violence, biases, and discrimination. Thus, we seek to provide these young girls and women with mentorship, leadership, programs, and interventions that build resiliency, courage, options, and strength. Our Beneficiaries experience an intersection of identities, social location, and experiences. We have included a broad overview. We want to be cognizant of exclusion and want to include girls who fit this main description. Our curriculum content is primarily based on African-centric, Indigenous, and culturally-informed practices and belief and value systems. The primarily beneficiaries are Black girls between the ages of 12 and 29 years in the Durham Region and surrounding areas. Our mentors are young women between the ages of 16 and 29 years who fit their own criteria, willingness to grow. Our mentors and mentees have a shared connection of lived experiences. They have shared, lived experience of being in the child welfare and being involved in the youth justice system. We also will create content and provide leadership opportunities for Black and racialized girls who identity as members of the LGBTQ+ (Rainbow) community. Their shared commonality/dreams include the opportunity to grow/share their talents, be accepted, and feel loved and respected by others.

Mentorship

Young women who will have access to mentors, counsellors and life coaches who can support their development from a group to individual format. These young women will receive guidance, support, and knowledge that will empower change and holistic healing in their lives. We use holistic approaches because we see the body as interconnected with the mind and spirits. Our physical bodies are supported through nutrition, exercise, emotional expressions, healthy experiences, and social connections. We believe that our workshop must focus on education, leadership, cultural awareness, historical events, and spoken word. Furthermore, our spirits—the birthplace of our intuition, faith, and soul—is supported through workshops that help us generate the power within. When young women between the ages of 16 and 29 years feel prepared and have expressed a desire to contribute to the Wonderfully Made program, they are encouraged to join our core group member, project coordinator, and mentors in various program events. This may consist of attending or facilitating an in-school workshop, facilitating a Wonderfully Made support group, organizing an outreach project, and one-on-one sessions with a mentee. 

All workshop sessions are closed with a circle activity. Elders and mentors offer blessings of gratitude, hope, and resiliency to the mentees. The mentees highlight what they have learned, and how the group has supported them. Elders and healers are an important part of the session as a way to pass down blessings and hope to the generation, and the mentors and mentees who walk in their path. Each session always begins with land acknowledgement. Elders provide guidance to the mentees by providing experience to the circle.

Several of our group norms can be summarized in acronym the PREBaN.

The ‘P’ refers to staying present, which refers to engaging in active listening. Since some of the group conversations might be difficult and emotional, being supportive through patience and listening is one of the crucial goal of group work.

The ‘R’ refers to being respectful, which include the practice of cultural humility. This requires people to avoid generalizing about one’s own cultural norms.

The ‘E’ stands for staying engaged, which means being non-judgemental and allowing members to explain their unique experience.

The ‘B’ stands for understanding one’s own biases.

The ‘N’ represents the non-judgemental approach that we must always use. The facilitator’s role will be providing support, advice, guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling.

We are Building Mentors who Lead

There are seven qualities that a mentor should have:

  1. Relevant expertise or knowledge,
  2. Enthusiasm for sharing that expertise,
  3. A compassionate and respectful attitude,
  4. An eagerness to invest in others
  5. The ability to give honest and direct feedback,
  6. The ability to engage in reflective listening and empathize, and
  7. The willingness to be a sponsor.

Relevant Expertise or Knowledge

            One of the key qualities that a mentor should have is relevant expertise or knowledge. For example, a mentee who needs help with math requires a mentor who is familiar with math. Though a mentor who only has a cursory understanding of math could still make a positive contribution, they may either forward incorrect information that could inhibit or stunt the mentee’s development or provide inefficient support that slows the mentee’s progress. Hence, in such contexts, it is ideal to have a mentor who is an expert in math.

Enthusiasm for Sharing That Expertise

            The relevant expertise and knowledge is critical, it is likewise important that the mentor be enthusiasm stick to share this expertise. For instance, if a mentor has an advanced understanding of science and becomes easily annoyed when offering instruction to a mentee who struggles to comprehend lesson content, then the mentee well likely see the mentor’s frustration and feel as if they are a burden. This could undermine the mentor-mentee relationship.

A Compassionate and Respectful Attitude

            Just as it is important to be enthusiastic about sharing expertise, it is likewise important that mentors adopt a respectful attitude. If a mentor speaks in a way that insults the mentee, this could poison the mentor mentee relationship and create barriers to learning.

Eagerness to Invest in Others

            Possessing an eagerness invest in others is as important as the eagerness to share one’s knowledge or expertise. If a mentor does not recognize that the time they share with a mentee is an investment, they could lose patience with the process. If the mentee observes that the mentor is impatient, this could likewise poison the mentor mentee relationship and again inhibit the mentee’s development.

The Ability to Give Honest and Direct Feedback

            Mentors must also be able to give honest and direct feedback. If a mentee is struggling with understanding a concept and the mentor is reluctant or apprehensive about offering constructive criticism for fear of hurting the mentee’s feelings, this could create a barrier to the mentee’s development.

Reflective Listening and Empathy

            When offering direct feedback, it is likewise vital that the mentor be able to engage in reflective listening and demonstrate empathy. For instance, if the mentee is experiencing a barrier to the learning process and the mentor does not take the time to engage in reflective listening, they may not be able to identify the barrier and develop a solution to overcome that barrier. As a result, mentee’s development may again be inhibited. Likewise, if a mentor does not take the time to empathize with and understand the barrier, they may prove unwilling to develop a solution to it, which could also impede the mentee’s development.

Willingness to Be a Sponsor

            Finally, it is critical that all mentors be willing to be a sponsor. This involves being able to regularly and consistently set aside time to dedicate mentees and honoring the schedule by being present and punctual. If mentees notice that their mentors often cancel there’s scheduled appointments or show up late, then they may infer that they are not a priority to the mentor and that they are not important. This could inadvertently perpetuate many of the barriers that mentees experience and undermine the mentor mentee relationship.

Core Skills

Both mentors and mentees should utilize some core skills in their mentoring partnerships. Such as, encouraging, building trust, active listening, setting boundaries, working towards assigned goals, open door policy and providing constructive feedback.

To learn more about becoming a mentor

Not everyone knows whether they will become a mentor, and whether they can make difference, but it does not mean you can’t try.

Body Image

Course Objective: This workshop will address ways to prevent and understand negative body image by critically examining harmful messages presented in the media as well as common attitudes and myths in society at large. The program also explores how negative body image and low self-esteem can be linked with unhealthy behaviours such as disordered eating and over-exercising, risk-taking and the impact on mental wellness.

Goals: Girls can discuss how they can feel better about their bodies and learn skills to support others.