When I joined I was unemployed, dropped out of high school, hanging around with the wrong crowd and was getting arrested. I was not attending any counselling for family issues and the things that I was struggling with. I did not have any adult role models in my life. Now, I am looking forward to graduating from high school, going to George Brown College for culinary arts and eventually run my own business
StepStones’ YHM Program assists youth in securing safe and stable housing using a client-centred, housing-first approach. Youth transitioning from care are connected to a long-term volunteer mentor and a youth worker for support. Housing subsidies are provided through the Children’s Aid Foundation’s Home Base Fund as well as Pelletier. These subsidies, combined with a housing worker and a mentor, provide the needed support for our youth to become housed and stable.
StepStones’ Youth Healthy Living Mentorship Program responds to the mental health needs of youth leaving care. Youth are connected with a counsellor and physician to stabilize mental health and for medical intervention when necessary. Youth are supported in attending appointments, accessing meditation programs, and acquiring Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and mobile psychotherapy as needed.
This special program offers youth in transition a 6-week series of engaging workshops involving life and cooking skills, exposure to job opportunities in the culinary field, and activities to promote the development of trust and connection between youth and their mentors.
Our one-to-one Mentoring Program offers youth aged 15-24 the opportunity to develop critical life skills. By pairing youth with caring adult volunteers, youth can identify and learn life skills. Mentors support youth by exposing them to new opportunities.
Mentors help youth learn how to interact with potential employers and landlords, develop their confidence and appropriateness in day to day interactions, support them in getting back into school, attend or drive the youth to counselling, attend meetings, make appointments, and do activities together to explore employment options such as job shadowing.
Youth participate both through individual sessions with their mentors and organized workshops that focus on recreation and skills development (self care, housing, education, employment, budgeting/money management, transportation, choosing friends).
The goal of the program is to create natural, long-lasting, supportive relationships with responsible adults who can help youth make good life choices. Mentors become substitute aunts and uncles; someone a youth can turn to if they have a bad day.
Goals of the Mentoring Program
- Create a lasting, natural connection to an older member of the youth’s community who can increase opportunities for youth, increase exposure to alternative lifestyles and support change
- Increase educational attainment (high school and post-secondary) and employability
- Increase stable housing
- Increase support networks for youth
Meet the Youth in Our Program
The following testimonials are from youth in the Mentoring Program.
My name is Jess and I am attending my second year at Seneca College in the Business diploma program. I became involved with StepStones when I was 12 years old at which time I attended summer camp. After attending for 4 years, I started working there as well and volunteering in the year round arts program. In the last 2 years, I joined the Mentoring program and was provided with a mentor to support my educational attainments and life choices. I continue to work at the summer camp, and volunteer in different capacities. For the last two years, I have also had the privilege of receiving the Ross Caradonna Pelletier Scholarship which has paid for 60% of my tuition. Because of this support I will be finishing my diploma in 2014 and hopefully, following this, attending University.
With the support of the Mentoring program, my mentor, tutoring and the scholarship that I received, attending school has been possible for me. I would not have had all this support without the Mentoring program As a result, I am able to focus on my studies, which allows me to meet all of my educational goals. I am presently in school to attain a degree in Child and Youth Work. I am presently working for the school board. I hope to use this education to become a better support to the thousands of kids that I will encounter in the field. It will make it possible for me to support the children in the Regent Park community so that they will have the opportunities that I did
My name is David and I joined the Mentoring program not knowing what it would be like. When I joined I was unemployed, had dropped out of high school, was hanging out with the wrong crowd and was getting arrested. I was not attending any counseling for family issues and things that I was struggling with and I did not have adult role models in my life. [Now] I am looking forward to graduating from high school and going to George Brown College for culinary arts, and eventually own my own business. I really appreciate all the support that has been given to me.