The Peer Project: Youth Mentor diaries

Just last May I signed up to be youth mentor in our area. I went with an open mind to the orientation, which proved to be easy after all. Well, not all about it was piece of cake but since we’re dealing with kids here, we definitely have to be aware, firm and fully ready for the job. I waited a good two months to get started, it took a while but it was all worth it. I have been busy enough to not blog for a couple weeks because I really want to take time on my other endeavors. (That sounded as if I have tons of things to deal with, not really what’s happening in real life tbh)

As for the methodology of the said organization, the website states: “Young people experiencing¬†behavioral¬† social, emotional and/or cultural difficulties can be referred. A home assessment will determine their needs. Young adults and police officers from all cultures and diverse backgrounds are recruited, screened and trained to become positive peer mentors sharing their life experiences”

I, myself have been wanting to be a mentor for so many years now. I think it’s because I grew fond of kids when I was in my late teenage years. I remember that day my friend Rachel had her 18th birthday at the orphanage, it was such a fulfilling experience that nothing could ever replace. I gave her props for that because instead of having a ball or like party at the club, she thought of other people who needed help and time. Also, I came from a country where there’s so many kids who can’t afford education and thus, resulting them to become wayward. I wish I could do something about it now that I am here overseas. I will do anything to be of help to those less fortunate youth when I get the chance. Also, after seeing the trailer for the SXSW film “Short Term 12” starring Brie Larson, I knew that was like one of the go-signals to get on board with this opportunity.

“Remember you’re not their parent, you’re not their therapist. You’re here to help them discover who they are and all other things they struggle with”

I wondered what my junior will be like (that’s how we call them apparently), and I actually asked my case coordinator if I could have a kid who’s only 6-10 years old. I seem to be having a little of trouble when I deal with older kids. I was initially paired up with a 13-year old kid who just recently moved here to Toronto. At first I didn’t have any problem with it but after some thinking, I grew hesitant because the worst case scenario will be me butting heads with this kid and I wouldn’t want that for the both of us. I already thought that as a disadvantage before even meeting the kid. My apologies if you think I’m a terrible person.

Then I was paired up with this kid who lives a block away from our place (I know, isn’t it perfect?). When I met up with him I found myself excited to finally be sharing my time with this kid even if it’s only for 3 hours a week. Our first activity happened just 2 days after the meeting and this kid’s brother apparently has a mentor already who also showed up for our water park getaway. It was a rather awesome yet surreal experience, especially it being my first with my junior. A child’s formative years is from infantry to age 5, and what happens after that is tricky. In my kid’s case, he wants someone to spend time with other than his brother and sister, he wants to look up to someone and he wants to play with that someone. The smile on this kid’s face when he sees me makes me feel giddy and fulfilled.

I know this is going to be tough and being a youth mentor is a thankless job but I believe that I can do this to the best of my abilities. I thank God for this experience. You can check out the org’s website¬†and see if you can be of help. I cannot wait for more experiences with this kid honestly. It’s going to be an awesome year!