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The Youth Mentee Perspective

The InSight Youth Mentorship Partnership is focused on assisting youth to learn about the world of work, potential career paths and the skills they will need to successfully transition from high school to employment, post-secondary education, apprenticeship, or further training.

The impact of the InSight Youth Mentoring Program is best appreciated by a close-up look at how participants experience it in their own unique way. We asked a group or Mentees that completed their mentoring partnership for their experiences with the program and they were kind enough to give us their thoughts. For each testimonial attributed to client, a KEYS Consent to Release Form was completed. 

Kiana, 19
Kiana signed up for the program in her final year of high-school, hoping to learn about the field of Nursing. “I didn’t know what to expect. But my mentor, who was very knowledgeable about the Nursing field, made me feel comfortable enough to ask difficult questions.” Kiana was matched with Suzanne, who works as a Registered Nurse at Kingston General Hospital and KFL&A Public Health. Kiana and Suzanne met consistently for over 5 months to focus on Kiana’s successful transition from high-school to college. Kiana and Suzanne attended an Open House at Queen’s where Kiana was able to learn about the Nursing program, explore the university, and see herself at Queen’s. “Kiana told me that she never even considered a university education,” said her Mentor, Suzanne. “But throughout our mentoring partnership she has gained insight and confidence in making her education a possibility.” As Kiana settled into school, Suzanne invited Kiana to job shadow her to observe hands-on aspects of Nursing and what it’s like in a professional work environment after school.  Although Kiana and Suzanne have formally concluded their mentoring partnership, Kiana now has a meaningful connection with an established professional in the field of Nursing. “KEYS wants the best for you and that’s what I received,” said Kiana after completing the program.

Ash, 20

Ash applied to InSight with the goal of wanting to learn about professional workplace environments and how to cope with her stress and anxiety. Ash lit up when talking about her passion for photography and that she was anxious about succeeding in her dual credit program in Behavioural Psychology. She was matched with Viara, a free-lance photographer who decided to pursue her passion as a career after completing her post-doctorate in psychology. 

My match with Viara was very close and very successful. I definitely feel like she made a difference in my life! Ever since we started, things seem to be better and I’ve made huge changes for the better because of my Mentor. I also feel like she is a consistent & caring adult in my life. She always made me feel good and kept a smile on my face. I feel that [this program] has been helpful and gave me much resources for life. Meeting my mentor was the best part of the program. If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t be as fun as I am now.

After completing the InSight Program, Ash and Viara re-established their mentoring match for another 5 months. Having completed a full 10 months in the InSight Program, Ash has said that this program has changed her life. She has only glowing things to say about her mentor: that she is one of the coolest & most important people she has connected with, that she was so encouraging of her thoughts & emotions, and that she feels that she is like a big sister to her. 

Sabrina, 19

We met Sabrina at a local transitional youth housing facility. They are a very outgoing, talkative, and well-informed young person who has significant barriers including mental health challenges, a history of involvement with youth justices system, and has been in foster care for most of their life. Sabrina did not want to establish strict goals at the beginning of their match with Barb. Sabrina & Barb have a very special connection; they focus on learning about local art and community events, designing creative projects and enhancing Sabrina’s public speaking skills. 

We have amazing ideas that we can bounce off of each other. We also have a great love for being outside the box and not being a carbon copy. Yes, my mentor has made a difference in my life. She’s helped me see that I don’t have to go to a fancy school to do what I love, and that sometimes the things you want to do are found while following a completely different path. Yes, my mentor was a consistent, caring adult. She always made me feel validated and like an adult instead of treating me like a child. She backs up my ideas and allows me to give her ideas as well. I learn something new every day in InSight. I learn about what Barb’s favourite things to do are. I learn about art. When we visited the Agnes Etherington I got to meet an artist and she complimented me on my public speaking skills – which I am working on with Toastmasters. From speaking at the Speed Mentoring Event (my most fav!) I learned how to keep an audience entertained. Sometimes I feel really depressed and that things are really bad – but then I spend time with Barb and I feel hopeful – like everything is going to be great! Youth shouldn’t feel trapped by their Mentor of the program. The Mentee should be in charge of the relationship. Barb lets me guide things for us. This is different from other ways I know grown-ups. 

These are just a few of the abundance of stories that demonstrate the impact of the InSight Youth Mentoring Program on participants. Our program staff and are satisfied that the program is effective and is having a positive impact within the community.

Visit here for more information on InSight Youth Mentoring Program, or contact KEYS.

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