The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre is looking for volunteers to mentor young people who have been abused.
Climbing Tree Mentorship Program will help youth aged 13 to 17, who have used the center’s services, to develop resilience by building healthy relationships and empowering them to move in a positive direction.
Program co-ordinator Nicole Jones said the centre helps youth deal with the things they are going through.
“We are trying to make a difference for these young people so that these events that happen to them when they’re young don’t end up affecting them negatively in their adulthood. We can do some things now to help them deal with the things that they’re going through, just be one more person in their corner,” Jones said.
She explained mentorship will provide an extra layer of support, and it’s a program that could be used elsewhere.
“We’re hoping if we can get this program off the ground, and if it can be the success we imagine it will be, we would love to be able to branch out around Alberta and go to the other advocacy centres.”
The centre is looking for volunteers who are willing to be a caring adult to a youth for one hour a week for at least one year. Volunteers receive training on how trauma can impact young people, causing them to be withdrawn or shy, for example.
“These children have got needs. They are reactionary in ways that other children may not be. We just want our mentors to be prepared for that, and have the tools to help them.”
She said a lot of people have applied to become mentors and so far three have completed the application process.
Jones said some group activities may be organized for mentors and youth this spring or summer, with one-on-one mentorship hopefully starting in the fall.
The centre received a $50,000 one-year RBC Foundation grant called RBC Future Launch for the mentorship program. In addition to connecting with a supportive adult, youth will learn about the value of post-secondary education and look at career possibilities.