Every year, Peel Children’s Centre (PCC) counts on the efforts of more than 100 specially trained volunteers. As mentors, tutors, drivers, childcare workers, respite providers and fundraising assistants, our volunteers are critical to the success of our programs. From April 6th to 12th, we join with the rest of Canada’s volunteer sector to celebrate and thank our volunteers during National Volunteer Week. Keep reading to learn more about PCC volunteer Jon* and his contributions to PCC's Mentorship program.
University student Jon is one of PCC’s newest volunteers. He works part-time as a hospital security guard where he often sees at-risk youth entering the hospital in the care of the police, youth who might not be in that situation had they been engaged in a healthy mentoring relationship with someone they could trust and look up to. Jon wanted to move from the role of a bystander observing this sequence of events to that of someone who could make a positive difference in another young man’s life, before it was too late. This is what led Jon to PCC’s Mentor Volunteer Program in January 2014.
Jon meets with his 14-year-old Mentee every other week to play sports, go out for coffee and shoot pool. Together, they’re working on mastering how to change a tire, which is one of the many practical life skills Jon is happy to be teaching his Mentee how to do.
Currently, Jon is also helping his Mentee find a part-time job and encouraging him to think about what he wants to do with his life after high school. It’s taken a bit of time, but together they’re building a trusting relationship. “I know he cares what I think,” Jon says. “He understands that whatever he wants to talk about with me, he can.”
Jon’s experience so far in the Mentorship program has been, in a word, “eye-opening.” “I’m less ignorant about other walks of life,” he says. “I am aware of the different problems people face every day.” Jon also feels good about the impact he’s having on his Mentee’s life, knowing that the time they spend together is helping to deter him from making poor choices. He encourages anyone who has the time to mentor a young person to get involved – it can change their future.
* Name changed
If you are interested in becoming a part of our volunteer programs at PCC, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Linda Buchanan, at 905-795-3500 ext. 2260 or use the online form available on our website.