YMCA Black Achievers mentorship program invites nominations for new mentors

12 June 2023

YMCA Black Achievers mentorship program invites nominations for new mentors

Call for mentors follows success of program and student graduation

TORONTO, June 12, 2023 - The YMCA of Greater Toronto is inviting nominations to its Black Achievers mentorship program from interested mentors and roles models across the city as the current group of students graduates. Mentors support the social and academic development of Black youth in high school. The program originally launched in Scarborough in 2021 and is now looking for additional mentors.

“Being a mentor for the program, I get to help youth navigate some of the same challenges I faced when I was in school, like programs to apply for after high school, how to interview or even write a resume,” says mentor Hailey Redman. “It’s so rewarding to see and help these youth take important steps towards achieving their dreams and goals.” Learn more about Hailey’s experience as a Black Achievers mentor here.

The YMCA Black Achievers Mentorship Program is open to youth ages 14 to 19 who are currently enrolled in high school. It is designed to broaden horizons and increase available support to help Black youth overcome systemic barriers. The program focuses on cultural knowledge and empowerment, allowing youth to learn and celebrate their heritage, and develop a sense of belonging.

According to Statistics Canada, Black males are twice as likely to be unemployed or not pursue an education, with Black youth less likely than their counterparts to have a postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree. The program is helping youth connect and engage with mentors from the community first-hand and witness attainable possibilities following high school.

The program connects high school students with Black mentors and role models in their community who share similar experiences. Mentees connect with their mentors for:

  • Workplace and post-secondary campus exposure through visits and event participation;
  • Life and interpersonal skills development including networking and different pathways to careers; and
  • A welcoming community of support from participating mentors and the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

“I quickly fell in love with the Black Achievers program – people understood me,” says mentee Teniola Awodumila. “I was able to let my guard down, make new connections and try new things I’d never done before, like public speaking.” Learn more about Teniola’s experience as a Black Achievers mentee here.

“The YMCA Black Achievers program is close to my heart – we’ve seen the impact first-hand, and the necessity for Black youth to connect with Black mentors for support and guidance to successful careers,” says Medhat Mahdy, President & CEO, YMCA of Greater Toronto. “As a mentor, you can share your personal experiences and insights, contribute to the next generation’s success, and build your network.”

If you are interested in applying as a mentor to the YMCA Black Achievers mentorship program or want to learn more, please visit ymcagta.org/blackachievers.

About the YMCA of Greater Toronto

The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a charity that ignites the potential in people, helping them grow, lead and give back to their communities. For 170 years, the YMCA of Greater Toronto has provided opportunities for people to shine through a variety of programs and services including health and fitness, licensed child care, camps, employment and immigrant services, education and training, and services for youth, families and seniors. Promoting equity and boosting well-being across more than 440 locations in the Greater Toronto Area, the Y is a leading charity that helps everyone shine. For more information visit https://ymcagta.org.