Youth Mentoring Program
The parish community of St. George has taken a bold and important step forward by launching a new youth mentoring program. This new program will be led by Fr. Justin Mitchell, who has officially joined the parish as a part-time Assistant Priest. The mentoring program is one of two new initiatives sponsored by a generous grant from the Chamandy Foundation. The purpose of the mentoring program is to address the unique needs of persons ages 16-30 years old as they transition into adulthood, develop a mature spiritual life, and strengthen their Orthodox Christian identity.
Across all the Orthodox jurisdictions in North America, it is the Antiochian Archdiocese which has done the best job of engaging young adults with programs such as Teen SOYO, Camp Transfiguration, and Sunday school. Furthermore, parishes such as St. George which already have a dedicated Youth Director tend to have higher levels of youth involvement. The new youth mentoring program seeks to build on the good work already being done across the Antiochian Archdiocese and at our parish.
Offering a youth mentoring program is one part of the overall strategy to provide our young people new ways to embrace and deepen their Orthodox faith. A second part of the strategy involves the launching of a new Youth Music Program, also sponsored by a grant from the Chamandy Foundation. Together, these new programs provide opportunities for fellowship and spiritual growth in addition to Sunday Church Services. In each program there will be an emphasis on developing a joyful and inspirational approach to living an Orthodox Christian life and will be of benefit to the young people of our parish as well as the local community.
Our goal is not only to identify enthusiastic Mentors, but also to develop committed and well-prepared ones. Research demonstrates the importance of dispatching volunteers with understanding, preparation, and a commitment to uphold their end of the relationship. Consequently, Mentors receive on-going training, evaluation, and support from the program leader. All Mentors interacting with minors must meet the strict criteria outlined by the Antiochian Archdiocese and pass background checks. Mentors will be same-sex as mentees, and currently active in areas of interest corresponding to the Mentee’s chosen field of study or career path. Initially, Mentees to be selected from the community of St. George parish, and later from the wider Montreal area surrounding the church.
Throughout the course of the program Mentors improve their own skills in the areas of interpersonal communication, tolerance, and leadership. Thus, the Mentor program is personally rewarding for all participants, and encourages Mentors to make a multi-year commitment (i.e. 3 years).
Mentor Program Themes & Outcomes
a. Attitude/Motivation: Mentees develop increased drive for achievement both for personal satisfaction and also to be of service to the wider community.
b. Social/Relationship Skills: Through one-on-one meetings, group interactions, and group presentations, Mentees improve interpersonal communication and public speaking skills.
c. Spiritual/Emotional Growth: Mentors share with Mentees how they balance their lives at work, at home, and at church with the goal of allowing Mentees to discover that balance in their own lives.
d. Personal Conduct: Mentors to model the importance of making good choices early in life to prepare and support the Mentees personal development and employment goals.
e. Academics: Through available academic tutoring resources at St. George, Mentees will have the opportunity to improve skills in creative writing, critical thinking, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
f. Physical Health: Mentors to reinforce the Mentees’ personal goals in the area of physical health, providing encouragement and support to achieve the desired results.