Scadding Court Mentorship Program
Jordan Mak, Alice Shan, Julia Qiao, Julia Turner, Hening Sun, Emma Brownlie
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The Scadding Court Mentorship Program (SCMP) pairs up inner-city children (aged 6-12) with volunteer mentors who are students and alumni from U of T’s Faculty of Medicine. Alumni and students are keen to make a noticeable difference in our local community by supporting the mission of this program to promote positive relationships with children in a high-risk neighborhood. To accomplish these goals, volunteers and children team up to engage in a variety of physical, educational, and professional endeavors that bring out lots of laughter and fun. Some examples of activities enjoyed by volunteers and students from previous years include: hands-on science programs at the Ontario Science Centre, and culture-promoting field trips to sites in the city like the Gardiner Museum. The SCMP runs annually from November to April and consists of approximately 20 two-hour mentorship sessions at the Scadding Court Community Centre 707 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario (Bathurst & Dundas). The growth of this program has gathered tremendous attention from children and families within the community, allowing it to be recognized as a pinnacle initiative with the community center. Due to its popularity, children actively enroll in the program to gain access to mentors and experiences that would not be available due to their current financial or family situations. The structure of the program is as follows: two mentors are assigned to a mentee based on common interests (i.e., in arts, sports, science, etc.). Mentors and mentees meet weekly on Saturday for two hours and participate in the scheduled activity (activity schedule is provided at the start of the program). During sessions, both mentors and mentees are provided a lunch. Generally, the entire group (mentors and mentees) will be given an introduction and instructions for the day at the start of the session by either the co-directors or the visiting guests for special events, such as the visit from Toronto Wildlife Centre. The necessary supplies are then made available to the group and each mentor and their respective mentee works together on the activity. On days when a field trip is scheduled, session start and end times change, with the duration of the session increasing to account for travel times and also to allow the kids and mentors enough time to explore and to fully immerse themselves in the experience. This year SCMP included several new activities for both new and returning mentors and mentees in the program. Some of the more memorable new events were the field trip to Ripley’s Aquarium and a visit from the Toronto Wildlife Centre.
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