Mentorship Program Update

March 2nd, 2015

Youville Centre’s pilot mentorship program is well underway, with semi-monthly lunch and learn events continuing throughout the school year, and nine students who have been matched with mentors enjoying one-on-one lunch meetings.

Over the past few months we have enjoyed three Lunch & Learn events at the centre featuring unique topics and special guests. Please enjoy this brief recap and update, and feel free to get in touch with us if you are interested in speaking at a future event or possibly being matched as a mentor to a young mom in our next academic year. Please see the bottom of this post for contact information.


Theme: Entrepreneurship

Guest Speakers:

Whether or not our young moms may end up running their own business someday, we wanted to show them that they are already developing the skills needed to succeed as an entrepreneur, simply by balancing school, parenting, and other aspects of their lives. Our guest speakers, who are both mothers and entrepreneurs, reminded our young moms to see all kinds of life and career experiences as possible opportunities, some of which might possibly lead to entrepreneurial ventures. They also reminded our students to listen to their inner voices and remember that although they had a child young, they still have the right to dream and to do what they love. Emily and Anita also shared their own personal journeys about how they came to be entrepreneurs; highlighting personal successes, tips for how to balance work and motherhood, and strategies for overcoming obstacles along the way.

Anita also shared a beautiful photo of herself and her children from when she was just starting her business (her children are now teenagers), and a poster that she once cut out of a magazine that she still holds on to today as a reminder to never stop dreaming. Many thanks to Anita for allowing us to share this with our Youville Centre community.


entrepreneurship lunch and learn-resizedPictured with some of Youville’s young moms are: Michelle Torunski, member of the Mentorship Task Force, (third from left); Emily Arbour (middle); and Anita Ruivo (holding her poster).


Theme: Careers in Health and Wellness

Guest Speakers:

  • Karen Ergus, Dental Hygienist
  • Kate Kinghan, Registered Nurse
  • Leah Hutchinson White, Registered Massage Therapist

Each of the three career options featured showed our young moms possible journeys they could take in the field of health and wellness. All three guest speakers shared with our young moms how to navigate the schooling required for each career, how to plan family finances in order to study, work and parent at the same time, and how to continue to learn and develop skills along the way to advance in their careers.  Karen, Kate, and Leah all stressed that their chosen careers offered a good amount of flexibility and independence which has helped them to work while raising their children. Practical information and advice was shared openly to give our students a comprehensive view of each career option presented to them. Karen, Kate, and Leah reminded our young moms to believe in themselves, work hard, and if they feel called, to pursue a career in the field of health and wellness, as it can be very rewarding to earn a living by helping others. Each of our guests shared a lovely quote at the end of the presentation:

“I feel like I make a difference in peoples’ lives.” ~ Kate

“I get the chance to earn a living while making others happy.” ~ Leah

“To quote Audrey Hepburn, ‘…you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others’.” ~ Karen

January Lunch N Learn 2015Mentorship Task Force Member and Youville Centre Board Member Laurie Tucker (far left) is seen here with Youville students, Kate Kinghan (second from left), Karen Ergus (third from right) and Leah Hutchinson White (far right).


Theme: Resiliency

Guest Speakers:

  • Shannon Gorman, National Director, Community Affairs at TELUS; member of the Mentorship Program Task Force
  • Clarissa Arthur, Child Development Program Coordinator at Youville Centre
  • Laurie Tucker, Youville Centre Board Member; member of the Mentorship Program Task Force

All three women shared personal stories of times when they learned how to bounce back from life events, and how they gathered the strength to keep going not only as a person and a woman, but also as a mother. Each of the guest speakers was a young mother herself, so the lessons they were able to impart to Youville’s young moms spoke volumes.

Clarissa shared her “Top 10 Sayings to Keep on Mental Repeat” that help her to stay positive, focused, and to learn how to bounce back from life events:

  1. Live your life on purpose. You are here for a reason; this is not a test run.  Know that every single experience is an opportunity to learn, to grow, to try something new.  Recognize your worth and realize that if you want something, you have every right to go after it.
  2. Be mindful. Pay attention.  When you start drifting, bring yourself back.  Be reflective; ask yourself questions (what happened, what feelings I had, what was good/not so good, did I have other options, if it happens again, what can I do?).
  3. It’s all about perception. Remember that what you feel is based on your own way of thinking, your own experiences and your own point of view.  The same way this is true for you, it is true for others as well.  Bringing yourself back to this frame of mind can help in situations where you feel misunderstood and frustrated.
  4. Resiliency skills are taught; they don’t come automatically. “Resiliency” is the ability to overcome difficulties.  We are experiential beings, meaning we learn from what we do, what we see and what we feel.  Through experience and a set of useful strategies, we have the ability to overcome adversity.  Seek out guidance and assistance from others; be open to learning new ways of coping and strategizing at being successful in this thing called life.
  5. A goal without a plan is simply a wish. Having a goal solely by itself, will not result in automatic success.  Goals need to be clear and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Trackable). Ask yourself, what is my action plan?
  6. Give reasons, not excuses. Re-frame your thinking.  Excuses can come easily, they are often the quick explanations we give for why things that haven’t gone our way.  Reasons, on the other hand, take some thought.  When giving a reason, always take the time to think it through and ask yourself, what I can learn here, what can be different for next time?
  7. As long as you move forward with the best of intentions, you’re never wrong. Intentions aren’t necessarily what you do; rather they are an energy you are a part of.  They should be your values, your belief system, and your overall guiding practice.  If your intentions are rooted in goodness, in positivity and in growth, even if things don’t turn out the way we wanted them to, we know that they originated from a good place.
  8. When all else fails, try and try again. We are going to make mistakes, that’s just a fact of life.  The real question is: after we’ve made that “mistake”, what are we going to do now?  The reality is, if you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done; besides, you won’t know unless you try!
  9. Go the extra mile; it’s never crowded there. Be the difference.  Stand out.  Be the one who is going to work hard to be a better you.  A lot of people nowadays just do what they “have” to do, and refuse to go the distance to really make a difference.  It will always feel better if you’ve worked hard for it.
  10. It never rains forever. What can I say about this one, other than “it’s true”?  Yes, it’s that simple.  Experiences happen, they do not define who you are, they are moments in time… moments in time, that will pass.

Lunch N Learn November 2014 SpeakersL to R: Shannon Gorman, Clarissa Arthur, Laurie Tucker.

We are grateful to all of our guest speakers and we continue to plan Lunch & Learn events. If you are interested in speaking on a particular topic, please email us at either of the following addresses:

Mentorship Task Force: mentorship(at)youvillecentre(dot)org

Youville Centre Communications: communications(at)youvillecentre(dot)org