Fostering, Empowering, Advocating, Together (FEAT) for Children of Incarcerated Parents (www.featforchildren.org) is a non-profit organization that works to improve the lives of children and youth affected by familial incarceration. In partnership with FEAT, Ryerson University undergraduate and graduate students can become volunteer mentors at one of the four Peer Mentorship programs offered throughout the GTA. The initiative is designed to optimize the psychological, social, and educational outcomes of children and youth by fostering the development of a positive and consistent mentoring relationship, increasing self-esteem and building healthy coping skills.
Our Peer Mentorship Program is geared to support the unique needs of children and youth ages 6-18 who have a family member that has been in conflict with the law. Weekly activities such as; cooking, tutoring, sports, arts and crafts, field trips, team-building activities, peer group discussion, and organizing community-based projects provide opportunities for the children and youth to foster positive relationships with their mentors in a fun, social environment. Youth ages 12 and older will be matched with a mentor who will support youth to develop and work toward personal goals, model and reinforce pro-social behaviours, encourage academic progress, and provide an opportunity for each youth to engage in a fun, healthy and safe relationship with a consistent and caring adult. While, children 11 years old and younger will participate in a group mentorship program where mentors will help to build social skills and positive peers relationships.
When and Where? Programs will run for 4-7pm from October to April. Mentors can select the day/location that works best with their schedule:
- Mondays- Malton Community Centre, 3540 Morning Star Dr, Mississauga, ON L4T 1Y2 (Malton)
- Tuesdays – Franklin Horner Community Centre, 432 Horner Ave, Etobicoke, ON M8W 2B2 (South Etobicoke)
- Wednesdays – Ephraim’s Place Community Centre, 1875 Sheppard Ave W, North York, ON M3L 1Y6 (North York)
- Thursdays, Program site TBA, East York
Mentors with at least one semester of experience volunteering at FEAT will have the opportunity to become mentors for our Family Visitation Program which facilitates and provides support for children and families visiting loved ones at federal institutions every weekend. We are looking for up to 20 mentors to join our team on a rotating schedule.
Tokens may be provided to students requiring financial assistance based on need and availability.
Application Process: Candidates will be required to complete the online application, for initial screening. Selected applicants will be contacted for an interview. Successful applicants will be required complete and submit a Vulnerable Sector Police Records Check before being matched with youth.
Commitment: Volunteers need to be available for the full school year to participate, starting the first week of October through the last week of June. Those who complete the full program will receive a certificate and reference letter.
Training and requirements: Training and submission of a police check and vulnerability screening is required of all volunteers. Training will consist of a 2 hour workshop offered in the last week of September.
For all who are interested in joining our team and helping to make a difference in the lives of some of the most at-risk children in our city, please complete the online applicationhttps://docs.google.com/a/ryerson.ca/forms/d/1D_l4BkkXwTTSP5m2DwABSXYyC3m8WNlylsOF8E8ivQw/edit# . The deadline to apply for the September Peer Mentorship Program is Friday September 23rd, 2016.