Planting Seeds, to Grow Trees, In the Shade of Which We May Never Sit

By Katie MacLean

What do you find at the intersection of youth leadership and service, mentorship and support, personal growth and development, and connection with some incredible humans? The Alberta Mentorship Program!

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The Alberta Mentorship Program (AMP) is a not-for-profit society in Alberta with the mission of connecting youth mentors aged 16-27 to provide peer-support, teaching assistance, and host workshops students in grades K-12 engaged in Leadership, Service, and CTS based programs.

The program was started in 2008 by alumni of Strathcona High School in Edmonton. After graduation, they found their adult lives lacking opportunities for connection to like minded-peers as well as avenues for the same meaningful service work they conducted while still in school. What’s more, these alumni were fueled by a desire to increase the sustainability of the Leadership program they had come to love by finding ways to take what they had learned and use it to enhance the experience of future generations of students.1385517_10153362457155263_1643527785_n

The conversation became one of legacy. How do we take the experiences that have shaped our lives and make them even better for those who come after us? How do we take all the knowledge, and friendships, and failures gifted to us and shape them into something that can help others? For our founders, the answer to that question came in the shape of the Alberta Mentorship Program.

Ten years later, the Program looks a lot different. Rather than a close group of 10 passionate graduates, the program boasts almost 50 members and growing. Our members represent a diverse array of experiences rather than all hailing from the same Alma Mater. Now,  AMP connects with over 30 different schools at all levels across the Province, beyond their original partnership with Strathcona High. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that legacy stills remains at the heart of the organization.

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My involvement with AMP started six years ago when I was an awkward and nervous grade ten kid, excited to get involved and really not sure how to do so. The mentors with AMP played a big role in connecting me to causes I was passionate in and creating a sense of belonging and connectedness within my school. Most of what I took away from my High School Experience can be credited to the support I received from the mentors with AMP.

Following graduation, I wanted to find a way to support other students the way I had been supported. To leave a legacy of compassion and encouragement for other awkward grade ten kids. I did this by joining AMP.

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I cannot even begin to tally all the ways AMP has pushed me out of my comfort zone in positive and supportive ways that have facilitated my growth as a leader, a mentor, and a human these past three years. So, when the Peter Lougheed Leadership College gave me the opportunity to stretch my skills while making an impact in my community, the inspiration all came back to that one word – legacy.

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For my 2018 PLLC Stretch Experience I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with the Alberta Mentorship Program to help improve the organization at its Constitutional level. I will be taking what I have learned and experienced through the program to create better systems for future mentors with the program. 

I am excited for the potential the training modules, policies, and procedures being enacted this summer have to make this program even more beneficial for all it’s Mentors and Mentees!

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Photos Used with permission from the Alberta Mentorship Program. Photo Credits to Steven Lin, Avery Teo, and Nick Vinci

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