The Power of a Volunteer

A young girl wraps her arm around her mentor. Both are looking into the camera and smiling.

Robin was referred to the United Way funded program in September 2022. A grade 5 student, Robin had already endured several school changes and challenges at home, and she struggled with school attendance and developing lasting relationships with her peers. The child and youth worker at Robin’s school believed that her life could be supported through the consistent presence of a mentor who would meet with Robin, weekly, at the school for the duration of the school year. 

Robin was soon matched with Crystal, a third-year student at the University of Guelph, working to complete her Bachelor of Science degree. Robin’s child and youth worker had mentioned that the one area of school where Robin had expressed some interest was science experiments, and perhaps Crystal could help her further embrace and explore this interest together as a match. She noted too that what Robin likely needed, more than anything, was an additional caring and consistent adult role model in her life. 

Nervous at first and hesitant to express herself to a stranger, Robin was initially uncertain that this match was something she would enjoy. Crystal, however, continued to show up each week, gradually building rapport through conversation, and some small activities. By November, Robin and Crystal’s relationship was truly thriving due in large part to their shared interest of science! Crystal asked Robin each week what she was curious about learning and science experiments became a favourite match activity. Writing notes to one another in invisible ink as a special favourite! 

“Robin loved her time with Crystal and was sorry to see it come to an end…for now. Crystal was so kind and patient in building the relationship slowly, appreciating Robin for who she is. The days that Robin knew Crystal was coming to her school were the days when she was most excited to go to school, and she’d always come home to tell me about their science experiments. She definitely nailed her interests and what would keep her engaged and inspire her outside of school as well. This program was such a rewarding experience!” 

We believe that every child deserves the chance to grow up with support to reach their potential, so they can thrive in adulthood. Learn more about our All That Kids Can Be Impact Area.

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