Manda Hunter has been attending our mentorship program activities over the last 6 months or so, though she has been connected to Canada Bridges staff for the last few years. She was recently paired with Katie, who has been acting as her mentor since late February. We asked Manda a few questions about herself and her experience in the mentorship program as she is the featured young leader for April!
Could you tell me a bit about yourself?
Well, I am 21 and from Morley, Alberta, but I lived in and out of Morley growing up, from Olds to Calgary and even Regina one time. I like drawing and doing art in my free time. I enjoy taking pictures of natural landscapes, from sunsets and skies to mountains, among others. I also like cats and actually have two of my own, that I care about dearly. Other pastimes of mine are going on long hikes and exercising. I think of myself as a bit of a rebel because I like stuff that’s out of the ordinary.
How did you get connected to Canada Bridges?
I first found out about Canada Bridges through meeting Sarah and Alyssa. They had been hosting some activities at the Youth Centre and asked if we (my friend Sally and I) would want to help out with hosting the Art Program and coming up with ideas for people to follow. After that, we participated in whatever hangouts they had in Morley.
What made you decide to join the mentorship program?
I decided to join the mentorship program since I thought it would be good for meeting more cool people and to become more connected within the community as well as the community within Calgary.
You’ve only had a mentor over the last couple of months, but what has that been like working with Katie so far?
It’s been awesome! We have a lot of common interests and it’s been really cool having her as a mentor so far and meeting someone new. :)
What have been some of your favourite parts of the mentorship program?
I always liked visiting the city so it’s good having a chance to hangout with people I know and also meeting others in Calgary. I’m pretty sure my favourite hangout has been the recent one, Ninja Nation, the indoor park. I really enjoyed it because I haven’t really done any physical activities like that, aside from hikes, in a while. In the past I used to long distance run and weight train a lot and that hangout made me realize I actually kind of miss doing those things.
You’re a person that we know to have a lot of hopes for the future. What are some of your dreams? What goals are you working on right now?
I’ve been working towards attending post-secondary to get my Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts so I can pursue art or photography.
What have you accomplished thus far that makes you proud of yourself?
I have become more outgoing and more open with people than I was before. I have more confidence and a higher self-esteem and I now know what I want in life.
What kind of encouragement or words of wisdom do you have to share with other youth in the mentorship program or from your community?
My recommendation is, don’t let people drag you down. I’d also say don’t look at what others are doing. If you stick to your own path without any negative distractions you’ll come to what you set out to do. Don’t veer far from your own path, because it’s yours for a reason.