Bob has been a mentor with our Urban Transitions Mentorship Program since fall of last year and in April was matched to mentor Jacob, who is our featured young leader. Prior to being matched one to one, Bob was a regular at our group hangouts, and we have enjoyed his friendly, thoughtful, and caring presence. You can read more about Bob and his involvement in our program below.
Please tell us a bit more about yourself!
I was born on Niitsitapi Territory (now Lethbridge) to a Metis dad and Settler mom. Most of my family was (and still are) ashamed of our “Native blood” and so our history was known but rarely spoken about until my Auntie and Great Auntie did our genealogy through the Glenbow Museum. My Nana told me stories of the Matriarchs of our family taking no sh** from the government of the day.
I spend a lot of my time reclaiming Metis culture from Elders and learning Cree to connect more. Learning this history helps me to hold myself accountable to being a good and strong person. I have a lot of privilege and want to mobilize that in a good way. I have a lot to learn in that regard but connecting with my Metis culture is the best way I’ve found to live miyo-pimatisiwin – a good life.
What led you to join our mentorship program?
I had recently moved back to Calgary after living in Canmore. I have done youth work for basically my whole career and had just moved into a more educative role. I really missed building relationships with youth. I am a person always striving to learn and be better and I have always found that relationships with youth offer a lot of opportunities for growth. I never really had consistent mentorship growing up but found it where I could and I hope that I have something to offer to the program and to Jacob. Also because I am “new” to the city I was hoping to connect with new people and build some community of likeminded folks.
What has it been like being a mentor in our program?
Initially without being paired one to one with a young person, I was discouraged but I have really enjoyed participating in something that feels meaningful.
Now that Jacob and I are connected I feel excited; I am really learning a lot and because I work in the same place he studies we get a lot of chances to connect.
So you were recently paired with Jacob. How is that going? What are the best things about Jacob?
I was honestly so stoked to get paired up with Jacob. He was so often at the hangouts that Canada Bridges runs and was always so kind and easy to chat with.
Jacob is incredible. He is honest, hard working and unendingly kind. We are still getting to know each other but I’d say that Jacob has a strength that you’d never guess; one of the things I admire most about Jacob is how he carries himself through the world. Even through challenges he takes steps to better himself.
What kind of words of encouragement would you like to offer to other mentors or young leaders in the program?
I think it’s one of the hardest things in this world to be authentic; it’s so easy to get caught up in what other people might think. I hope that when people connect with each other through this program that they are able to let their most authentic self show up. Through that connection, I think we can grow as people.
Anything else you would like to add?
Just gratitude for the opportunity to connect with this program and all that it offers. Kinanaskomitinaw.