Katie has been in our Urban Transitions Mentorship Program for the last 2 years – we are grateful for her ongoing involvement in our program. During this time she has been paired with a couple of young leaders and is currently working with Manda, the featured young leader of the month for April.
Please tell us a bit about you!
Where to begin? As mentioned I work for the City of Calgary as a Community Liaison in the Councillor’s Office. I have been there for a couple of years now and this job has provided me with the opportunity to learn and grow in so many different areas! The role goes beyond city services and I actually get to work a lot on policy, which is something I am passionate about. I’m happy to be in a place where I can make a difference in peoples lives, be an advocate, and contribute that way to society. In my spare time I just love being outdoors, going for walks, being in nature—that’s how I take care of myself! I love to laugh and have fun and just enjoy life! Lately I’ve started training in yoga, dance, music. I love the arts, video games (I’m a bit nerdy too!), and animals. I think that’s enough right? LOL
What made you decide to become a mentor with our program?
I found the program as I was deciding on post-degree next steps, and was making a decision whether I would move to Calgary, or stay in Lethbridge where I was completing my Masters Degree in Native American Studies. My thesis was about Urban Indigenous Peoples and their contributions to city planning and policy-making in the City of Calgary. I also did a lot of community-based research in Calgary about housing, growing my understanding of the barriers and challenges for youth and families who are moving to the City for the first time from First Nations communities. I believe that this is important work, and it’s important that it is guided by the Indigenous community in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation.
I decided to become a mentor because I wanted to support and nurture the gifts and special talents that I see in young people. When I was younger I had problems with confidence and low-self esteem—it a hard thing to deal with! Young people need to be surrounded by others who believe in them and know that they are capable of doing anything they want.
With a couple of years experience with our program, we’re curious about how being a mentor has changed you. What have you learned during your time as a mentor?
I think being a mentor has taught me to be more patient with people, and to not always take things personally. I am not a parent yet, so I was worried that I wouldn’t have any idea how to support a young person and help them grow as people. Helping youth reach their full potential is something I have learned about, and will continue to learn more about. Patience is important because it takes time to build a trusting relationship with someone.
What is your favourite part about the mentorship program or being a mentor?
It is hard to pick a favourite… I love learning new things about people, for example when I learn something new about Manda, it brings me so much joy! I am also very grateful for all the hangouts as a group. I feel a strong sense of community, I feel supported, and it’s full of amazing people that have a passion for helping youth.
So you’ve been a mentor to Manda for the last couple of months. What are some of the Manda’s strengths you’ve noticed so far? What are some of your hopes for your mentoring friendship?
Manda is just an amazingly cool person! She is so easy to talk to and be around. In the short time I’ve known her I’ve been able to see that she is strong, kind, and funny. She isn’t afraid to put herself out there, which I really admire. She has big dreams and a gentle heart. I hope that I can help her further her passions and support her whenever she needs. I am looking forward to getting to know her better, and support her in her transition to the City and post-secondary life. I can’t wait for this summer when we can go for walks (we both like being outdoors), talk and just get to know each other better. Also, de-stress at the same time!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Not really! I think I may have said too much already.