It was the Fall semester of Emma’s* Grade 12 year at Eastglen School and to say she was feeling overwhelmed would probably be an understatement. She had her sights set on graduating from high school and getting into a nursing program. But she didn’t know what she needed to do to get accepted, or even which program to choose. Plus, Grade 12 is always a hectic year for students.

One day, Emma was talking to the school’s Success Coach, Ben, about how she was feeling about finishing school and life afterwards. Brittany, a Mentoring Facilitator, overheard some of their conversation so she reached out to Ben to see if there was any way she could help. They agreed that Emma could benefit from the Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters Graduation Mentorship program. In a mix of the traditional in school mentoring and community based mentoring, Graduation Matches focus on goal setting and helping a youth finish high school and plan for post-secondary.

Ben and Brittany met with Emma to see what she thought of the idea. She loved it, and by December, she was matched to Susan*, a volunteer who works full time as a Registered Nurse.

Before their first meeting, Brittany worked with Emma to create an Academic and Personal Success Plan.

“I wanted Emma to be able to identify what exactly she wanted to achieve with the help of her mentor,” Brittany explains. “So, when I introduced them, we were able to put together a plan for their match and make sure that they were able to balance building a friendship and helping Emma achieve her goals.”

Together, Emma and Susan have explored a trampoline park, gone for coffee, and attended the Open House at MacEwan University.  Susan has also joined Emma’s math class to give her extra support learning the concepts she was struggling with.

With exams coming up, Emma has been having a hard time balancing her time working, studying, and fulfilling other obligations. So, Susan brought in a day planner and they mapped out Emma’s schedule. Now she has a tangible way to organize her time.

With the support from Susan, Emma isn’t feeling quite as overwhelmed by the amount of work she needs to get done between now and the end of school. She’s feeling confident and hopeful about her future.

Brittany hopes that Emma will be able to job shadow Susan before the end of the year, so she can get a glimpse at what being a nurse really looks like.

“They are just such a great fit,” Brittany says. “I’m not sure this would have been possible if we weren’t part of the All In For Youth initiative at Eastglen. Emma had a relationship with her Success Coach, and he was the bridge between Emma and our Graduation Mentorship program.”

Brittany was working part time at Eastglen last year, and she felt as though she was only scratching the surface of her relationships with the teachers and the students. With the change to the All In model, she feels like they are really starting to make a difference.

“Between all of us – the Success Coach, therapist, Roots & Wings worker, and myself – we’re able to pull in the kids like Emma who might have otherwise fallen through the cracks or dropped out of school,” Brittany says. “We cover pretty much all of the areas of support that a youth could need, even if it’s just help them access outside services. I can’t imagine Eastglen not having this support now that it’s here. It’s amazing.”

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the youth.

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