It has been a busy summer for the National Youth Mentoring Advisory Council (NYMAC)! If we were to use three words that summarize what’s been happening, we’d say: Engagement, Leadership and Change.
Let’s start with Engagement:
The best kind of organizational conventions include a mix of thought leadership, ample caffeine and food, and tons of opportunities to network. Big Brothers Big Sister’s National Convention in Toronto in June 2019 included all three of these. We would know – we were there. NYMAC members Karine and a few others have been attending and presenting at the National and Regional Conventions for the last several years and we have seen the face of the organization change. Before National Convention even started, there were other back to back activities we participated in. NYMAC attended the Toronto Pride Parade as members and allies of the LGBTQ2S+ community. We spent time discussing why visibility of mentoring support for this community is so important and we created signs to carry with messages we wanted to convey as we marched in the parade with It Gets Better Canada.
The following day, we woke up early (like really early) to hold our very first in-person NYMAC meeting where NYMAC member had a chance to present on and hear about issues affecting children and youth from the different regions across Canada. There were many similarities such as issues around youth employment, mental health, cost of education and housing, and violence experienced in many communities. We also heard about youth resiliency and ways that many communities are engaging young people through mentoring to make a difference.