Adrianna Perryman, Youth Board Member created Wonderfully Made. Our youth ambassador, intern therapist, and support team member Mariyam Zaidi developed: Wonderfully Made: Program Evaluation. Learn more about our program here:
This is a program geared to provide mentorship for girls aged 8 to 12 years old with older young women from ages 16 to 21 years old. The program targets girls to build their self-esteem, self-identity, body image, self-worth and resiliency. The mentorship program consists of “theme days”, workshops, and one-on-one support. Mentors will provide leadership, connection and support to mentees throughout the programs, and lead workshops for mentees (Mariyam Zaidi, MSW).
Wonderfully Made… It starts with an idea
Recruit and equip mentors (aged 16 to 29) to provide workshops, programs and mentoring to girls (aged 8 to 15). The program is free, sponsored by Aset Group and will be taking place in various locations within the community.
- Train mentors to develop skills in mentoring youth, identifying anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, dealing with conflict resolution, social media & it’s impact on children and youth, emotional awareness and emotional intelligence and more. Use webinar and face to face workshop processes.
- Develop partnerships with Durham District School Board, Durham Catholic School Board, and Toronto District School Board (eastern area) to deliver in-school group programs for targeted youth within their schools that fit the criteria.
- Design programs and workshops geared for girls aged 8 and 13.
- Deliver workshops in schools and after-school programs (over a few weeks) for Wonderfully Made and Young Queens.
- Body Image: Ways to prevent and understand negative body image by critically examining harmful messages presented in the media as well as common attitudes and myths in society at large. The program also explores how negative body image and low self-esteem can be linked with unhealthy behaviours such as disordered eating and over-exercising, risk-taking and the impact on mental wellness. Participants can discuss how they can feel better about their bodies and learn skills to support others.
- Appreciating Diversity: To understand and appreciate the differences between people and reduce discrimination. To facilitate discussion on the impacts of discrimination, the historical and ongoing effects of colonization on this land and the linkages existing between different forms of discrimination. This program aims to shift the focus to the resiliency and strengths of those who face discrimination and how we can all build-all-ship. It is also very important for young girls to be mentored by those who are as diverse as they are; to be able to see themselves in a position of power.
- Communication: To explore passive, aggressive and assertive communication styles as well as the negative impacts of rumors and gossip.
- Social Interactions: Identify and improve positive aspects of friendship including increasing levels of trust and personal sharing. Positive social skills are recognized as vital for healthy social development and increasing self-esteem.
- Collaborative and Interactive Arts: Using arts, dance, movement and role playing to promote emotional development. This expression provides a structured outlet for a healthy physical and emotional release. By providing an atmosphere of freedom to channel their emotions and energies in a safe environment, girls can increase their self-esteem and confidence (Mariyam Zaidi, MSW).
Program objectives: Wonderfully Made is a program that stimulates the relationship between mentors and mentees. Through collective discussion and collaboration, the girls can work through issues like body image and valuing oneself. The mentors will facilitate discussions and will add their thoughts, feelings and their own unique experiences from a cultural lens. We want the girls to develop a sense of self by working with youth that look like them and can provide them with an image of beauty, intelligence and talent that is contrary to their own identity. We want young girls to have positive self-esteem, positive self-image and healthy body images.
Mentor description: Wonderfully Made recruits volunteer mentors who are young women between the ages of 16-29 years of age. Our program uses peer-mentoring model that matches youth-to-youth, leading to a deeper more transformative impact. We match youth with similarly diverse backgrounds that are between the ages of 8-15. Our mentors are typically in senior years of high school or university that want to made a difference in their community by providing guidance, support and a positive influencing role model. Mentors are responsible for the well-being of young individuals and so hold a lot of responsibility. Each mentor is screened, trained and supported by a staff social worker for the duration of the mentoring relationship. The mentors must be friendly, approachable and be able to communicate in a variety of different ways. Each mentor is required to deliver workshops that require creative approaches to the topics at hand. Mentors are required to provide 5+ hours of time commitment per month and must be consistent and on time to each event. Additional skills that the mentor will possess and develop include; leadership skills, to be able to make connections, emotional regulation and presentation skills.
Mentees Description: Wonderfully Made is designed for girls from the ages of 8-15. We match identified girls with older racialized girls. This program is designed for girls who have difficulty in school, creating positive social relationships and possessing positive self-image. It is important to provide a safe space for girls of colour to know who they are and what it means to be proud of being a person of colour.
Community Benefit: The Program will run within various communities in Durham Region (Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Brooklin, Oshawa and Courtice) and Scarborough East (Port Union). This program is beneficial for the community as it provides a safe environment for young girls to go to express themselves as well as find positive role models. Currently there is a disparity in understanding the overarching needs of girls of diverse backgrounds in society. More images are being shown of Black, Latino, Muslim and Indigenous youth in a negative light then in a positive one. People need role models. Girls need role models. Young girls especially need role models that look like them, that they can aspire to be.
Sustainability: Wonderfully Made is a free program that is sponsored by Aset Group Consulting and Counselling Services. Aset Group is a private practice agency that provides counselling services to children, youth, families and couples. The counselling and programs that are offered are through an inclusive and equitable lens. Funding will also be required through other various sources. This includes fostering partnerships with community organizations. The program is also sustained through the hard work and dedication of the volunteers that volunteer as mentors and the social workers who guide them. Continuous training will be provided to ensure that the workshops are providing current and relevant material for the youth.
Time commitment: Mentors are encouraged to participate in 5+ hours per month. This time commitment can be dedicated to training, facilitating and meetings dedicated to the development of the content. These hours can be used towards community hours. Each workshop that is run by the mentors will run for 2 to 3 hours. There will be 20-40 hours of online and in-person training which will be paid.
Venues: The workshops will be taking place within various locations within the community. This could include gymnasiums, schools, community centers and libraries.
Overall Summary: Wonderfully Made is a program for youth run by youth to create a positive mentoring environment for girls of colour. The program is FREE, sponsored by Aset Group and will be taking place in various locations within the community. The topics that are covered include body image, appreciating diversity, communication and social interaction. These topics will be covered in a 2 to 3-hour workshop using collaborative and interactive arts. The workshops are designed to not only help young girls see images of beauty, intelligence and talent that fits with their own identity but also create leaders out of the mentors.
Wonderfully Made: Our Impact
As visionaries, we hope to appeal to children and youth by:
- Empowering girls and young women to lead– by establishing opportunities for them to develop their soft skills, leadership skills, and to empower other girls through mentorship and providing opportunities for younger girls to receive mentorship from their community members.
- Addressing racism and its impacts on urban youth- by developing workshops designed to address body image, racism in media, exploring culturally based programs and expressive arts, and creating opportunities for equity-seeking youth to lead programs for their peers.
- Creating safe spaces for Indigenous and/or Black youth to build strong community and cultural connections- by developing culturally based programs and workshops that provide mentees and mentors with a safe place to share their experiences within broader Canadian society & culture.
As visionaries, we hope to support our young girls and women. Our programs hope to benefit young women become the person they aspire to become”Nicole Perryman, Visionary
- Beneficiaries: Black, Indigenous and racialized youth in Durham Region between 16 and 29 years old. Our mentors come from a range of backgrounds & experiences.
- Experiences: College & University students, youth involved in criminal justice system or child welfare care, youth in High School or at-risk for not completing high school, and more. They bring their lived experiences to mentor and support our youth.
- Challenges & Barriers: As equity-seeking and gender youth, they are at a disadvantage due to systemic barriers & racism. They may face additional barriers such as involvement in the criminal justice system, lack of mentors to help guide their progress, experience mental health difficulties & challenges connecting with others. They may have low self-esteem and confidence due to their early history, exposure to peer pressure and social media influences. Our mentors may have difficult with poverty, limited exposure to life experiences, family pressures and health difficulties. These barriers can impact their ability to achieve the outcomes they deserve in their lives.
- Hopes & Interests: Our programs seek to provide youth with opportunities to develop their inner wellness. We help our mentors to establish personal goals and access resources to achieve them.
It’s disheartening that girl’s overall happiness is based on body confidence and that girls are made to feel that their looks are the most important thing.Mariyam Zaidi, MSW
According to the Dove Project, a shocking 47% of girls aged 11-21 believe the way they look holds them back (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2016). From as young as seven years old, girls feel the impact of daily sexist images of women and girls in the media, online and all around them (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2016). Girls are constantly forced to confront intense and unobtainable appearance pressures to be perfect while simultaneously feeling they are not good enough (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2016). Girls experience intense appearance pressures and fears that their bodies and looks keep them from doing everything things. According to figure 1 below, girls aged 11-21 are ashamed of the way they look most of the time (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2016). Most girls compare themselves to celebrity figures and find that they do not feel pretty enough (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2016). In fact, 31% of those girls are constantly comparing themselves to other people (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2016). Prepared by: Mariyam Zaidi, MSW
Describing our Impact
Through our programs we strive for our mentors & mentees to achieve the following skills:
- Mentors have developed their leadership skills, can use their voice, can advocate for themselves and others.
- Mentors have developed their emotional intelligence, problem solving and conflict resolution skills; can access resources to support their mental health & wellness, and can achieve self-awareness.
- Mentors have accessed financial support and scholarships through our programs, as well as developed knowledge on financial literacy, connected with a financial manager, and created a vision board for their financial future.
- Mentors have connected with our other programs and found life coaches, professional mentors, and access to employment opportunities; met with key leaders in the industry, engaged in creative arts & events throughout the city, and attended networking opportunities.
- Mentors engage in civic & political spheres, to understand social justice, and develop a passion for a cause to support; mentors consider roles in politics & leading businesses, and engage in volunteer activities throughout the world.
- Mentees have found mentors who look like them!
- Mentees have learned different ways to think about their bodies, their intelligence and their capacity to succeed; mentees learn to define their identity by the content of their character; they learn to love their skin colour and their hair; they learn to develop friendships cross-culturally
- Mentees have higher self-esteem and confidence than when they started the program; they develop the confidence to speak up for themselves, to withstand negative experiences and bullying, to feel supported by mentors and other adults in their life
- Mentees and mentors to remain engaged in the program for one year and more; to continue to participate in the activities and events, to assist with fundraising and leading the program.
- Mentees will one day become mentors!