The goal of SOY’s CONNECT Mentorship Program is to empower multiply marginalized queer and trans youth through identifying youths’ personal goals and building meaningful connections with experienced and affirming volunteer mentors to help achieve those goals.
We do this through building relationships with mentors who:
- support youth in finding a sense of belonging within LGBT2SQ and other communities important to the youth, such as racialized/cultural communities
- provide acceptance, guidance, encouragement, and a non-judgmental listening ear in a consistent and intentional way.
- help youth gain an understanding, level of comfort with and pride in themselves, including in their sexual, gender and racialized identities.
- share skills, experience and networks to help youth achieve their goals.
- foster youth’s self-esteem, autonomy and resilience to support their growth and success in achieving their goals.
Programming at SOY CONNECT
SOY Melanin Linx Project
The SOY Melanin Linx Project is a new initiative to SOY and was created out of the specific needs of our Black queer and trans youth. This project seeks to match LGBTQ youth with a Black, LGBTQ mentor to support youth with developing life skills, building resiliency and strengthening connection to their various communities.
SOY Group Mentorship
SOY runs weekly youth community groups where mentors are part of the team supporting youth with their goals during program time. Group Mentorship was developed to meet the goals of LGBT2SQ youth who come to community groups for different reasons and who may not necessarily want ongoing personal mentorship.
Group mentors and youth come together to prepare and share a meal, participate in workshops, crafts or games, celebrate relevant religious/cultural holidays and other significant life events, and have meaningful discussions and informal conversations. The mentors share identities and life experiences with youth; have skills, talents and experiences to share; are leaders in our communities; and are trained in anti-racism/anti-oppression practices.
They support group meals, provide a listening ear, and offer personal and professional knowledge and experience.
Being a group mentor
SOY looks for LGBT2SQ+ Group Mentors with experience in areas such as: budget and meal planning, shopping for groceries, meal preparation, career exploration and networking, career shadowing, job search support, lived experiences of being a newcomer, challenges about connections with family/friends/community back home, homelessness, poverty, sex work, medical transitioning, and more.
Topics may including: life goals, personal stories about coming out or transitioning, histories of LGBT2SQ+ communities; rebuilding your life in a new country, community resources, human rights and political issues, housing and homelessness, connecting with local services and groups, developing skills, exploring your identity, coming out to friends and family, dealing with bullying and abuse, help with school, exploring careers, succeeding at work, improving your health and emotional wellbeing, and more.
SOY Personal Mentorship
Personal mentorship involves matching a mentee with a personal mentor to support the mentee in a regular and intentional way. mentorship arrangements are tailored to meet mentees’ specific goals and needs.
Personal mentorship may include meeting a mentee for coffee on a regular basis to discuss a range of topics including: life goals, personal stories about coming out or transitioning, histories of LGBT2SQ communities; community resources, human rights and political issues, housing and homelessness, connecting with local services and groups, developing skills, exploring identity, coming out to friends and family, dealing with bullying and abuse, help with school, exploring careers, succeeding at work, improving health and emotional wellbeing, and more. It can also mean helping a Mentee connect to communities, activities and events they are interested in by providing information and taking them on outings.
For mentees who are disconnected or alienated from their families, taking on some of the roles that are typically part of family life such as celebrating religious/cultural holidays, the youth’s birthday and other significant life events.
Applying to be a mentor
Please email a completed application form to Verlia Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can mail it to 333 Sherbourne St, Toronto, ON, M5A2S5
For Melanin Linx interest, please email a completed application form to Afi Browne at email@example.com or you can mail it to 333 Sherbourne St, Toronto, ON, M5A2S5
SOY Mentors at Sherbourne Health are required to attend a 16 hour Mentor/Volunteer Training. We request a minimum commitment of one year.
Thank you for your consideration, but due to the number of applicants, we will only contact folks selected for the SOY CONNECT mentorship process.