At YSM, we’ve seen how personal connections are a vital factor in building the ability of our community members to set goals, take steps towards them and, ultimately, create better futures. Through mentorship, participants find opportunities to build healthy relationships, discover their own strengths and envision new possibilities for themselves and the world around them.
Paired based on shared interests and goals for the partnership, Kashan* and Jeremy* first met online in October 2020 and both are exceedingly grateful for the impact of their relationship.
“I had no one when I first arrived,” said Kashan, a newcomer to Canada. “I was alone. I didn’t have any close friends here.”
After completing a barista employment program at our Evergreen Centre, Kashan was introduced to the mentorship program as he began thinking about where to find employment. Kashan was paired with Jeremy, a volunteer career mentor working in the tech industry.
“I saw this as an opportunity to give back to the community,” said Jeremy. “I’ve had a lot of help myself throughout my life, so that was the driving force.”
Kashan and Jeremy have been meeting online weekly and emailing each other to keep updated. “Jeremy’s so knowledgeable,” reflected Kashan. “He’s helped me build my resume, improve my communication skills and learn about workplaces in Canada. I also discovered I really like data analysis so now I know what I want to do with my career!”
One of the greatest moments the two shared was after Kashan’s acceptance into an elite data analysis program. After being rejected at first, Kashan sent a courteous email describing his situation and how the application process could better serve newcomers like himself. His email was so well-written it made its way to the top of the company and has affected change to their internal processes.
“It was my favourite moment so far,” commented Jeremy, “not just that he got in it, but that he was rejected at first and came back anyway – that was really amazing. And it wasn’t me telling him what to write, I just said, ‘I think you should write an email that’s gracious and clear about your issue.’ He wrote it amazingly well!”
Kashan is excited about the program and what his future will look like. “My long-term goal is to be a senior data manager and to have my family here. It’s a beautiful country, it would be very good to have them here.”
Jeremy also feels enriched in both his personal and professional life by his role as a mentor, “it’s been good for me to go back through my experiences to help Kashan avoid the mistakes I’ve made. I work in a company that makes education software and it’s been fascinating to see Kashan’s experiences relate to my job.”
“[The mentorship] definitely changed me,” Jeremy goes on, “sharing my experiences has been rewarding and keeps me grounded.”
Once it’s safe to do so, Jeremy and Kashan look forward to meeting in person and touring Toronto coffee shops which are Kashan’s expertise.
When asked what the mentorship relationship means to him, Kashan reflected, “It helps people find their way and get connected to the right person. And when you’re connected to the right person, like Jeremy, they can help guide you. I am so blessed to have Jeremy and the YSM team.”
Thank you for all the ways in which you partner with us to transform Toronto and the lives of our neighbours. Your support is changing lives like Kashan’s.
*Names changed to protect privacy
For our 125th anniversary we’re inviting the city of Toronto to GIVE 6IX to ‘the Six” in any way, from anywhere, to help change the lives of neighbours struggling with poverty . . . For Jeremy, that looks like mentoring Kashan as he navigates challenges and celebrate victories.
What’s your 6IX? Learn more and get inspired at ysm.ca/GIVE6IX.