Fatoumata Boucare is one of our practicum students enrolled in the Child and Youth Care Program at VIU. She wanted to share her experiences working with us this year.

She initially heard about our agency through the Practicum Coordinator at VIU and was interested in being part of the team. She worked at Brechin and Forest Park Schools in Nanaimo doing one on one mentoring as well as facilitating a Go Girls group at both schools.

With regard to one on one mentoring, she said “It was a really great experience. It was great to build one on one relationships with these kids”. She mentored 4 children: 2 boys and 2 girls. “I learned to become a role model in their life and I had to build a safe comfort zone for them. One girl in particular was very resistant at first, but by the 2nd semester she opened up. I would attribute that to consistency, being there as expected on a regular basis. I also did not push her, she opened up on her own.” Another one of her mentees, a boy was quite withdrawn and did not play with the other kids. “We set a goal together for him to play everyday during recess. He stuck to that goal and ended up making a great friend because of it.”, she said.

In talking about her experience facilitating a Go Girls Group, she said, “I led 2 groups, one at each of the schools, Go Girls is really a great program as we all grew from the start.The Girls were able to open up especially when we talked about self esteem and bullying which is something they deal with regularly. I also grew personally in that I gained leadership skills from building relationships with the girls. I am now able to run groups and impact the lives of people in a positive way!”, she said.

Her advice to others considering mentoring is to go for it! “It is a great experience. You have to be passionate about working with children and you will find you will grow tremendously as a person! Also Paulyne and the entire agency are excellent people to work with!”, she said.