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Stories: Mentorship program goes abroad


A life-skills facilitator at Bloorview has returned from Sweden where she trained a local children’s rehab centre on how to set up what it will call a “Mentor School.”

Kim Jones-Galley spent two days sharing Bloorview’s experience running a mentorship program that pairs children with a disability with a trained teenager or young adult who also has a disability.

Mentors act as a friend and sounding board to mentees, helping them set goals and get out into the community.

When asked why they want to be a mentor, clients typically say: “I wish somebody was there for me when I was growing up – someone I could connect with, share with, and ask questions,” Kim says.

Bloorview has trained about 70 youth aged 16 to 29 to be mentors over the past 10 years. The Swedish centre in Uppsala is translating Bloorview’s training materials to prepare for its own training of 13 mentors this January.

The centre learned about Bloorview’s mentorship program at the 2006 transitions conference – an international conference hosted by Bloorview to address how to best prepare kids with disabilities for adulthood.

“I had an opportunity to meet four of the soon-to-be Swedish mentors and we got excited about the possibility of having the Swedish mentors connect with the Bloorview group through videoconferencing and on Facebook,” Kim says.

To find out more about Bloorview’s mentorship program, call (416) 425-6220, ext. 3204.

Bloorview helps train Swedish centre on mentoring, Ontario Association of Children's Rehabilitation Services

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