Jumpstart Afterschool Program Mentor
Mayfair Community School
For Courtney Arcand, the opportunity to provide a safe and inclusive environment where kids get to laugh and have fun —as does she— is what keeps bringing her back as a Jumpstart mentor.
“The kids are so funny, they make you laugh all the time,” she said. “The kids are all pretty happy when they come here. So I like to think that the Jumpstart Afterschool Program brings out that happiness, and provides a good place to have fun with trusted leaders.”
When she joined the Jumpstart Afterschool Program in its first year in 2016, the then 18-year-old Courtney hadn’t had much interaction with children outside of her family circle and had little or “no patience at all.” That has definitely changed in the three years she’s spent leading elementary students from ages nine to 12, in activities three days a week.
“Each year is different with new kids. I have learned more patience, understanding, and techniques on how to deal with kids when they are upset. I try to relate to the kids and create a relationship with them.”
While many of the activities the group participates in are sport and recreation oriented — which allows the children to play sport and games they’ve never tried before— Courtney explains that the program also mixes in opportunities to learn about other cultures.
“We have had discussions about all of the different cultures in our group, and they think it’s cool. The students are really open-minded."
Courtney and her fellow mentors have also put an emphasis on respectful behaviour. At the start of each day and game, the group begins by having the kids answer questions about anti-bullying and how to respect one another. The routine is one of the ways that Courtney attempts to fulfill both her role and her goals as a mentor.
“My role as a mentor is to be supportive and a good role model; to teach about respect —respecting authority, respecting each other— good sportsmanship and everything like that,” she said. “My goal as a mentor is to provide a safe space where we can all hang out together, learn sports, and create friendships.”