A relatively new program that offers mentorship to young women was started as an online platform by four women in Metro Vancouver who aim to make a difference.
It’s called She Connects, a volunteer initiative that aims to connect young high school women with female graduates, “to foster the exchange of thoughts, dialogues and mentoring synergies,” according to a description of the program on the sheconnects.ca website.
“Through our mentoring program,” explained Surrey resident Avneet Sandhu, “we aim to foster relationships where women can share stories, learn from each other’s experiences and support each other to achieve their personal goals by putting emphasis on mental health.
Sandhu is a co-founder of She Connects, along with Emily Haugen, Meghan Dunn and Leena Parhar, whose mission is to “connect young women by facilitating relationship building, mentoring and knowledge transfer, in order to build community strongest number of empowered women across Canada. . “
The four met in April 2019 as delegates from the Daughters of the Vote in Ottawa, with Sandhu representing the federal riding of Fleetwood-Port Kells. Parhar is from Abbotsford, Haugen from Langley and Dunn, Maple Ridge.
She Connects provides “a safe space for young girls and women, and will allow them to speak directly to a mentor about anything they might need advice on,” note the co-founders. “Our mentors support mentees with the appropriate resources and tools for success and resilience. With this mentoring program, we strive to uplift women and empower them to be the driving force in their own lives.
A launch event was held online on September 12, with guest speakers including MP Grace Lore (Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity), Sarah Heer (Lieutenant Colonel, Canadian Armed Forces), Ruth Mojeed Ramirez ( Head of Equity, The Inclusion Project), Jodi Huettner (Founder, CEO of Helga Wear), Leanne Walsh (Employment Lawyer, West Coast Workplace Law) and Danielle Hofer (Outreach Officer, Women’s Enterprise Center).
So far, nearly two dozen mentees have signed up for She Connects, and more students are needed at local high schools.
“A lot of our mentors are in graduate school and study disciplines that our mentees study,” noted Sandhu, who lives in the Fleetwood area, graduated from Princess Margaret High School in 2014, is an alumnus of the ‘Simon Fraser University and now works for the Federal Department of Defense.
“We have more mentors than mentees right now,” Sandhu added, “and it’s about connecting with girls and getting the word out, on social media and elsewhere. I literally put up posters in my neighborhood mailboxes.
For more details, visit facebook.com/sheconnectscanada or click sheconnects.ca.