Afia and Safiyya

In this post, longtime Prime Mentors of Canada volunteer mentor, Guy Hamel, shares a note about his 2015-2016 protégés Afia and Safiyya from Thorncliffe Junior Public School.

Originally, I met with each of the girls separately to discuss possible topics and approaches to the research that would be involved. I knew that the two were classmates and close friends. I met with the two together with the notion that each could, once the separate presentations were close to completion, step in as an assistant. I had worked with such arrangements a few times in the past. However, during that initial meeting I realized that the two were extremely congenial, worked together intimately as a team, offered advice, challenged suggestions, were remarkably creative. Their enthusiasm as workmates was an irresistible asset; and I recognized that we should meet together, each of the girls taking a turn as presenter and assistant.

The topics chosen—Safiyya on The Human Brain and Afia on The Human Immune System—were extremely challenging. The presenters realized that they had to demonstrate rather than relate the information they wished to share with their audience. Thy found ways to involve their listeners. They invented what they called “skits”—dramatic interchanges between the two of them—to make certain points, as in demonstrating the cognitive process in decision making from prefrontal cortex to the amygdala and back to the reasoning function to invoke rationalization. They were clever, engaging, and successful.

The result of the project for me was an extremely happy association with my young colleagues; the result for them was to receive scholarships for the outstanding quality of their presentation.

Guy Hamel
Mentor, PMC

Congratulations to Afia and Safiyya and Guy on a job well done!

2015-2016 PMC Afia (left) and Safiyya
Prime Mentors of Canada 2015-2016 Scholarship Winners Afia A. and Safiyya I.
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PMC Volunteer Mentor Appreciation Luncheon 2016

With another successful year under the belt, July was a time for Prime Mentors of Canada to celebrate! On July 12th PMC gathered to celebrate the work of volunteer mentors during the 2015-2016 school year. As Program Director Barbara Worth and School Coordinator Murray Greenwood noted,

Prime Mentors of Canada appreciates the work that all of our Mentors do to support the creative development of their protégés.  Over a period of months you work side by side with students, making sure they are able to achieve their goals in developing their projects, and then supporting them through the presentation process.

The luncheon was a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to meet each other and to celebrate the work of their protégés. Not to mention, it was an opportunity to share our stories over a delicious meal at the elegant University of Toronto Faculty Club.

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In Praise of Mentors Concert

May 8th, 2016
Great Hall, Hart House, University of Toronto

Led by Kerry Stratton, Conductor
In Praise of Mentors
Pianist Thomas Torok & Friends

What a wonderful concert it was…

Honouring mentors, especially the Prime Mentors of Canada (PMC) volunteer mentors, who have contributed tremendously in the personal and academic growth of bright young people who are at risk of not developing their full potential!

Thomas Torok
In Praise of Mentors: Pianist Thomas Torok & Friends (photos from concert programme)

The eighteen year old pianist, Thomas Torok, completely took away the breath of the audience for his awesome rendition of Chopin’s Scherzo No. 2, Op. 31 and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.6, S244. Equally superlative was the performance of Andrew Chan who made the harp sing so melodiously with the gentle grace and elegance of the touch of his fingers. The delightful musical programme was complemented so very well by Sharon Lee, an accomplished violinist, and the Odin Quartet.

The Prime Mentors of Canada extends its warmest appreciation to the Toronto Concert Orchestra for organizing the event and for dedicating it to mentors on Mother’s Day, invariably everyone’s first mentors, and for raising the awareness of people in the community about PMC and it’s Vision-Mission.

More photos from the event to come!

PMC founder speaks to alumni about Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

Six Hats Green on top

During the PMC Alumni Season’s Get Together in December, PMC founder Professor Conchita Tan-Willman spoke to alumni about employing Edward de Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” before making major decisions in our lives and in meeting personal and professional challenges.

In this post, Tan-Willman provides a brief introduction to the topic.

One of the best ways to maximize our thinking prowess in meeting challenges is to learn some tools to be able to direct the different thinking modes in different directions at will. The fullest use of our intelligence, experience and knowledge is made possible by sensitizing it in various aspects of an issue at different times. When we try to do many things at the same time, the result is suboptimal. Confusion is the biggest result when our focus is divided into many facets of a challenge simultaneously.

Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats provides a simple, constructive, creative and practical guide to parallel thinking that guides in harnessing specific, concrete and practical results as we explore the various angles of any issue/challenge clearly one aspect at a time. The thinker is guided to think about “what can be” not just about “what is”.

Each of the thinking mode is represented by a colored hat for easy visualization and imaging of the actual thinking hats. Each is related to specific functions.

  1. White Hat: Neutral and objective. Concerned with objective facts and figures.
  2. Red Hat: Gives the emotional viewpoint. Subjective.
  3. Yellow Hat: Sunny and optimistic. Positive and covers hope.
  4. Black Hat: Somber, cautious and careful. Points out the danger, weaknesses in an idea.
  5. Green Hat: Indicates creativity … new ideas, possibilities and alternatives.
  6. Blue Hat: Provides an overview/summary of the issue at hand and plans the layout of what should be happening. Controls process sequencing like a music conductor. Calls on particular hats for inputs on the subject.

The method could be used by a person by her/himself or by a group in formal or informal setting.