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!

We Asked Our Scholarship Winners: How could schools assist young people in becoming active in their communities?

Since the 2000/2001 school year, Prime Mentor of Canada has awarded scholarships to the most outstanding students upon the completion of their PMC project. Over the years, we’ve checked in with scholarship winners at different stages of their education and careers. In this post, we share their answers to the question: How could schools assist young people in becoming active in their communities?

Glothen, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: Young people become active when they are enjoying what they are doing. So, in order for them to contribute to the community, I think we should get them occupied in various activities such as fundraisers, fairs, etc. Also, we can start up clubs in which they can try and get them active within their communities in a way that seems appealing to them (e.g. different sports clubs).

Samantha, 2001/2002 scholarship winner: Schools could help youth in becoming more active in their communities by announcing various events and activities that are available for participation. – Samantha participated in community events with her fellow classmates such as the Angel Foundation for Learning Fun Walk.

Jamuna, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: I think schools should focus less on the number of hours students need to volunteer but more so the impact the volunteering has had on the student. Quality of the time spent volunteering should be weighed more than the quantity. Inspire students to do more meaningful volunteering.

Priyanga, 2003/2004 scholarship winner: The most important aspect needed for schools to assist young people in becoming active in their communities is encouragement. Young people should become aware that they will have the support of their schools in whatever endeavours they take part in.

Glothen, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: Young people become active when they are enjoying what they are doing. So, in order for them to contribute to the community, I think we should get them occupied in various activities such as fundraisers, fairs, etc. Also, we can start up clubs in which they can try and get them active within their communities in a way that seems appealing to them (e.g. different sports clubs).

Nasif, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: Schools should have programmes that involve kids and the community. The community and the school can work together to create programmes that kids will be interested in and will also be food for the community. Programmes such as gardening in the community, cleaning the community, help plan community events and help around the community.


To learn more about our scholarship winners, sponsor or donate towards a scholarship, or learn more about our program, please visit the Prime Mentors of Canada website. To read more from our scholarship winners, please subscribe to this blog!

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.

PMC Alumni Season’s Get Together

 

Right before the first winter storm of the season, Prime Mentors of Canada alumni gathered to explore the topic of mentorship, discuss the future of PMC, catch up on life, and share some sweet treats! A great time for everyone who could make it!

Are you a PMC alumni? Please contact PMC anytime to connect with fellow alumni and to learn more about what is happening with PMC now!

PMC Season's Greetings

We Asked Our Scholarship Winners: What was the impact of receiving the PMC scholarship on you and/or your family?

Since the 2000/2001 school year, Prime Mentor of Canada has awarded scholarships to the most outstanding students upon the completion of their PMC project. Over the years, we’ve checked in with a few scholarship winners to ask them the question: What was the impact of receiving the PMC scholarship on you and/or your family?

Nasif, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: Receiving the PMC scholarship gave me confidence and encouragement so I could achieve this kind of achievement again… For my family and me it was a happy moment that I got the scholarship. It was also a sign for my family that I am capable of doing good. I am looking forward to achieve more goals.

Carly, 2001/2002 scholarship winner: I received the PMC scholarship when I was graduating from elementary school. At the time, I wasn’t the top student in my grade and lacked the confidence to believe that I could excel in high school. The scholarship encouraged me and provided the motivation to do well in high school… Furthermore, the PMC scholarship provided me with the reassurance that there would be a way to fund my post-secondary education… The generosity of the donors allowed me to witness firsthand a society giving back to younger generations… I would be honoured to sponsor a PMC scholarship for a student in the future.

Jannie, 2002/2003 scholarship winner: Receiving the PMC scholarship taught me that hard work and determination are important qualities to recognize in the process of obtaining a goal even though it may seem impossible to achieve. It has encouraged me to mentor and tutor others with the purpose of sharing the invaluable knowledge, which I have gained through the PMC mentoring program.

Jamuna, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: The PMC scholarship encouraged and motivated me to pursue post-secondary education.

Menal, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: The impact of receiving the PMC scholarship on me has been so amazing. It’s given me the confidence and encouragement to strive for more and work my best. It has been a huge financial help as secondary education can cost a lot of money.

***

To learn more about our scholarship winners, sponsor or donate towards a scholarship, or learn more about our program, please visit the Prime Mentors of Canada website. To read more from our scholarship winners, please subscribe to this blog!

 

Throwback Thursday! Toronto Star features PMC in 1988

PMC Toronto Star 12061988 SS1
From the Toronto Star Tuesday, December 6, 1988: The Hon. Pauline McGibbons and Professor Conchita Tan-Willman with volunteer mentor Jack Jacobs and protégé Curtis Chambers on the cover of section SS.
PMC Toronto Star 12061988 SS3
From the Toronto Star Tuesday, December 6, 1988: Mentors come to classroom

Nearly 27 years ago Prime Mentors of Canada was featured for the first time (but not the last) in the Toronto Star. Although PMC has come a long way since the article was published, and a lot has changed in education through the years, one thing that remains the same is the need to match volunteer mentors with students. These matches produce a “creative symbiosis” that benefit the young students and the talented volunteers.

To volunteer or learn more, please visit the Prime Mentors of Canada website.

 

Protégé Profile: Meet Collin

An avid tennis player who loves to learn, Collin often finds himself balancing athletics with academic pursuits. He is vibrant, wise, and recently started sixth grade at a new school. Last year, Collin completed a Prime Mentors of Canada project with his volunteer mentor, Professor Guy Hamel. Their topic? The rather intricate subject of genetics. In this post, we catch up with Collin as he shares his thoughts on  genetics, presentations, and the importance of trusting others.

deoxyribonucleic-acidWhy Genetics?

Collin became interested in genetics after reading about the topic in the library. He’s fascinated by the idea that genes determine “the characteristics of yourself [not just] when you’re born, but also your future”.

About His Project

Evolution and adaptation, plant evolution, heredity, and chromosomes are just some of the topics in genetics that Collin researched with Professor Hamel.  Early in the project, Collin recognized that the topic would be challenging since “genetics is a very complicated subject. Every day something new comes up.”  Collin was able to explore some of these developments since Professor Hamel would bring in news items for them to discuss.

Working with a Mentor

The aspect of the project Collin found most enjoyable was the opportunity to work with a mentor. “Everybody in this world has something to learn. If you take time to share things, most of the time, it makes you understand and that helps you be wise.”

Collin’s advice for any student starting a PMC project is to “put trust in their mentors.” Cooperating and putting trust in each other will make the project better and help the presentation go smoothly.

Collin and Professor Guy Hamel
Collin and Professor Guy Hamel

Presentation Time!

Every PMC project wraps up with a presentation. Collin likes presentations and thinks it’s important to start practicing at a young age. For his presentation, Collin wanted to take the information he learned about genetics and then “shorten and simplify”.  He wanted to make sure he would be understood easily and that the presentation would be interactive.

Professor Hamel helped Collin work towards the presentation from early on by providing reflective questions. He also guided Collin through the process of setting a goal for the presentation and structuring his presentation to achieve that goal.

Collin presented to his Grade 5 class on April 16th. It was so successful that he was invited to present to Grade 4 students in June. For his work, Collin was awarded the Prime Mentors of Canada Conchita Tan-Willman Scholarship.

Life Outside Academics

Collin describes his experience with PMC as “a big thing that has happened in my life” but it’s far from his only achievement this year. In August, Collin played in the Mini Rogers Cup for under-12 tennis players and won first place in the boys’ doubles competition. This awarded Collin the chance to play his peers at Centre Court at the Rogers Cup ahead of a professional match.

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A Message from Collin to Professor Hamel

To wrap up this post, Collin wants to share a message for his mentor, Professor Guy Hamel:

“It’s been an honour to work with you. Thank you very much. I don’t know how I would have gotten through without you.”


Visit the Prime Mentors of Canada website to learn more about our protégés or how you can get involved!

Prime Mentors Community Building Project Grants – Highlights from Spring 2015!

During our annual Prime Mentors Youth Leadership Conference this year, participants were asked to consider ways that they could make a difference in their school communities. They are then asked to work with others in their schools, with the support of a staff member, and develop an action plan that has the potential to improve school life for students in the school. These projects are intended to be short term (completed during the spring term) and Prime Mentors of Canada awards up to $150 to fund each project.

Here are three highlights from the projects that were undertaken this spring!

Anti-Bullying Club
Two grade 6 girls proposed to address the problem of bullying at school. They started an anti-bullying club to encourage a core of committed students to take initiatives to stamp out bullying. Activity days and special assemblies were planned. The club provides a way to help students speak up about bullying issues and hence reduce the problem

Bagels & Business Experience
Two grade 6 boys noticed that students at their school often had lunches delivered late during lunchtime, resulting in little time to eat. They partnered with local restaurants to have bagels and cream cheese delivered on certain days which would be available for sale. The two boys gained business experience while providing a convenient lunch option for their schoolmates.

Bake Sale to Support Ronald McDonald House
Students at one school applied for a grant to fund a current project that involved organizing a bake sale to contribute to Ronald McDonald House. The money was used to purchase baking supplies. In addition to raising money for Ronald McDonald House, we’re sure the community enjoyed the homemade baked goods as well!

Please visit our website to learn more about other Prime Mentor of Canada initiatives or to donate.