January 7th marks a significant day on the calendar — I Am a Mentor Day, a day dedicated to volunteer mentors to celebrate their impactful roles and reflect on the profound ways their mentees have enriched their world. At Covenant House Vancouver, this day holds special meaning as we acknowledge the dedication and positive influence of our volunteer mentors within our Mentorship Program.
Covenant House Vancouver’s Mentorship Program is a cornerstone of our commitment to providing youth with opportunities to cultivate healthy, trusting, and one-to-one relationships with responsible adults. Our mentors, adult role models who generously volunteer their time, make a year-long commitment to guide and support young individuals to help them achieve their goals.
Celebrating Mentorship with Hannah Garcia
In honour of I Am a Mentor Day, we sat down with Hannah Garcia, a volunteer mentor who has shared her experience within Covenant House Vancouver’s Mentorship Program.
Meet Hannah Garcia, a Vancouver native with a rich history of sports, adventures, and a family of her own. After returning to Whistler/Vancouver 19 years ago with her husband and two children, she found a new purpose in giving back to the community. Volunteering weekly in the Covenant House kitchen and as a mentor, Hannah has become a beacon of support for young individuals who seek opportunities to grow and thrive.
Hannah first learned about Covenant House through her workplace, which makes annual donations to support the organization’s vital initiatives. Intrigued by the prospect of contributing more actively, she explored volunteer opportunities and discovered the Mentorship Program.
Becoming a Mentor
What motivated Hannah to become a mentor? The spark happened when Hannah met Lisa Mendes, Covenant House Vancouver’s Mentorship Coordinator, who introduced her to the Mentorship Program and its profound advantages for youth. Inspired by the potential to make a meaningful difference, Hannah embarked on a journey of mentorship at Covenant House Vancouver.
The Mentoring Experience
For the past year and a half, Hannah has mentored two extraordinary individuals with unique stories. Both escaping a male-dominated culture, the two youth initially faced challenges in adapting to a new life in Canada. Through hiking trips, city explorations, and shared experiences, the trio forged a close relationship, and discovered new holidays, cultures, and perspectives, together.
The changes witnessed in both youth by Hannah are nothing short of remarkable. From facing possible deportation to securing residency, work placements, and independent living, their journey reflects resilience, strength, and perseverance. While financial challenges persist, the youth are thriving, and embody the transformative power of mentorship.
Hannah shares, “Mentorship has opened my eyes and my heart to the youth in this province who face serious challenges. It has given me new awareness of the small dedication we can make in someone else’s life. I am so grateful for my relationship with these youth, and I care about their future greatly.”
With a deep commitment to the well-being and future of her mentees, Hannah plans to continue her mentorship journey. The youth have become an integral part of her life, and her dedication showcases the lasting impact that mentorship can have on both mentors and mentees.
Hannah’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of mentorship at Covenant House Vancouver. Through shared experiences, understanding, and compassion, mentorship becomes a catalyst for positive change in the lives of youth facing homelessness. As we celebrate Hannah’s dedication, we are reminded of the profound impact that mentorship can have on creating brighter futures and empowering lives.