Posted: 03/16/2011 11:01 AM
(Courtesy Winnipeg Free Press)
Daphne Jalique says a Filipino youth mentorship program in desperate need of more mentors provided her with the guidance and support she needed to navigate high school life.
"Without the ANAK Kapatid program, I certainly wouldn’t have had as clear a path through high school," Jalique said.
For this 22-year-old, the path has led to the University of Manitoba, where she is in her fourth year of a biochemistry degree with an eye on graduate work. The downtown resident is also a mentor with ANAK.
The program is designed for Filipino youth who are newcomers to Winnipeg school systems. It runs each Wednesday evening at Daniel McIntyre School in the West End and cannot take on any more students.
Executive director Daisydee Bautista says while it is common for former students to return to the fold as mentors, the program is in constant need of more.
"We are always in need. We are at capacity here," she said.
While the program is based on one-to-one support with a mentor and student, this year marked a change for the program.
"We’re providing more life-skills development to students such as leadership and relationship advice," said Bautista.
Andrew Aviso, a West End resident who was one of the program’s original mentors when it launched in 2006, said he was glad to see the popularity of the program rise.
"Word of it gets out to the student population much more than it did five years ago," he said.
For another current mentor and former student, North End resident Ricardo Reyes, the program was key in helping with his schooling.
"When I first arrived in Winnipeg, learning was a different situation because I was in a new learning environment," he said.
"Many students find their first year of classes in a new country extra tough," he said.
Since 2006, the mentorship program has expanded from Daniel McIntyre and Wellington Elementary School to include students from schools such as Sisler High School.
However Bautista said that without further support both from schools and community volunteers, the program couldn’t grow beyond the approximately 50 students currently being mentored.
"The demand is so great," she said.
For more information about the program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org