September 27, 2012

Volunteer and Have FUN

Kapatid In-School Mentorship Program 2012-13
by Rix Reyes

It was six years ago when I first attended a school in Canada. I could still remember how difficult it was to adapt to an entirely different school environment. I knew no one, and the format of classes was confusing. I was struggling until ANAK’s Kapatid In-school Mentorship Program came. The program helped me get back on track, and I ended up graduating high school with honours, scholarships and awards.
The mentorship program played a big part in my success and where I am today – the last year of my Nursing degree at the University of Manitoba. Without the help of the program, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to establish my goals. It helped me improve my self-esteem to interact with others and familiarized me with the new school system. It also made me aware of the cultural differences that exist in school.
With the influx of Filipino newcomers still on the rise, I figured I’d help them the same way ANAK’s program helped me. While attending university, I also volunteered as a mentor. Being a mentor made me realize that the program was mutually beneficial to the mentor and the mentee as well. I continued to learn more about my new Filipino-Canadian identity. My fellow mentors also became my friends, and we were able to bond and hang out a lot. And most of all, there was a rewarding feeling knowing that somehow I can and made an impact on other people’s lives.
ANAK’s Kapatid Mentorship program is aimed at welcoming newcomer youth to this Canadian school system with as much ease as possible. The program has also been a cultural bridge between the first and second generation of Filipino-Canadian youth. This mentor-mentee cultural exchange is facilitated by various socio-cultural activities that happen throughout the school year. As the name of the program suggests, I, as a mentor, became their kapatid, their sibling. As an older sibling-figure, I looked out for my siblings to make sure that they cope well not only in school but in other socio-cultural aspects as well.
ANAK’s Kapatid In-School Mentorship program is now on its 7th year. I see how the program progressed and how it continues to be successful. From being a participant of the program, to becoming a mentor, to being a member of ANAK’s mentorship committee and this year’s chair, I have high hopes and big dreams for the program. With your help as a volunteer for the Kapatid program, we hope to extend our reach and make this year a success.
So why volunteer? Well, it’s one way of having fun while making a difference in the community.
Rix Reyes is a member of ANAK. 

Become an ANAK Mentor! Click to learn how!