KENTVILLE/NEW GLASGOW/TRURO – It has been a full year since The Mentoring Plus Strategy launched. Despite the challenges of living and working through a pandemic, the project’s team has continued to forge on and adapt to successfully meet and exchange knowledge with retirees.
“The Minister of Seniors for the federal government visited Nova Scotia in February 2020 and announced the project funding. Work started with the collaborating organizations (New Glasgow, Truro, and Kentville),” said Geralyn MacDonald, The Mentoring Plus Strategy Assistant Director (and Coordinator for New Glasgow/Pictou County). “When the pandemic hit in March, we knew we had to shift our thinking and also develop a virtual model. We see this as a silver lining as now there are two models for anyone who wants to get involved. Meeting virtually gave us that opportunity to meet retirees in the comfort of their homes and explain the benefits of sharing their knowledge and life experiences. As Covid-19 restrictions lifted, we were able to follow pandemic protocols and bring retired people together and begin the group mentoring sessions.”
The Mentoring Plus Strategy is a 4-year project funded by the Federal Government’s Department of Seniors through the New Horizons for Seniors program; While the government’s support is aimed at helping seniors stay happy and healthy and involved in their communities, the project’s benefits are two-fold, also providing mentees with valuable advice to boost the success of their lives and careers.
“Covid-19 may have shifted the way we implement The Mentoring Plus Strategy, but it most certainly hasn’t stopped it,” said Sacha Brake, The Mentoring Plus Strategy Coordinator (Truro/Colchester). “As a team, we’ve figured out new ways to connect with our seniors and retirees by hosting virtual orientation sessions. We’ve also laid a lot of groundwork in spearheading groups of retirees who have an interest and experience in helping specific sectors grow and overcome challenges. It’s so exciting to see these people with such a depth and breadth of life and work experience come together to help improve our province’s tourism, business, arts and culture, health, and agriculture sectors. Our specific groups are also looking at ways to support literacy, crime prevention, non-profit work and the trades. This work is rewarding as we support individuals, sectors, communities, and also help seniors stay connected.”
The Mentoring Plus Strategy was the brainchild of Gordon Michael who works for the project’s backbone organization, Dalhousie University College of Continuing Education, which partnered with the collaborating municipalities of Kentville, New Glasgow, and Truro, to work in the counties surrounding these towns. Michael observed the growing number of retirees in our communities, who had a lot to share from their work/life experiences. Building upon this concept, pilot projects were developed and implemented, leading to The Mentoring Plus Strategy. “As people retire, they still want to do something, they often just don’t know what,” said Michael, who spearheaded The Mentoring Plus Strategy and sees immense growth in the project with approximately 40 seniors already involved. “The part that I find great is that the retirees are getting really excited about this.”
Glenn Williams, a mentor in Pictou County, says he is enjoying the experience of mentoring. ”It is an opportunity to give something back because this community and this province have been good to me over my career. It’s also a chance to keep me active as well, to keep me using some of the things I’ve learned over the years and make them available to others.” Williams has been helping entrepreneurs with the experience he gained throughout his career as a Chartered Accountant, “It’s kind of a two-way street really; I’m very optimistic about the future, that we, as a group, can help some people grow their business. That’s the real fun of it!”
Kori Levy is a recent addition to the team serving the Kentville and Kings County area and is excited about the impact mentoring can have on both the individuals who share their talents and wisdom and the people and sectors who will benefit from that knowledge. “The Mentoring Plus Strategy has pathways to participate in both large and small ways, online and in-person, through individual and group conversation or even one-on-one mentoring,” said Kori Levy, The Mentoring Plus Strategy Coordinator (Kentville/Kings). It values the wisdom of experience and can open doors into the realities of what life would be like in that field of employment through the sharing of a senior mentor or retiree. “
The Mentoring Plus Strategy continues to reach out to retirees and is holding orientations virtually; anyone interested in learning more about mentoring is invited to contact the coordinator in their area. In the Kings County area, contact Kori at (902) 679-2514, in Pictou County contact Geralyn at (902) 755-5299, and in Colchester contact Sacha at (902) 324-1040.
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Media Contact: Terri Mingo, The Mentoring Plus Strategy Communications Consultant, (902) 324-2251
BROADCAST COPY - Covid-19 may have slowed down a project to connect experienced seniors with people in need of mentorship, but it has not stopped it. One year into the project, it has been launched in all three regions surrounding the towns of Kentville, New Glasgow, and Truro. Approximately 40 retirees are involved already having taken part in orientations that were held in New Glasgow. In response to covid-19 restrictions, the team developed a virtual orientation model that has been held in Truro and will now provide information on mentoring to retirees from all three regions. The strategy is working with Nova Scotia’s tourism, business, arts and culture, health, and agriculture sectors. Specific groups of retirees are also looking at ways to support literacy, crime prevention, non-profit work and the trades. The Mentoring Plus Strategy is a 4-year project funded by Ottawa through the New Horizons for Seniors Program. The Strategy’s benefits are two-fold, helping retirees stay involved in their communities and helping “mentees” with valuable advice to boost their careers.