Adriaan spent his youth moving between countries, getting to know different cultures and school systems.
Adriann was born in the Netherlands to Canadian parents. His father ran his own business and travelled a lot throughout Europe. Adrian says his childhood was spent in a great country with great parents; “the Netherlands is a very child friendly country”.
When he became a teen, Adriaan and his family were on the move; first to the United Kingdom for high school, and then on to Canada. The family stayed close and tight-knit despite the challenges of putting down new roots in different places.
Adriaan graduated high school in the U.K., but because of his age when he moved to Canada he was required to return to high school. He felt very out of place. The Dutch school system had been a dialogue and feedback-based system between teacher and student, but things were different in Canada.
“It was more the model of being taught at,” says Adriaan. “Being a student, it was a bit of a challenge.”
After high school, Adriaan moved around the Greater Toronto Area and settled in Scarborough, and got a job working for Bell Canada. He fills his spare time with reading, home repairs, board games, hiking, biking, riding his motor bike and building things.
As a Peer Project mentor, Adriaan takes his diverse interests, and his worldly experiences from hopping between cultures, and shares them with his mentee.
“We found an old BMX bike that was out on garbage night and the owner said we could have it and we have restored it together,” said Adriaan. “We had a lot of fun and he learned a few technical things.”
“It gave him another way to have fun beyond a typical video game,” Adriaan said. The duo are very active, and spend a lot of time skateboarding, swimming, BMXing, or playing basketball and tennis.
Adriaan also has a lot of fun taken his mentee on fishing trips to Lake Simcoe. They first went fishing together at The Peer Project’s Summer Camp last year. “He caught about 10 fish in an hour and he loved it,” said Adriaan.
“He is a great kid to spend time with; he has a lot of personality,” says Adriaan. “It is very rewarding doing fun things with him.”
The experience of being a mentor has also given Adriaan a “great perspective on what is important” and what he wants from life.
“The impact of being a mentor for me has helped frame things I might otherwise take for granted; something as simple as having access to leave the city and spend times in the outdoors,” said Adriaan. “Mentoring is a great way to lead by example and follow a road to continued self improvement.”