After high school, Preeti, like many, felt the pressure to go to university without really knowing what she wanted to become. At school, she decided to become a teacher, but after volunteering at schools, she realized the job wasn’t for her.
“After university, I did some soul searching,” Pretti said.
Preeti struck out in many directions trying to find a line work that fit with her desire to do public outreach but also got her out into the community.
Preeti volunteered with The Peer Project, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and with a women’s shelter. She also worked a security job (to get a feel of policing work) at Mount Sanai Hospital and now works at a bank. It was working at the hospital where she found her spark.
“Working in the hospital and working in health care was so incredibly rewarding – I loved being part of a team that was able to help other people,” Pretti said.
Preeti is now enrolled in a program to become a paramedic.
When Pretti found The Peer Project, she thought back to her younger days and how she had wanted a mentor.
She really liked The Peer Project’s customized process of matching mentors with kids in need.
“They take the time to get to know you so that you are matched with the right person – so that it is an equally rewarding process for both parties,” Preeti said.
Preeti is a go-getter, but someone who has worked hard to get where she is today.
Starting Out Different
Preeti’s family immigrated to Canada when she was three, but she returned to India for grades one and two. Upon her return to Canada, she became acutely aware she was different.
“I knew what it was like to be a newcomer to the country,” Preeti said.
She returned to Canada not being able to speak the language and dressed differently than her peers. She was put in the English as a Second Language class and struggled with the education style of her new school.
“I knew what it was like to be made fun of, to be different from everybody else, what it felt like to not understand a different culture and how to speak to people,” Preeti said.
Equipped with those experiences, Preeti has helped her Peer Project mentee adapt, integrate and grow. For 6 months, Preeti tutored her Mentee in English, doing vocabulary and structure exercises.
“When her English improved she started gaining more friends and she really started blossoming,” Preeti said. “From that point onwards, we started becoming friends and our time together became less structured.”
Preeti’s Second Family
Preeti and her mentee have been together for almost two years and Preeti considers her mentee’s family to be like a “second family” who she has “learned so much from.” Preeti has also helped mediate issues between her mentee and her mentee’s mother.
Preeti has found the added responsibility of being a mentor a rewarding challenge.
“Having someone that looks up to you, it makes you re-evaluate your life choices – she has helped me a lot when it comes to managing my time, being able to make sacrifices and make the right decisions.”