This story was originally written by Tommy S. in 2010. Tommy was a Peer Project mentee, and this his “life-changing” story.
When I arrived in Canada almost two years ago, I didn’t know the language, I had no friends, and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever make friends. I was sad. I missed my cousins, my aunts and uncles, and I felt very alone. When I was not at school, I was just sitting at home, longing for company.
One evening, my Father told me he had found a program that would make my little sister and me very happy. The program matches youth (like us) with a peer mentor. A peer mentor is also a young person, but a little older then us. Someone who would become a friend and who would help me with my communication skills.
Arriving home from school one day, my Mom told me that my mentor would arrive soon. I was very excited. I wondered what my mentor, my new best friend, was going to be like. I knew that he would like stuff that I like, because that’s how the program matches us.
We heard a knock on the door. I didn’t know what to do or how to act. Should I act cool? Should I act smart? I figured I didn’t really have a lot of time, so I just decided to be myself. The mentor came in, with a case coordinator from the Peer Project, and they both looked very friendly. We all sat down and my new mentor introduced himself. We discussed our hobbies, what sports we liked, our favorite movies and music, and some of the activities we liked to do.
The next week, my mentor and I met got together for the first time, and played together. We had a lot of fun. He wasn’t upset that my English was not good yet, and he was very patient. A week after that, we went outside and played basketball. We met for three hours every week. One time The Peer Project gave my mentor and myself free tickets to a Toronto Raptors game (we won!). They also gave us theater tickets, and they regularly organized other amazing activities like a photography workshop. In June, me and my family were invited to the annual Peer Project family picnic. It was the best picnic I have ever been to. I met new friends and ate very good hamburgers.
In August, my mentor and I went to the Peer Project Summer Camp, up north in Halliburton. It was the best camp that anyone could wish for, or even imagine. We slept there for two nights in cabins. We played survival games, and went kayaking and canoeing. I think my mentor had even more fun than me! Not all of the kids I met at camp were newcomers like me. They were just kids who wanted friendship and to have fun experiences in the good company of other youth.
I can’t imagine my life in Canada without this program. I get to meet new friends, I don’t feel lonely, and I get to participate in events that I would otherwise not have known about. I highly recommend this program.