By Anne Russell. The RBC Arts Peer Mentoring program will continue for the 2014/15 academic year at the University of the Fraser Valley, thanks to another generous donation of $20,000 from the RBC Foundation, for a total donation to date of $40,000.
Started in 2012 as a pilot project stemming from support provided by the RBC Foundation, the RBC Arts Peer Mentoring program was renewed as a result of the new grant and positive response from students, both mentors, and those who are mentored (mentees).
Identified by UFV senior academic leaders as an important initiative, the RBC Arts Peer Mentoring program benefits both first-year and upper-level students.
The program pairs senior students with newcomers for support, guidance, and friendship during the critical transition phase into university. Mentors meet with their assigned student on a weekly basis to help them with academic skills such as time management, study skills and note-taking, and to inform them of campus services such as counselling, academic advising, Student Life, and the Writing and Math Centres; they also encourage the mentees to make good program choices and explore career options.
Pilot project results affirm that the model of peer support is needed, valuable, and produces results.
Success indicators for the mentees include:
– Reduced isolation
– Greater confidence and skill related to studying
– Greater ability to problem-solve and seek support when needed
o Grade point averages
o Time management and project planning skills
o Volunteerism and involvement with university.
Mentors benefit too — they engage in a paraprofessional role where they gain the opportunity to increase organizational and leadership skills.
“This semester has been tough, but having my peer mentor helping me through it was wonderful. The transition from high school to university is always a little bumpy,” said first-year student Holly W. “I am so thankful to the RBC Arts Peer Mentor program and for the generous donations of the RBC Foundation.”
“Being a mentee has shown me how the simple acts of organization and talking things through can make an enormous difference in my school work and plans for the future,” said Francesca M.
“UFV gratefully acknowledges the RBC Foundation and thanks them for their continued support of the RBC Arts Peer Mentor program for 2014/15,”said Hilary Beard, director of university advancement. “RBC Foundation continues to make a significant difference in the lives of students, and also should be recognized as a key supporter of education throughout the university, and into the Fraser Valley community.”