PRISM – A Mentoring Connection for the 2SLGBTQIA+ Community in Oxford
by Erica Hughes (she/her) | BBBSOC | Volunteer Recruitment & Engagement Coordinator
PRISM is an innovative mentoring program at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oxford County, that is designed specifically for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and is the first of its kind found locally.
The PRISM program, which stands for Pride, Respect, Identity, Safety and Mentoring, matches children and youth who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+, with an adult mentor who also identifies as 2SLGBTQIA+, in a one-on-one or group mentoring relationship. Through regular outings, the match aims to foster a friendship that is supportive, empowering and fun! Mentors are provided with program specific training and are fully supported by our professionally trained program staff.
The 2SLGBTQIA+ community has a rich legacy of forging informal mentoring networks as a mode of survival. Today, the community has made great strides, yet 2SLGBTQIA+ youth continue to face barriers. Research shows that formal mentoring programs are a powerful, protective factor for this demographic as they develop their own unique sense of self.
Often the relationships that are formed benefit everyone involved, including the mentor themselves! Being a mentor in this program is exciting and rewarding, giving you the opportunity to meet new people in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, while benefiting your own wellbeing and physical health too!
We have 2SLGBTQIA+ youth on our waitlist, hoping for a mentoring relationship. If you would like to learn more, please reach out to Amanda Smyth (she/they), PRISM Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out our website www.bbbsoxford.ca for more information about how you can get involved.