The Mentoring Plus Strategy is a 4-year pilot project in Nova Scotia that taps the immense knowledge of retirees as a resource to mentor people 16+ to improve their lives and career paths while reducing the social isolation of seniors. The strategy is being supported by the Municipalities of Kentville, New Glasgow, and Truro in collaboration with Dalhousie University’s College of Continuing Education as the backbone organization. The project is being funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors program with the goal of helping seniors stay happy and healthy and engaged in their communities while contributing to the well-being of society. Many regions in Nova Scotia are facing issues related to the changing nature of work, a greater number of retirees, increasing health care costs, and a reduced labour force, to name a few. The Mentoring Plus Strategy is attempting to address these issues. It’s a win-win – connecting expert advice with those who need it while helping retirees thrive – visit mentoringplus.ca to learn more.
Recent article from The Mentoring Plus Strategy (March 2021)
KENTVILLE/NEW GLASGOW/TRURO – It has been a full year since The Mentoring Plus Strategy launched. Despite the challenges of living and working through a pandemic, the project’s team has continued to forge on and adapt to successfully meet and exchange knowledge with retirees.
“The Minister of Seniors for the federal government visited Nova Scotia in February 2020 and announced the project funding. Work started with the collaborating organizations (New Glasgow, Truro, and Kentville),” said Geralyn MacDonald, The Mentoring Plus Strategy Assistant Director (and Coordinator for New Glasgow/Pictou County). “When the pandemic hit in March, we knew we had to shift our thinking and also develop a virtual model. We see this as a silver lining as now there are two models for anyone who wants to get involved. Meeting virtually gave us that opportunity to meet retirees in the comfort of their homes and explain the benefits of sharing their knowledge and life experiences. As Covid-19 restrictions lifted, we were able to follow pandemic protocols and bring retired people together and begin the group mentoring sessions.”
The Mentoring Plus Strategy is a 4-year project funded by the Federal Government’s Department of Seniors through the New Horizons for Seniors program; While the government’s support is aimed at helping seniors stay happy and healthy and involved in their communities, the project’s benefits are two-fold, also providing mentees with valuable advice to boost the success of their lives and careers.
“Covid-19 may have shifted the way we implement The Mentoring Plus Strategy, but it most certainly hasn’t stopped it,” said Sacha Brake, The Mentoring Plus Strategy Coordinator (Truro/Colchester). “As a team, we’ve figured out new ways to connect with our seniors and retirees by hosting virtual orientation sessions. We’ve also laid a lot of ground work in spearheading groups of retirees who have interest and experience in helping specific sectors grow and overcome challenges. It’s so exciting to see these people with such a depth and breadth of life and work experience come together to help improve our province’s tourism, business, arts and culture, health, and agriculture sectors. Our specific groups are also looking at ways to support literacy, crime prevention, non-profit work and the trades. This work is rewarding as we support individuals, sectors, communities, and also help seniors stay connected.”
The Mentoring Plus Strategy was the brainchild of Gordon Michael who works for the project’s backbone organization, Dalhousie University College of Continuing Education, which partnered with the collaborating municipalities of Kentville, New Glasgow, and Truro, to work in the counties surrounding these towns. Michael observed the growing number of retirees in our communities, who had a lot to share from their work/life experiences. Building upon this concept, pilot projects were developed and implemented, leading to The Mentoring Plus Strategy. “As people retire, they still want to do something, they often just don’t know what,” said Michael, who spearheaded The Mentoring Plus Strategy and sees immense growth in the project with approximately 40 seniors already involved. “The part that I find great is that the retirees are getting really excited about this.”
Glenn Williams, a mentor in Pictou County, says he is enjoying the experience of mentoring. ”It is an opportunity to give something back because this community and this province have been good to me over my career. It’s also a chance to keep me active as well, to keep me using some of the things I’ve learned over the years and make them available to others.” Williams has been helping entrepreneurs with the experience he gained throughout his career as a Chartered Accountant, “It’s kind of a two-way street really; I’m very optimistic about the future, that we, as a group, can help some people grow their business. That’s the real fun of it!”
Kori Levy is a recent addition to the team serving the Kentville and Kings County area and is excited about the impact mentoring can have on both the individuals who share their talents and wisdom and the people and sectors who will benefit from that knowledge. “The Mentoring Plus Strategy has pathways to participate in both large and small ways, online and in person, through individual and group conversation or even one-on-one mentoring,” said Kori Levy, The Mentoring Plus Strategy Coordinator (Kentville/Kings). It values the wisdom of experience and can open doors into the realities of what life would be like in that field of employment through the sharing of a senior mentor or retiree. “
The Mentoring Plus Strategy continues to reach out to retirees and is holding orientations virtually; anyone interested in learning more about mentoring is invited to contact the coordinator in their area. In the Kings County area, contact Kori at (902) 679-2514, in Pictou County contact Geralyn at (902) 755-5299, and in Colchester contact Sacha at (902) 324-1040.