interVivos recognizes the importance of supporting one another in creating a sense of belonging for all—which is why we strive to create programs and events that can help build this sense in the Edmonton community.
In Fall 2020, we launched our very first mentorship program to showcase Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) volunteer mentors. There are unique challenges and opportunities associated with being a BIPOC professional in Edmonton. One of our Fall 2020 Mentors, Keenan Pascal, recently shared about his own challenges in an Edmonton Journal article, “A lot of times you’re like the only Black guy in the room in a lot of these professional circles. It’s just (the) reality. In the beginning, you’re a little shyer, you’re a little, like, ‘Nobody looks like me,’ they don’t have the same background to connect. It kind of forced me to quickly evolve in terms of having to be more outgoing. I can’t sit in the back and be the quiet Black guy. You’ve got to put your hand up and get noticed.”
interVivos endeavours to create a safe space for our participants to share these experiences. For our BIPOC program, we recognized that some of our mentors and protégés may wish to discuss the challenges of being BIPOC or may simply want to learn more about these experiences. We welcomed this critical dialogue and even created a unique BIPOC Resources List for our program participants to help them get more informed, find additional support, or connect with other community organizations engaging in these critical conversations.
One volunteer mentor shared about the safe space that interVivos created: “Really impressed with how this process rolled out and the thought and intention behind it. It is great to see the board, already a very diverse group of young women, driven to take diversity and inclusion training to ensure the program addresses any potential power mishap. I’ve personally been in networking and mentorship events/programs where mentors grossly abused their position given the stage and power dynamics that were intentionally set up to be highly imbalanced. Not once did I feel uncomfortable, and I did feel everyone was valued and appreciated, whether they are mentors or protéges”.
At interVivos, we desire to put the utmost care and attention into our programs and events to empower the next generation of leaders. We continue to do this by engaging with the community, participating in training, and sharing our resources with Edmontonians like you. If you have ideas for other resources to include or have something you’d like to teach us, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to connect with you!