Youth Peer & Outreach
"The little program with a big heart"
Youth Peer & Outreach is a program that hums. Visiting one of the centres is like stepping into a beautifully functioning family. For youth clients, university, college and high school volunteers, junior and senior staff, management partners, and administrators, it is an enriching and nurturing place to be.
What is now called Youth Peer began in 1998 when EPIC adopted the program
from Island Community Justice. It has evolved and thrived to become a community
institution serving hundreds of families every year while also providing valuable job
and life experience for the young volunteer/mentors.
In 2016, with on-going funding from Nova Scotia Education and Early Childhood,
and in partnership with Schools Plus, Outreach became a reality with Youth Peer
serving additional communities: New Waterford, Glace Bay and Northside.
In the 2022-2023 school year, EPIC--with generous donations from private and corporate donors--responded
to the needs of three more communities, opening one-day-a-week Outreach centres in Whitney Pier, Iona and--as a first on the Nova Scotia Mainland--Sackville.
To sum up in a sentence what can truly only be experienced: Youth Peer provides a supportive place for at-risk youth, ages 8 – 18, to be tutored and mentored by volunteers who are close to their age. It is this relationship—youth and peer mentor—that sparks the magic that happens here.
After an hour of one-on-one tutoring, the magic continues into the second hour with social mentoring, guitar instruction, creative art projects, and educational games.
Socializing with university and high school mentors, staff, and other youth is a big part of the learning process for clients. Young people want to come back because they know they are welcomed and accepted unconditionally as “part of the family.”
An award-winning, free, after-school program with peer tutoring/mentoring by high school, college or university volunteers for the first hour and educational games, workshops, art, or music instruction in the second hour.
Kids 8-18 who have been referred
by a partner agency
WHERE and WHEN
All programs run from
late September to early June
290 Whitney Ave.
downstairs from the Adult High School
3-6 PM Monday - Friday
Memorial High School, Sydney Mines
3-5 PM, Mondays
Memorial Middle School
3-5 PM, Mondays
Breton Education Center
Oceanview Education Centre
Boys and Girls Club, Sackville, NS
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Barry Waldman
PROGRAM DIRECTOR: Delores Feltmate
VOLUNTEERS COORDINATOR: Kendrick Miller
OUTREACH COORDINATORS: Anna George, Sam Fernandez, Aria Bernard, Elizabeth Broderick
EDUCATOR: Ann Pentecost
ARTS INSTRUCTOR: Susanne Donovan
MUSIC INSTRUCTOR Emile Conn
PROGRAM ASSISTANTS: Olivia MacDonald, Darcy MacLeod, Kendall Miller, Caroline Wall, Daniel McAllister, Colin Fraser, Lemuela Ajuwon, Riley Gardiner, Emma Clark, Adlie Leviten-Reid
[not all are pictured]
1st Hour: Tutoring
One-on-one academic tutoring takes place during the first hour. The matched student/tutor quietly work on whatever that client most needs. Experience has shown that the student benefits more from the attention and caring of their peer mentor than from a sole focus on academics. The rooms during that first hour are calm and organized. Our Educator provides grade-based resources to support the student-tutor pair.
2nd Hour: Mentoring
Our volunteers stay with their student for this hour. Nutritional snacks are shared and the kids enjoy the company of their older friend while doing creative activities, art and musical instruction, educational games and just plain fun. This casual time together increases the bond between student and peer which benefits the youth's social-emotional growth and self-confidence. The volunteers also benefit immensely in learning about their own capabilities. Many come back year after year because the experience is so rewarding.
original ‘bird/book’ Youth Peer logo by Blake MacLean, former volunteer.
“The little program with a big heart” is a quote from a Volunteer Canada article (no longer available online) about the Youth Peer Transformation project; written Spring, 2004; Volunteer Canada was one of the funders during the 2003-2004 year.