In Flemingdon Park, there is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered…in fact, there are many GEMs. GEM stands for Girls E-Mentorship, a charity founded by Rochelle de Goias to help girls who are disadvantaged or in poverty by pairing them up with a mentor who is successful in the career they wish to pursue.
GEM started as a pilot program in 2013, with a total of twenty-two girls participating. Based on survey results and an interview process, they were introduced to high-achieving women within their fields of interest. The mentors act as role models and provide opportunities for the girls to experience the job hands-on, as well as providing career and education advice.
MGCI students Joyce Cheng, Selina McCallum, and Ameera Seiyad are currently interning at GEM. Selina McCallum, now the creative writing intern at GEM, spoke of her experience: “My mentor is a writer, Amoryn Engel, who works for National Post and Hello! Magazine. She took me to events with her and I got to write about them!” She is also very grateful and says that GEM “is an outstanding program that offers girls nothing but the best and encourages them to reach for their full potential.”
The program is open to all grade 11 and 12 girls that live in Flemingdon, Thorncliffe, and Regent Park, but there are plans for future expansion beyond these areas. Online applications usually begin around the end of August and close mid-September. Unfortunately, the program is no longer accepting applicants this year.
GEM is currently the only charity with access to the newly build Aga Khan Museum, situated in the Don Mills community, and holds monthly workshops that range in topic from career training to yoga. GEM participants also receive free memberships to the museum. The events are open to the entire community and are not just limited to the program. GEM also runs a blog covering topics such as career inspiration, health and fitness, and travel. More information about the events and program can be found at http://girlsementorship.com/.