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Our 2018-2019 Peer Helpers

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the circle of mentorship that we have fostered at CEDA Pathways is critical to the success of our students. What do we mean when we say “Circle of Mentorship”? It’s a process of mentorship that we have woven into the fabric of our program that:

  • Helps students find BELONGING in our program and community;
  • Encourages MASTERY of our students’ skills and talents;
  • Fosters student INDEPENDENCE and accountability in the community and program; and
  • Supports students to show GENEROSITY and give back to their community and the program.

Further to this, students start thinking about and answering these four important questions: Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going? What is my purpose?

This year’s Peer Helpers are: Britney, Darnell, Dion, Dylan, Emily, Jamil, Justin, Leanna, Natasha, Reeva, Ryan, Sheri, Taylor, and Tristan!

These students have been chosen to work in all aspects of our Pathways to Education program, to take part in leadership and job training, to work alongside staff and board members to contribute to our organizational strategic plan, and to be a part of cultural ceremonies and Elder teachings. Throughout this school year, they will also plan the 2019 CEDA Pathways Student Gathering. As an added layer of mentorship, they will be supervised by Stacey and Bianca, Peer Helper Mentors, who were Peer Helpers last year. We know that each Peer Helper will bring their gifts and talents to our program and the community and help make this year great!

The Birth of the Peer Helper Program:

The Peer Helper program began five years ago as an opportunity to provide a small group of CEDA Pathways students with in-house job opportunities, to help build leadership skills, and to provide peer supports to the other students in our program. The Peer Helper program grew beyond our expectations that year as we watched this first group of students blossom and take on responsibilities we never imagined. We saw this group plan the first annual CEDA Pathways Student Gathering, which brought close to one hundred CEDA students to sit in small circles with Elders, staff, and peers to discuss the most pressing issues facing our youth:

  • Identity: Self, Family, and Community
  • Culture, Racism, and Bullying
  • Jobs and Education

This conference was organized, coordinated, and facilitated by youth and, in this process, we saw that youth needed to play a bigger role in decision-making at CEDA. Since that first year of Peer Helpers, we have included youth in our organizational strategic planning, created youth positions on our Board of Directors, and created further opportunities for our students and grads to work in our program.

When we recognize the strength and power of youth and mentor them to be leaders, the successes we see are widespread and reach out beyond our program into the community!

Read more about why this circle of mentorship is so important to us and the success of our students: ‘

This year’s Peer Helpers:


Not pictured: Leanne, Natasha, Reeva, & Tristan