If you are part of a group working to improve the social good of your community — or if you have skills or experience that could help such a group grow and expand — the Social Mentor Network wants to hear from you.

The network is a joint project between the United Church’s EDGE and Embracing the Spirit networks and The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Since launching in June 2016, it now includes over 80 mentees, representing groups conducting some sort of social initiative.

The Social Mentor Network is made possible by the multitude of amazing mentors who volunteer their time to support the success of our ministries.

Mark Fornasiero is one such mentor. By day, he works as a Strategy Consultant for Shirlaws Group. Over the past six months, Fornasiero has been matched with Deb Rapport of ARISE, a Presbyterian ministry in Toronto.

“Being a mentor in the Social Mentor Network is a great opportunity to share your passion, skills, and experience with organizations that would not be able to access them otherwise,” said Fornasiero.

The kind of mentorship connections the SMN facilitates are not one sided. They are mutually beneficial relationships, providing a space for both the ministry and the mentor to grow. “This was a great learning experience for me personally,” said Fornasiero. “I was able to use a lot of methods and frameworks that I have, to date, only used in a commercial setting to help Deb at ARISE. I was really excited to see how some of the really commercial frameworks translated to the non-profit world.”

Fornasiero’s work as a mentor had a significant impact on ARISE. “Mark’s advice and the work we did together was extremely helpful in our hiring process and in making sure we found someone who understood and matched our vision and values,” said Rapport.

Together, Fornasiero and Rapport have shown how mentorship has provided a unique opportunity to learn and grow.

If you are interested in being a mentor, please contact socialmentornetwork [at] gmail.com.

 —Carla Leon, Manager, Embracing the Spirit project.