The GEM Program
The GEM program is an innovative mentorship program designed by girls for girls.
GEM connects high school girls entering grades 10, 11 and 12 with talented women in Toronto for a nine-month mentorship program.
The most important thing GEM offers besides a nurturing mentorship relationship is the opportunity to meet talented professional women, engage in career building experiences, and apply to internships and scholarships.
Since 2013 over 100 girls from Toronto have completed our program. We have seen mentorship relationships deepen, and girls transformed into confident and capable young women.
CONNECT. EMPOWER. INSPIRE.
Mentors and mentees are matched on summer and their first meeting takes place on September. They continue to meet monthly in-person at a location of their mutual choosing and keep in touch weekly through phone, email and text. Over the course of the mentorship, mentors will talk about topics such as stress and time management, confidence building, networking, resume development and interview skills.
Throughout the program, GEM and their corporate sponsors host five experiential workshops called GEMinars. The goal of each GEMinar is to empower GEMgirls through the stories of other talented female professionals, and equip them with the necessary skills to excel in the pursuit of their career aspirations. It is also a great opportunity for them to start networking and learn about a business first hand.
Internships & scholarships
GEM offers paid internships each year exclusively for GEMgirls. Our positions are: Outreach Summer Intern who helps to foster a community amongst the GEMgirls, and Communications Intern who writes blog posts and social media posts.
GEM also offers annual awards for GEMgirls that have made the most progress and embody the spirit of the program.
How to apply
Girls and professional women apply online through the GEM website for the opportunity to become a GEMgirl and a GEM mentor.
The application process has two rounds:
1. The first round is the online application, which consists of a questionnaire.
2. Successful candidates are then asked for an in-person interview where The GEM Team get to know each candidate better.
Finally, mentees and mentors are paired through a very customized matching process where personality, interests and career goals are considered to make the best mentorship match possible.
In 2013 we worked with 22 girls facing multiple barriers from high priority neighborhoods in Toronto to design and implement an innovative mentorship program. The pilot was hugely successful.
Our belief is that charitable programming can be innovative and should take a co-creative approach. This meant designing our program with help from mentees, mentors, policy developers, social workers, teachers, and community stakeholders.
- Mentees are extremely stressed, busy, and over achieving
- Over 80% of GEMgirls said they experienced average or more than average stress
- 78% of pilot GEMgirls are pursuing STEM professions after high school.
- Significant pressure on girls to succeed
- GEMgirls struggle with time management, dealing with failure and managing expectation
Overall response to program was very positive.
After a three-month pilot:
- 100% of the girls said they would recommend GEM to a friend
- 33% of pre-pilot GEMgirls reported that they felt they could achieve their aspirations. This rose to 63% post-pilot
- No pre-pilot GEMgirls responded “yes” when asked if they felt prepared for the next chapter in their life. This increased to 25% post-pilot
- Helped mentees gain insight into careers that interested them
- Provided an opportunity to ask professional women questions
- Exposed mentees to new careers
- Allowed mentees to explore issues of self-esteem and confidence