The GEM Program
GEM is an innovative mentorship program designed by girls for girls.
Girls E-Mentorship (GEM) is a registered charitable organization that offers an innovative mentorship program for high school girls facing multiple barriers. We equip girls with the necessary skills to achieve their grown-up aspirations, building a diverse network of talented, vibrant women and girls to inspire and support one another.
Since GEM’s launch in 2012, we have served over 150 girls in Toronto, seeing them through to post-secondary pursuits, including university entry. We have seen mentorship relationships deepen and girls transformed into confident, empowered young women.
CONNECT. EMPOWER. INSPIRE.
Every year, GEM individually matches high school girls with mentors for a 9-month program running concurrently with the academic year. GEM mentors are carefully chosen for their professional success, their ability to connect and their commitment to improving the lives of GEM mentees. Participants are matched with mentors on the basis of their career aspirations, interests and personality. Mentors support GEMgirls as they navigate key issues in their lives, such as goal setting, time-management, confidence building, stress management, and knowledge sharing on interviews, university applications, and more.
GEM hosts several experiential workshops throughout the year. Topics were chosen by GEMgirls during GEM’s pilot program. The workshops are designed to put new skills into practice and to meet GEM peers and other GEM mentors. These half-day sessions are hosted by professional women in their corporate offices and give participants an opportunity to learn about various industries and to better understand the job market.
Internships & scholarships
GEM offers paid internships each year exclusively for GEMgirls. Our positions include: 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 below 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.
If successful, 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