Last weekend, two of our GEMgirls and their mentors attended The Mirvish performance of The Phantom of the Opera at the Princess of Whales Theatre. These tickets are a part of our unique Arts & Culture Program. The program, sponsored by the Phelan Foundation, purchases tickets to cultural events in the city for our mentees to attend with their mentor.

After the performance last weekend we received photos (see above) and an email from our program mentor, Jenna Smith that told GEM what a special event this had been for mentors and mentees to relax, to play together, and to bond.

“I wanted to start today off by thanking you all so much for the opportunity to take our girls to see Phantom of the Opera…I was so excited to be doing an activity with her where we could just be two good friends going to see a show together. The show was absolutely and unbelievably fantastic. From the music, to the acting/singing, the design of the set and special effects blew all of our expectations away! (Although I think Zarah was a little heartbroken…that the Phantom didn’t get to be with his true love in the end, she was really on team Phantom to win the love of Christine!) We had an amazing time, and I can’t thank you enough for the tickets. It was a beautiful afternoon and made me realize the importance of balancing a mentor/mentee relationship with work and play because it really allowed for me to appreciate her as my GEMgirl even more than I already do!”

This year was the first year at GEM where we have had resources to give away cultural event tickets to our mentees and their mentors. At GEM we believe in art as a social connector, and now we’re seeing that in action. So far our mentor and mentee pairs have attended a private film screening of an independent film called Shadeism, the National Ballet’s Romeo and Juliette, and The Phantom of the Opera. Through watching the pairs that have attended these events we have noticed the improved quality and depth of their relationships. A good mentorship, is like any other relationship, it requires trust, respect, and friendship. And we’re seeing our arts program help in fostering that friendship.