Volunteer Profile: That’s Just Me

Volunteer Profile: That’s Just Me

By: Biljana Tepic | Guest Writer
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Preamble:
Biljana Tepic is a 24-year-old mentor who was involved in That’s Just Me, a YWCA Metro Vancouver program aimed to help grade seven girls successfully transition to high school and help them navigate through some of the difficult choices they face.

Biljana was born in Zenica, a small city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and moved to Canada with her parents in 1999. She has always been interested in working with and helping youth, particularly young women, and “believes that education and counseling are two very powerful avenues which can help both men and women reflect on themselves and the world and make significant and impactful changes.”

That’s Just Me
By Biljana Tepic

That’s Just Me is a great program that gives an equal opportunity to all girls to discover themselves, their interests, and potential. Building confidence in oneself, and acquiring the education and skills to make an impact in the world, is obviously not an overnight process. But That’s Just Me is a great start for young girls to ease themselves into the confusing world of young womanhood.

A dedicated mentor has the capacity to convey empathy, understanding and guidance; three aspects which are too often absent in many children’s and adolescent’s lives. At a time where our beliefs and ideas are often derived from anonymous sources pushing us in the direction of conformity, a mentor is a real and authentic human being solely dedicated to listening, helping, and enriching the lives of those he or she mentors.  They create the space for those being mentored to discover their true selves.

The last session of That’s Just Me was my favorite because that’s when I felt that it all came together. The doubts, fears, and frustrations we all experienced at some point seemed like necessary feelings which helped everyone realize the true purpose of the program. The girls, myself and the other mentors spent an hour eating snacks and talking about what they expect in high school, their future life plans, something funny they overheard their friends say, and also their favorite recent movies. A feeling of complete comfort, respect, and friendship resonated throughout the group that took eight challenging and wonderful weeks to achieve.

The girls disclosed that they were sad that the program was ending, but that they had a lot of fun. When we signed one another’s T-shirts, everyone was eager to make and receive a mark that symbolized the time we all spent together. At that moment, I knew the program had been a success and that everyone would leave with at least one powerful memory, feeling, or experience.

Posted on January 23, 2013