Student Success

Indigenous students and alumni realizing the benefits of mentorship program

The Dhillon School of Business Scotiabank Mentors Program achieved a significant milestone recently when it celebrated 10 years of making a difference in the lives of Indigenous students and alumni.

“There's something truly special about being able to play a role, however small, in someone else's journey of self-discovery and personal growth,” says mentor Aysha Partington (BA/BEd ’24), a 2024 Spring Convocation graduate who came to the University of Lethbridge from Woodland Cree Nation.

Maria Livingston, left, and Aysha Partington.

“From the initial stages of building trust and rapport to the moments of breakthrough and achievement, every interaction with my mentees has been filled with mutual learning and growth. Their willingness to step out of their comfort zones, tackle obstacles head-on and embrace new opportunities has taught me the importance of courage, perseverance and the power of resilience.”

The program is part of ULethbridge’s Indigenous student support system and funded by Scotiabank and the MasterCard Foundation EleV Program. In its 10 years in existence, it has seen more than 45 mentors and 100 mentees benefit from its activities, and includes participation from Indigenous middle, high school and university students and alumni.

“After having the program run for so long, we’re now seeing the results of being consistent in its offering,” says Maria Livingston (BA '15), ULethbridge’s Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program coordinator. “I’d say that seeing the larger impact of how these smaller activities add up to bigger goals is the greatest success of the program. Supporting the mentees’ goals and encouraging them to reach their full potential is really what this program is all about.”

All program activities are free for mentors and mentees and include everything from beading, hand drum making and hoop dancing to pizza parties, bowling and axe throwing.

For Partington, joining the program was an easy decision, one she says was driven by a desire to be the mentor she never had.

“I saw it as an opportunity to provide the kind of support and guidance that I longed for growing up. By sharing my experiences, offering advice and serving as a role model, I hope to empower Indigenous youth to navigate similar challenges with resilience and pride in their cultural heritage,” she says.

“By investing in the next generation of leaders, thinkers and changemakers, the program ensures the continued growth and prosperity of the community for years to come. The relationships formed through mentorship extend far beyond the duration of the program, creating a ripple effect of positive influence that reverberates throughout the community.”

Livingston says the program’s achievements can, in large part, be attributed to the contributions and commitment of Rhonda Crow, the Indigenous Governance and Business Management (IGBM) program coordinator and Andrea Amelinckx, IGBM’s Area Chair.

“Rhonda’s and Andrea’s leadership and wisdom have been pivotal in making this program successful. It wouldn’t have been possible without their support.”