Youth Mentor - Johanna Lumberjack

Posted: Feb 26, 2020

Hello, my name is Johanna Lumberjack. I am a 17-year-old student in the 11th grade at Scott Collegiate. I am originally from Regina but have also spent time in Saskatoon and Yorkton.  I have a number if interests which include the following:

  • watching tv
  • skateboarding and recording clips of me and my friends skateboarding
  • going for walks alone
  • listening to music, it doesn't matter what I'm doing, music always makes it better
  • photography, I am planning on saving up for a new camera and computer
  • enjoying chips, popcorn and slurpees

One of my biggest challenges I've struggled with for as long as I can remember is being vocal in social situations.  At GYM I can speak freely and openly share my thoughts and questions. I feel this is a place where I don't have to stress simple things that often make me anxious. It's a judgement free place, where everyone is included, which is something I feel is key for kids who, like me, struggle with anxiety while completing simple tasks. GYM has taught me the benefits of socializing and sharing thoughts. With time, It has helped me improve on vocalizing my concerns and questions.

My definition of a leader is a figure that you can look up to, not in a sense of envy but someone who carries qualities that make others want to improve, a leader should guide others in a positive manner, someone who encourages others to pursue their ambitions and goals. A leader is someone who can guide you to do better, greater things or simply direct you to do what is expected.  

When first introduced to GYM, I saw the program as a guardian angel for the community. As a mentor who works with these kids, I can say it is a responsibility I embrace proudly. GYM has changed many perspectives on how indigenous youth are viewed in our community. This program has opened many doors and opportunities for students who work for GYM. We as mentors are gaining experience in a professional setting which will help with future interviews, jobs and university applications.  For many of the kids who attend GYM, we are giving youth the attention that they may not be getting elsewhere. I feel providing this support for the youth is key in a child's development, and with the intergenerational effects of our history (specifically Indigenous youth) some kids aren't getting the support needed to become successful.  GYM is helping connect kids to a community.