“It was an education for me to see how far she had come in only six months.” – Hannah Edleston
The Work 2 Live program wouldn’t exist without the help of our community. We caught up with Hannah, one of our volunteer mentors, to find out more about what it’s like to work with our wonderful young people.
Hannah Edleston wasn’t lacking involvement in the Whistler community. She already runs Whistler Creek Athletic Club, volunteers at countless sporting events, and is an active member of the Whistler Rotary Club Millennium. But when her partner, Chris, started mentoring one of the Zero Ceiling youths, she was drawn to the obvious impact of the program. “I wanted to do something more meaningful, to know I was having a real impact,” Hannah says. And Zero Ceiling seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Hannah’s journey from to volunteer Zero Ceiling mentor
The first thing she did was offer free gym passes to all the youth in the Work 2 Live program – a vital chance for rest and relaxation during the busy program. Then she applied to be a mentor herself. Reflecting on her experience a year later, Hannah is effusive in her praise for Kehew McCallum, who graduated from the program in May, and the Work 2 Live program.
“When I first met Kehew, she was so shy. I could tell she was smart and driven, but she lacked confidence in herself. But by the time graduation came around, I couldn’t believe the change in her. She was so confident, she really shone.
“they don’t necessarily need us to tell them what to do. They just need someone to be there for them.”
It was an education for me to see how far she had come in only six months.”
Every young person who joins the Work 2 Live program is given a mentor. It’s an informal relationship, and every pair work to develop their own relationship that works for them. For example, Hannah and Kehew used to snowboard together, and as they got to know each other identified things that Hannah could help with. Some of the support they provide is practical – filling out tax forms, financial planning. At other times, what the young people need is just someone to listen. As Hannah says, “they don’t necessarily need us to tell them what to do. They just need someone to be there for them.”
When she isn’t helping out the Whistler community, Hannah has found plenty of ways to keep herself busy. As well as the obvious love of snowboarding, she’s a keen trail runner – one of the highlights of this summer was completing the Comfortably Numb trail for the first time. In a more unusual hobby (for Whistler), Hannah also models for Paintertainment – their amazing handmade costumes and body art are testaments to the creativity of people here in Whistler. Although Kehew has now graduated from the program, the pair still meet up regularly. When asked what her favourite thing about Whistler is, Hannah hits on one of the key reasons the Zero Ceiling program is so successful: “The community. I love that everyone in Whistler is open-minded, friendly and not at all materialistic. That, and the mountain air.” Need we say more?
Would you like to become a mentor?
We are currently looking for mentors for the young people moving into the second six months of the Work 2 Live program each November. Mentors need to be settled in the Whistler community and must be aged over 25. If you’re interested in mentoring or helping in any other way, get in touch at info[at]zeroceiling.com or call us on 604-962-5000.
You can read more about Kehew’s story in the Pique News magazine.
This post was written by our awesome Zero Ceiling Volunteer, Lizi McLoughlin