Mentoring for Inclusion

Program snapshot

Age group: Late childhood (7-11); Adolescence (12-17)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Newcomers, immigrants and/or refugees; Visible minority/ethnic group

Topic: Social development

Setting: Urban area; Community-based setting; School-based

Location: Alberta

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Primary crime prevention; Secondary crime prevention

Brief Description

The Mentoring for Inclusion program is a crime prevention initiative designed to address the vulnerability of immigrant and refugee children and youth by building resilience through mentorship with the immigrant/refugee Somali and Francophone communities in Calgary.

The Mentoring for Inclusion works with Somali and new immigrant Francophone children and youth aged seven to 15 years old. The Somali program is offered through a partnership among three organizations: Big Brothers Big Sisters Calgary (BBBS), Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth (CBFY), and the Somali Canadian Society of Calgary (SCSC). Mentoring for Inclusion offers a number of mentoring and homework club programs.

Homework Clubs are provided by CBFY in four locations. Homework Club tutors are recruited from the Somali community, trained, and paid for their services. “Go 4 Great” provides two sites based on weekly mentoring programs managed and offered by BBBS at the Beltline Recreation Centre—one for girls and one for boys. Mentors are recruited from the Somali community. A program mentoring coordinator from the Somali community acts as a liaison with Somali families.

Francophone Mentoring programs include In-School Mentoring, Teen Mentoring, Game On/Go Girls group mentoring, and the Big Brothers Big Sisters community mentoring program. Francophone mentoring programs work in partnership with the Conseil Scolaire du Sud de l’Alberta school board offered in six Francophone schools in Calgary.


The main goals of Mentoring for Inclusion are to:

  • Establish meaningful cultural mentoring programs for Somali, Francophone immigrant and refugee youth that will increase their capacity and resiliency thereby reducing the potential for high risk behaviours and involvement in crime;
  • Establish a strong working relationship with these communities so that families have an increased sense of belonging, resiliency, capacity and skills to prevent youth criminal activity, and trust in child/youth services and service providers;
  • Offer safe, meaningful out-of-school activities and mentoring approaches for children/youth and their families in order to decrease attractiveness of and vulnerability to involvement in crime;
  • Establish community advisory committees to develop strategies, tools and approaches that attract community members to mentor children/youth in their community;
  • Develop culturally-sensitive key competencies and new approaches to mentoring ethno-cultural children/youth and families; and
  • Establish an effective organization mentoring model that supports grass-roots ethno-cultural groups, providing their organizations with the tools and capacity to enhance programs for their children/youth and families that will further address youth crime and delinquency issues.


The appropriate clientele for Mentoring for Inclusion are Somali and new immigrant Francophone children and youth aged seven to 15 years old. The program provides a variety of mentoring options and homework clubs for Francophone immigrant children and youth and Somali children and youth.

Core Components

The Mentoring for Inclusion program provides a variety of mentoring options and homework clubs for Francophone immigrant children and youth and Somali children and youth. Programs include:

  • Four homework club locations;
  • In-school mentoring services with Francophone school partners;
  • One on one Community Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring;
  • ‘Go Girls’ and ‘Game On’ group mentoring;
  • Teen mentoring; and
  • Separate boys and girls ‘Go 4 Great’ site based mentoring for Somali children and youth.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: The lead and participating organizations should take time to build trust and engage with the Somali community. There is the need to build capacity within the Somali Canadian Society of Canada (SCSC), the need to have senior level management champion the project and the need to “keep a higher level vision for the partnership focused on the common goal which is to help Somali children and youth”.
  • Partnerships: Partnership between Big Brothers Big Sisters Society of Calgary and Area (BBBS) and the Somali Canadian Society of Calgary (SCSC), and the Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth (CBFY).
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The Mentoring for Inclusion program has been implemented in Calgary (Alberta) from 2011 to 2014. Funding was provided through the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

A social return on investment (SROI) has been conducted on the Mentoring for Inclusion program. The findings from the study have shown the following:

  • The SROI ratio is 2.21:1, demonstrating that for every one dollar of investment in the program, a social value of $2.21 was created;
  • By providing mentors for vulnerable children and youth in Calgary’s communities, Mentoring for Inclusion creates social value in a number of significant ways as youth, their parents, and the community in general achieve program outcomes; and
  • Social value was created through decreased use of additional educational resources, decreased cost of not finishing high school, decreased use of health systems, decreased use of mental health systems, and decreased involvement in justice systems. Justice system involvement ranges from decreased cost of petty crime to decreased potential to be involved in gang activity and other serious crimes.


Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: Mentoring for Inclusion. Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from:

For more information on this program, contact:

Big Brothers and Big Sisters Society of Calgary and Area
Jodi McKay
Telephone: (403) 777-3529

Record Entry Date - 2018-02-27
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
Date modified: