An Interview with Auxilium
Allison Wang, Linda Duong, Sherilyn Wen, Jasmin An, Edward Wang, Grace Wu, Isabelle Ngo, and Adrienne Liu are 8 high school students from Ottawa, Ontario. They all go to school in different parts of the city, but they are connected by one thing: Auxilium.
Auxilium is a federally registered non-profit peer mentorship service based in Ottawa. Their vision is to create an interactive platform where students can become community leaders that create positive and lasting academic and social change in their society. Auxilium provides volunteer opportunities for students to give back, a valuable network for students in Ottawa, and resources for education and mental health during this trying time.
In the span of a few days, the organization has already received over 140 applications to pair up from 30 schools.
People from Ottawa can sign up to be either a mentor or a mentee, with a time commitment of about an hour a week, using this link. Cycles open and close using the quadmester model.
This article is an interview and a story with the founders of Auxilium, written from the perspective of Linda Duong—a coordinator at the non-profit.
Linda Duong (coordinator): I had never met Allison Wang before, so it was a surprise to see I got a DM from her on Instagram. “Hey Linda,” it read. “I’m starting this program with an organization I created. It’s basically a virtual peer mentorship program for Ottawa students. I’m basically looking for people to set it up...I was wondering if you wanted to help?” I was excited and touched that she had reached out to me. “I’d love to help you set it up,” I wrote back and that was that. Allison recruited the other six and we were off.
Allison, what prompted you to start Auxilium?
Allison Wang (director): Before the pandemic, I was involved in the peer tutoring system at my school in which I helped various students in their English and Science classes. When I found out the academic year of 2020-2021 is going to be 50% virtual and 50% in-person for high school students, I was a little concerned about the guidance students would receive. As a student myself, I understand that teachers are working very hard to ensure success for all students; however, during this difficult time, it is often challenging to do so in a virtual environment. This prompted me to start Auxilium, as I believe we can recreate this program and environment virtually. I really wanted to ensure that virtual learning could be accomplished by any student. With more guidance and advice, and a little motivation from mentors, I strive to help all students in this difficult time.
What prompted you to join Auxilim?
Isabelle Ngo (graphic designer): I joined Auxilium because I thought it was a great way to help students. Online learning has made it inconvenient to reach out to teachers and friends to get help, therefore, this virtual peer mentorship program will hopefully be able to better support students in this new learning environment. I also like how Auxilium is a local organization assembled of students from all across Ottawa. This gives me the opportunity to meet and collaborate with lots of new people. I have already met many passionate and like-minded people and hopefully those who sign up for our program will be able to make new friends around the city as well.
Sherilyn Wen (coordinator): I joined Auxilium because I knew this year would be challenging for students both academically and mentally. Whether they are learning remotely or in person, the amount of instruction time and the information given just isn’t the same as previous years. This mentorship program is an amazing way for mentors to gain leadership skills and give back to younger students, and I feel it would be immensely helpful for mentees to have a reliable means of support through a city-wide program. The resources auxilium offers are valuable, and I wanted to be a part of making that impact.
How has mentorship played an important role in your life?
Linda Duong (coordinator): I was always a really shy kid. None of the older students ever reached out to me and I was definitely never going to reach out to them. It wasn’t until I attended my high school leadership camp that I realized how valuable having older friends could be. I met this one girl (only a year older than me), and in the span of one hour, she had already introduced me to so many of the things I do today that I hadn’t known about before: HOSA, Relay for Life committee, ShadProgram...And she continues to do so every day. She’s also always around when I need help with school, need someone to talk to or am confused about the university application process. As a mentor, she’s been a really big part of academic and social life, and I hope that Auxilium will offer the same.
What do you hope mentees and mentors gain through their time with Auxilium?
Grace Wu (social media officer): Auxilium is a fantastic opportunity for students to diversify their network. During their time with it, mentors and mentees, alike, will be able to gain more confidence and learn more about their learning styles.
Learn more and register for Auxilium's Peer Mentorship Program here!
Featured image is courtesy of Wix.
Article Author: Linda Duong
Article Editor: Victoria Huang, Olivia Ye