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Communities across Canada celebrate January as National Mentoring Month. It is only fitting that Kids Now, a charity committed to youth, proclaimed January 25, 2016, as Youth Mentor Day. On this same day my office will host the inaugural Mayor’s Youth Speaker Series, featuring award-winning journalist, Amanda Lang.

As an accomplished business journalist who has interviewed successful entrepreneurs, business executives and world leaders, Amanda Lang is in a unique position to provide insight both on her own success and the success of others. Attendees will hear a keynote session with Ms. Lang and will then have the opportunity to ask questions of relevance to them as they prepare to enter the workforce.

Research has shown that a strong network and connection to mentors can open doors for youth as they transition into the workforce. These role models provide important support both in navigating the job market as well as helping youth understand the skills and experience required to succeed.

With a staggering 14% of youth aged 15-24 unemployed, the goal of the Mayor’s Youth Speaker Series is to break down barriers and create new opportunities for young people to share their ideas, goals and aspirations with experienced professionals who can help.

I am committed to using my position as mayor to support youth, and help them reach higher by launching their careers. As part of our efforts to get talented youth working, I plan to host a Mayor’s Jobs Fair. This will be an opportunity for mentors from businesses, post-secondary institutions, employment and newcomer settlement agencies, to be part of a city-wide career networking opportunity. Stay tuned for more information.

Working together, we will mentor youth and create opportunities.