Virtual Youth Leadership Program

Many students face uncertainty and anxiety about their future, especially around what to study in university or what field to pursue as a career. In the book Strangers to Ourselves, psychologist Timothy Wilson summarizes decades of research on what he calls our adaptive unconscious, showing us just how much of what we do during every moment of every day — what we think, how we feel, the goals we pursue and the actions we take — is happening below our conscious awareness. Our thoughts, decisions, and actions are heavily influenced by external factors such as peers and media. So it’s easy to say ‘follow your gut’ but in a world where our attention is pulled in so many directions, we are often left out of touch with ourselves and our guts.

MyGradeBooster’s virtual Youth Leadership Program is three months of “classroom” work and three months of “field” work. In the first three months, students meet with their mentor online twice a week and practice the following skills through workshops and group discussions:

Month 1: Self-discovery

– Reflection, exploration, increased knowledge about self
– Using personal stories for self-discovery
– Overcoming self-doubt
– The inner and the outer critic
– Strengths of introverted and extroverted leaders
– Embracing our weird
– Standing out from the crowd

Month 2: Mindset Matters

– Growth mindset versus fixed mindset
– How to develop grit
– Using mistakes and failures as learning tools
– Applying the process of mastery in learning

Month 3: Goal Setting

– Characteristics of goals that transform ambition into real progress
– Techniques and strategies in achieving goals
– Introduction to ultimate human performance research
– Using the feedback loop as performance enhancer

The next three months are an optional add-on. You may choose to participate in only the classroom component, or you may continue onward to the field work. During the fieldwork months students will work on networking and pitching skills to find qualified professionals in their field of interest and develop their action plan to implement the strategies they have learned.

Program Facilitators

Mehrnaz Bassiri

Mehrnaz has a master’s degree in chemistry and she started her career as a scientist in the biotech field. After four years of working in biotech she realized that it wasn’t for her, but didn’t know what else to do. It was only through a lucky introduction to tutoring that she realized how passionate she was in helping others overcome academic struggles. It all started with tutoring a friend who needed some help with math. Now she is the founder of MyGradeBooster, an award-winning tutoring company, she has spoken at TED and been featured in prominent platforms such as TED Ideas, Thrive Global, the Huffington Post, Drishti Magazine, and Global News, to name a few. She speaks at events, companies, and organizations about the process of goal setting, learning, and overcoming obstacles. “Teaching and educating is truly an enjoyable work that I feel grateful to pursue. Finding my passion took many years. Now I realize it didn’t have to if I had done the necessary work of self discovery and getting to know myself at an earlier age.”

Humaam Hamado

Humaam has a bachelor’s degree in biology and started his career in surgical and clinical pediatric research, presenting his projects at Harvard and Dalhousie University. His accomplishments made him stand out and everyone thought he was destined for a career in medicine. Although he enjoyed his work, he had doubts that it was his calling. Since childhood, Humaam often found himself fascinated with how people expressed themselves through their style choices – anything from the content of their wardrobe to their home decors or how they conducted themselves in public. So in 2017, he pursued a part-time consulting position at Style by Sarai & SARAI BESPOKE, a lifestyle company and bespoke design brand. Now in 2020, he is a partner in the business and has worked with brands such as Hublot, Rolex, Aston Martin, Porsche, and Rémy Martin, to name a few. “I’m grateful to have had mentorship from generous individuals who wanted to see me reach opportunities earlier in my life relative to theirs. Trusting my gut instinct was the first step, maintaining the drive and pursuing your vision is attributed to continual guidance and belief from your core community and yourself.”

Testimonials

“Mehrnaz is a warm and engaging speaker who is able to make complex theoretical subjects accessible and interesting for any learner. After observing her deliver a workshop on growth mindset and study skills, I was impressed by the way she distilled such complex information about neurobiology to a group of youth, who showed clear enjoyment of her talk and who asked many questions! She has such a broad range of knowledge that she was able to connect the topic of the day to the interests of the listener – she is a highly engaging and enjoyable speaker.”

Amanda Pullishy
Supervisor, Youth Education Programs at YWCA

“I attended Mehrnaz’s presentation on growth mindset learning at The Roundhouse and really enjoyed it. She presented the material in such an engaging way, by the end of the talk I felt I had the tools to help my daughter adopt better learning habits.”

Jenny Kung
Parent

“In February 2018, our service club engaged Mehrnaz Bassiri to address sixty Grade 7 girls about how to prepare for the academic challenges of high school. We foolishly assumed that the girls would find it difficult to concentrate for any length of time on  such a dry topic. We could not have been more wrong! From the minute she began, Mehrnaz captivated the girls’ attention with her simple yet sage advice. The girls were feverishly taking notes, despite re-assurances that they would receive an electronic copy of her presentation. Mehrnaz’s presentation is a must-see for students who are about to embark on further academic challenges.”

Veronica Loat
Director Soroptimist International North Shore

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