Ali Tootian has been a mentor for youth and families especially those who arrive in Canada as immigrants and refugees.
At Pinetree Secondary School
While teaching at Pinetree Secondary, Ali Tootian established an Iranian parent advisory council and helped students to fit into the system better and faster by guiding their parents/guardians. Ali offered “Bullying at Schools” and “Parenting workshops.” He invited ESL teachers of the school to explain ESL programs to the families as it was a new concept for them. He invited counselors of the school to speak about how to take courses at high school as the Canadian system is different from those of Iran.
Ali arranged and managed the PAC and a group of volunteer students to make a display of Norouz and celebrate it in the main foyer of the school by playing Iranian pop music for the Persian New Year.
Ali coached/supervised the table tennis team of the school for one year and under his mentorship, the school team achieved third place in the boy’s team in British Columbia, the first of its type for that school.
At Gleneagle Secondary School
Ali Tootian founded a math contest club and coached students to score better in national and international math competitions. As a result, the school’s rank was improved from 370th high school in Canada to the top 50 according to the University of Waterloo’s data. Writing math contests has become a culture at Gleneagle Secondary even without Ali’s presence.
Just before the pandemic, Ali established and co-coached the school’s STEAM club, the first of its type in the district high schools, to open more doors for the students to practice learning in a non-traditional way. At this club, well-round students perform better than stars in one core topic. In this new dynamic five students team up with a volunteer parent, a sibling in undergraduate studies, and a teacher/coach from Gleneagle to complete projects in which science, technology, engineering, art, and math are involved.
Ali established the school’s table tennis club. This opportunity was well received by the students and under Ali’s supervision, Gleneagle improved its ranking every year. School experienced 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and championship in four consecutive years proving the effect of systematic approaches to coaching and education. In the same pattern, and in the 5th year of his service at Gleneagle, Ali offered and managed to hold and host the final round of the BC High School championship at Gleneagle Secondary. Students, teachers, and families experienced a two-day event with great cheerfulness, and it become a lifetime memory for many.
Recently, Ali announced a backgammon club at the school after he noticed several international students can play but have no way to play backgammon after school hours. He brought his backgammons from home and encouraged students to join him and play at lunchtime. He offered to instruct this game as a way to find friends and make connections.
Currently, Ali is the Chair of the collaborative decision-making committee of the school where teachers share, discuss, and negotiate educational matters with each other and with the administrations and resolve potential educational issues.
At Farhangian Educators Association
Ali Tootian believes that youth learn by practice and while they are doing things and repeating it. He also knows how youth feel positive about themselves when they produce and perform. As a mentor, he has been a role model for many students. He sets up students for experiencing success and confidence at different events and programs when he invites them to join as volunteers. For example, he invites them to participate in Norouz events at North Vancouver and Coquitlam working for organizations such as the Canadian Iranian Foundation and Tricity Iranian Cultural Society. Students accept responsibilities and meet the expectations and as a result, become stronger, prouder, and mature. In some of these events, Ali has to coach and practice with the students before they become ready to perform and complete their responsibility and role. Therefore, he spends hours of time after his work on these preparations. For instance, he role-plays with students to make them ready for presenting the “Bullying at Schools” workshop to the community.
At Tricity United Soccer Club
Ali’s mentorship also meets youth at sports fields such as soccer tournaments. He has helped with organizing and hosting soccer tournaments at Casey Perry Stadium where teams played soccer in a friendly, professional environment. Young volunteers had always been an important part of these events and without them, running the events was impossible. Supervising and ensuring the safety of youth during their services, a serious responsibility, has always been on Ali’s agenda.