I have been volunteering for different organizations in the Edmonton community since I was 14. Over the years, as my interests grew and changed, I focussed my attention on certain areas and organizations that resonated closely with my values. As you can see there are themes of helping children and youth in need, encouraging and educating around entrepreneurship, and supporting people facing cancer.
Current Community Involvement
1. Youth Empowerment and Support Services – YESS provides a wide variety of services to youth at risk and in crisis. I am the newest member of the YESS Board of Directors. I think it goes without saying that these kids are dealing with things they should never have to think about. I want to give any help I can to provide them the resources they need to be safe, healthy, and happy.
2. Junior Achievement – JA educates students about work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. I volunteer as a classroom teacher, delivering age-specific curriculum to kids to help them understand how the world of business works. I love the idea of this program because business and entrepreneurship were not something that I was ever really exposed to until I was in my early 20s. I want kids to think beyond the standard professions and plant the seed of entrepreneurship early.
3. Alberta Cancer Foundation – ACF is the official fundraiser for all Alberta Cancer Centres. Dana and I feel particularly invested in this organization after our excellent experience at the Cross Cancer Institute while Dana received his treatment. We have both volunteered as speakers, written guest blog posts, and donate every year in lieu of client Christmas gifts. It is the funding and efforts of ACF that give patients a better experience during challenging times.
4. University of Alberta Career Centre – The UofA Career Centre gives students resources to help make career decisions while they finish their education. As an alumni of the UofA, and someone whose path took a wildly unexpected turn after graduation, I enjoy sharing my experiences with students and hopefully giving them a bit of food for thought as they decide their own paths. I have done 1-on-1 mentoring and a career chat with students interested in entrepreneurship and technology, shared some of my post-university story through a CAPS interview, and for the past few years, we have hosted a job shadow student.
5. EJ School – EJ School is an out-of-the-classroom project that gathers a handful of entrepreneurs to be interviewed by students in grades 4-7 to learn and write a report on what “entrepreneur” means. Similarly to Junior Achievement, I think EJ School is a wonderful program to introduce kids to entrepreneurship and the different businesses in our community.
Past Community Involvement
1. Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters – BCGBigs provide safe places and positive mentoring relationships for children and youth in our community. I am a big sister to a little girl who I get to spend time with every week, going to the many different events and activities that Edmonton has to offer. I decided to give my time to BCGBigs because I know how important it is to have positive role models as you grow up. I get to have fun with my little sister and give her a resource and mentor as she grows up.
2. Edmonton Humane Society – I snuggled and played with cats (actual title: cat cuddler) to help socialize them before they were adopted into new homes. It was pretty awesome.
3. Pet Therapy Society of Northern Alberta – The program doesn’t exist anymore, but I was a pet bereavement counselor for people who were struggling with the death of a beloved pet. Pet’s are a huge part of many peoples lives and the grief after their loss is not as understood or accepted as other types of loss. As part of the group, I helped give people a safe, supportive space to talk and share.