Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Alicia. I am a 15 year old student in Grade 11. I spend a good portion of my spare time helping out in my community.
I am a member of my school’s swim team, hold a part time job, enjoy babysitting and am also a volunteer at the Oakville Hospital and with Smilezone. In my downtime, I like watching Netflix and spending time with my friends.
Do you think it’s important for young people in particular to get involved in their community? Why or why not?
Yes, I believe it is important. I think it helps students to understand what the “real world” is like outside of school and gives them the opportunity to experience various situations that can help them to shape their future goals.
When/how did you first begin volunteering?
I began volunteering in Grade 9. It’s a requirement of graduation that students obtain a certain number of volunteer hours. Once I experienced volunteering, I realized that I wanted to do more than the bare minimum and welcomed other opportunities.
My first experience volunteering with Smilezone was for their 24-hour Hockey Tournament in my Grade 9 year. Since then I have had the opportunity to help out at various functions.
What volunteer roles have you had with Smilezone?
I have helped in the Kids’ Zone at the Hockey Tournament for the past two years, have helped in the office prepping swag bags for the event, and have joined Kelsey [Smilezones Special Events Coordinator] at other community events in Oakville as needed.
Which roles have you found the most value in?
I really like being part of the Kids’ Zone because I like seeing the enjoyment on the children’s faces when they are engaged and having fun!
What types of volunteer opportunities do you think young people would find attractive/rewarding?
I think that students really enjoy opportunities where they can volunteer with their friends. I think that as long as whatever it is that you are doing is making a difference in the community or for a population of individuals who require support, seeing the effects for those individuals is the most rewarding part of volunteering.
Is there any advice you would give to someone looking to volunteer somewhere for the first time?
I would simply say do something that you truly enjoy and that sparks your interest.