“I’ve been involved with United Way since before I was officially a member of any organizations, because my dad and all his siblings were members when they were little, too. I think it’s cool—I don’t look a lot like my dad, but when people hear my name, there’s staff members at this organization that recognize it and remember him.
I started with swimming lessons when I was around five, then my mom put me in a summer camp. Then when I was in grade seven, some staff members reached out to me and got me more involved with the other programs the organization offers. It got to a point where I was there probably four days a week! I would hang out right after school until it closed. I did cooking classes, a leadership program and now I’m on staff.
“Neither of my parents went to university—as of right now, I am the first person in my family to
At camp, I was always that person that was very shy when people first met me, especially when I was a kid. So, a lot of staff reached out to me and helped me get out of my comfort zone. Because I’m not really quiet! But it was really hard for me when I was younger. So, they gave me names of programs and said ‘Oh, I really think you’d be a good fit for this.’
The program that has been most helpful to me was a leadership and homework program. I actually got to meet a lot of people from my school, because I joined in grade eight, so I didn’t know a lot of people going into high school. And that’s how I met my now best friend. We have been friends since the start of that program, we went to high school together and we got to do so many things together in that program. We did things like city-wide cigarette butt cleanups, but sometimes we’d just meet up to do homework. Once we made pizza together, and that was really fun. It was so nice to just hang out. All of us enjoy the program so much that we stayed through it for five years.