“I'm so energized by working with youth. They keep me on my toes! I can tell that they are really engaged in what they’re learning when I see their eyes sparkling and they can’t stop talking about what they just accomplished. It’s great to watch youth grow and develop. And I love that I can use my skills and education in my job.”
Meet Jasmine. Jasmine is a 23-year-old Youth Programmer for a community centre in Kamloops. An emerging leader, Jasmine feels the non-profit sector offers her a career path that aligns with her values, interests, skills and personality traits.
The summer Jasmine was 14 she volunteered for Kamloops Parks and Recreation’s “Leaders in Training” (L.I.T.) program. The LIT program gives young volunteers valuable leadership experience in a summer camp setting. Jasmine volunteered in the program for three summers until she got her driver’s license and became a paid summer staff Camp Leader. Jasmine’s career ladder shows how someone can move from a volunteer position to a paid position by taking advantage of the training and experience offered while volunteering.
During her time working and volunteering for Kamloops Parks and Recreation, Jasmine was able to develop her skills and comfort level in the area of public speaking. During her last summer, Jasmine took some staff training and was then able to speak in front of large groups of her peers. She also learned to actively listen to children. Because of her time working in the Recreation field, seeing first-hand the kind of impact that one caring individual can have on others, Jasmine knew that when she graduated high school, she wanted the kind of career where she could make a difference in the lives of children and youth.
After high school graduation, Jasmine studied in the Child & Youth Care degree program at the University of Victoria. While attending university, Jasmine volunteered at the United Way as a Director on their board. This volunteer position enabled Jasmine to meet countless people in the community, many of whom were Managers, Directors and Executive Directors of non-profit agencies. The experience equipped Jasmine with firsthand experience with organizational budgets, event planning, fundraising, and public relations. It was an amazing opportunity for her to sit on such a large and visible board as a youth representative. Personally, Jasmine was also able to develop a meaningful relationship with a senior manager who still serves as a mentor for her.
Jasmine applied for her current position online and was the successful candidate due to her experience both on the United Way board and her volunteer and paid work in the summer camps. Her current job as Youth Programmer involves organizing activities for youth and supporting youth-lead initiatives. Jasmine considers herself fortunate to be working for an organization where youth have a voice. She also enjoys a workplace culture that is less hierarchical than where some of her fellow graduates are working. Though only 23, she is in a position where she can truly make a positive impact on her community.
Jasmine’s energy, enthusiasm and positive attitude are appreciated by her manager, her colleagues, and the young people with whom she works. She has two staff members (Youth Program Support Workers) to supervise. Jasmine also supervises youth volunteers. She will be pursuing her Volunteer Management Certificate next year and wants to work more extensively with youth at risk in her community while engaging with them through social media.
Jasmine believes that she has made the right career choice by entering the non-profit sector. It allows her to align her values and passions with the work she does with the children and youth in her community. She sees herself continuing to volunteer and, in time, offering to be a mentor for other youth as they enter into the non-profit sector and build meaningful careers.