It’s National Volunteer Week in Canada! All across Canada, volunteers contribute to eliminating poverty, advocating for human rights, protecting the planet and creating thriving and resilient communities. From April 7 to the 13, Eva’s will be celebrating how our very own team of volunteers lift up young people experiencing homelessness by donating their time and expertise.
Many volunteers are motivated by a sense of purpose and many have joined Eva’s to help with things like facility maintenance, meal preparation and fundraising support. They all want to make a positive impact in the lives of others. It is no different for Jessica, who was Eva’s Gift-In-Kind Volunteer during the holidays and is now a Donor Relations/Administrative Volunteer.
Having moved to the city when she was 18, Jessica understands the challenges of living in Toronto as a young person. Within the first five years of coming here, she moved at least eight times (chasing cheaper rent) while she went to school and worked two jobs, which barely got her by. Despite the financial challenges of living in an expensive city, she sees how certain opportunities and connections she has made have helped to lift her out of living from one pay cheque to the next. Jessica sees how Eva’s provides those opportunities to vulnerable young people who might not have access to it otherwise.
“I knew I wanted to be a part of an organization that empowered youth and Eva’s definitely checked off all the boxes.” – Jessica
Volunteering at Eva’s has given her the opportunity to hone her skills, network with like-minded people, and gain new experience in an environment that is both “encouraging and inspiring”, something she hasn’t experienced in any other work environment.
But the highlight of volunteering at Eva’s for Jessica? An opportunity to see a spoken word performance by young women at Eva’s! “I was BLOWN away by the talent,” she says of the experience, “and so grateful that the youth are being given the opportunity to nurture these talents in such a positive and encouraging environment.”
Outside of her work at Eva’s, Jessica is studying Community Engagement, Leadership and Development at Ryerson University. Her volunteer work at Eva’s has encouraged her to advocate for young people experiencing homelessness and better educate herself on relevant government policies and community resources. “There is no better feeling than waking up every morning knowing you’re making a difference in the lives of others,“ she adds.