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HORIZONS Volunteer Challenge - St. John's & Area

Heather Carrol

1. Activity - Coaching the St. Bon's Grade 5-6 Girls basketball team

2. Location: St. Bon's Gym for practices, but we play lots of games at elementary schools all over the St. John's area.

3. Helping coach the Grade five and six girls basketball team during two 90 minute practices a week, and lots of games ! I help to plan practices and help the girls develop their basketball skills, while keeping it fun and active ! As a coach, you have to get to know the girls before you can help them improve and recognize their own skills, and develop to be the best that they can be. Over the past season, we've played games, had "team-building activities", entered in tournaments, and even won the Provincial "A" tournament ! Its been great to see the girls come together as a team, and improve !

4. Sports teams and organized activities for kids are very important in communities ! They help kids develop a sense of community, and teach them how to cooperatively work with others. It also gives the girls I work with a sense of higher self-esteem and confidence when they learn new things together, and see each other practice and improve. A basketball team is great for everyone to be a part of, because it goes hand in hand with a healthy lifestyle and social skills like teamwork and leadership !

5. Enthusiasm, patience and optimism were definitely important skills to use when coaching, because attitude is contagious - you can hardly do better if no one is taking the time to help and encourage you! Coaching has helped me develop a greater sense of patience, because everyone has different challenges, and for some, it takes a while to move past them. Without patience, I'd go crazy ! Being more patient has also helped me in other situations because it helps me think of others and not just myself while waiting for something to happen.

6. A long term goal for me is to be involved in my community and help others. Coaching is just a small part of helping others, and I think it will help me develop into a better leader to help more people.

7. An ideal citizen helps others in whatever way they can ! If you have a talent, its your responsibility to pass it on! If you think back to every thing you can do, chances are someone has helped you to learn these skills. Skills come in a cycle, you were taught how to do things, and an ideal citizen takes those skills and teaches others ! Ideal citizens try their best to be involved in their community and pass on their talents.

Heather Conway

Location: Holy Heart of Mary High School

Interact is Rotary International’s service club for young people ages 14 to 18. Interact clubs are sponsored by local Rotary clubs, but initiated and run by the individual school or community group that wishes to support a club.

The Holy Heart Interact club is a committee comprised of approximately 30 enthusiastic students who work together in combined efforts to raise awareness and in turn resolve tactile school, community and world issues.

Each year at Holy Heart, our club must complete at least two community service projects, one of which furthers international understanding and goodwill. In these efforts, each member of our club strives towards :

Ÿ Developing leadership skills and personal integrity

Ÿ Demonstrating helpfulness and respect for others

Ÿ Understanding the value of individual responsibility and hard work

Ÿ Advancing international understanding and goodwill

The Holy Heart Interact Club meets for approximately one and a half hours on Thursday afternoons, in this time our 3 interclub committees; School, Community and International, are responsible for picking and initiating an activity every 2 months that pertains to their individual group’s objectives.

I am a part of the Interact Community Committee. So far this year, our group has been focused on raising awareness and providing information about Sexual Assault and Violence in and around the community of St. John’s. In November, we hosted an Awareness week for Sexual Assault and Violence at our school in relation to the numerous recent attacks against young women in our community . Each day at lunch time or after school we hosted an activity to get our school and community population involved in our efforts. Whether it be a fast paced self-defence class or an oral presentation on the realities of Sexual Violence , the positive response from all those who participated was confirmation that our goal of raising awareness on this issue had been attained!

I believe that the Interact club at Holy Heart is an integral part of our school community. With a population of about 1150 students, it is often hard feel a sense of community with others who share the same passion to make a difference. Our Club opens its doors to all those with a hunger for change and prosperity within our school and we bring this passion out into our community and ultimately the rest of the world.

Personal reflection:

As a first year student at Holy Heart and a first time member of the club, Interact has taught me that a positive attitude and strong problem solving skills will help you over come any obstacle. In taking initiative as a younger member I have gained the respect and trust from those senior members, resulting in more responsibility and leadership opportunities as the year has progressed. I have been able to refine my oral presentation skills, while gaining confidence in speaking in front of older students and presenting my ideas with confidence within the group.

The skills I have developed in the environment of this club will help my in all life situations. I strongly believe that a profound confidence in self is the key to success in any situation.

My ultimate goal in life is to help others, a passion I have had for as long as I can remember. I am striving to be a Doctor as one of my life goals. My dream would be to travel as a Doctor Without Borders to countries in turmoil to provide my skills as a doctor free of charge to those who are fighting for a chance to live from diseases that can be cured with simple treatment. My problem solving skills that I have developed in Interact club will be a great aid in coping with the gravity of the sick citizens of these countries.

My idea of the “ Ideal Citizen” would be someone who always looks beyond themselves in sight of the benefit of the community. This citizen would be confident, resourceful and always ready to help. A citizen of this calibre would have to instil the values of equality, leadership, education and goodwill within themselves and inspire others to withhold the same values. This “ideal” citizen would definitely have to be involved in the community and act as a standard for others to better themselves. I hope that someday I will become a citizen of this same standard and I look forward to the training I will receive from HORIZONS to help me achieve this goal !

Deirdre Halliday

Over the last few months I worked as a volunteer for Mr. Jim Locke’s municipal election campaign. Mr. Locke was running in the Mt. Pearl Municipal Election campaign for the one vacant Councilor seat that became available when Mayor Steve Kent was recently elected in the recent Provincial election. During this time I attended several meetings. At these meetings I saw first hand how an election campaign is run. It takes a lot of hard work, time and dedication. It takes a lot of dedicated volunteers that give a lot of their time supporting the candidate. The campaign has to be super organized as all streets in the entire City of Mt. Pearl had to be sorted and divided for flyer drops and phone calls etc. Throughout my time volunteering I delivered information flyers to nearby streets. There was a total of two flyer drops. The first flyer drop was an information flyer about Mr. Locke. The second flyer drop was information advising the residents the date of the election and their polling station. I also helped with obtaining names and phone numbers for each resident on each street for many of the sections that needed to be updated. A lot of work indeed!

On election night there was much excitement not only for the election campaign committee but also for the volunteers. Once the polling stations closed, the phone rang with the results at each polling station. The excitement grew. In all our hearts we knew that Mr. Locke would get elected. As the phone would ring, no one spoke, all you could think was “Will this poll make Mr. Locke our new Councilor?” Mr. Locke was elected and actually received more than half the votes!

I felt very privileged and honored that I helped with his campaign and contributed in some small way to his success, even though I might have only distributed flyers and researched information. It takes a lot of help from everyone to run a successful campaign. Each little bit makes such a difference and it made me feel so big inside. It is true what they say about volunteering, you do get a great sense of accomplishment and happiness knowing that you helped.

Since then, I have also started to volunteer at visiting a senior citizens home. I, along with a few other students at my school and Mr. Locke, visit a senior citizens home and play guitars and other musical instruments and have a sing along with the residents. I can see first hand how this brightens their day. It makes me feel very good to know that I’ve helped make their day a little brighter by just giving a small amount of my time on a weekend. Volunteering truly does make a difference!

Cody McLean

I am currently volunteering by helping organize a non – profit “Battle of The Bands” concert. The team of us, who are organizing it, have been meeting regularly over the past month. The concert is planned for the first weekend in March, at the CLB Armoury on Harvey Road. The “Battle” will be a competition between local youth talent where they get to show off their band’s musical skill in front of many other teens their age as well as other members of the community.

We decided to plan this event for several reasons. First, as a way to showcase the talent of our town’s local youth. Many teens have amazing musical ability and we want to show it off to everyone in the community, and to break the common stereotype that teens in bands are normally youth who just want to cause trouble and rebel. Second, we want to increase community spirit in the area, by getting a group of people together and providing with something that people of any age can enjoy listen to.

There are several skills I’m using to help get this event to go off with a success, leadership, organization, time management, communication and teamwork. Teamwork and communication are essential to putting this event together. Since there are a group of us that are planning the concert, we have to be able to trust each other and work together, as well as be able to communicate a message across to all of the team. These skills are something that takes time to learn how to do, and I know personally, every time I work in a group it helps me improve. This time was no exception, nonetheless it’s an amazing feeling for me to be able to meet new people and work with them. Especially when you can all come together and pull off a great event, which I’m hoping my team will be able to do when the concert is ready!

My long term goals in life are to go to university and get a degree, but I really want to eventually go into Event Planning business. This experience has helped me work toward this goal, because it’s exactly what I want to do on a smaller scale. Organizing this concert has helped show me what things have to be done to plan and coordinate activities.

An “ideal citizen” to me, is someone who gives back to the community whenever they can. It’s not necessarily someone who helps and volunteers every single day, at every spare moment. But someone who gives back and helps out whenever they can, someone who tries their best to give back to the community.

Hilary Moores

Location: Holy Trinity High School, Lynch’s Lane, Torbay, NL

Activity: Friends of the Gully Group (FOG
Description: In September of 2007, I joined an environmental group, called “The Friends of the Gully” at my school in Torbay. “Friends of the Gully” is a community project that our school has adopted. We meet once every seven day cycle, lunch time, to discuss ways to improve the quality of our environment and to come up with ideas to help keep the Torbay Gully clean. The Gully is located a short distance from the High School and we feel that it is important to preserve this area. The Gully Group has organized many fundraisers such as the school cake auction, where $1800 was raised, beach clean ups, field trips and much more. I attended the Ocean Net Conference in October 2007, where we received the Environmental Stewardship award, for our hard work and efforts in the Gully Project. Our newest initiative was to apply for the “Cape Farewell Youth Expedition” which is an arts and science project focused on climate change. I am a member of the “ground crew” which consists of 5 students who will play a lead role in organising projects related to the Cape Farewell contest. If we are chosen as the successful school, we will take part in an educational opportunity concerning climate change. The “Friends of the Gully” group has proven to be a successful one, creating awareness about our environment in our own back yard, and acting to change things.

1. How is this group/activity valuable to its community and our society?

“Friends of the Gully” is a valuable project for the Town of Torbay. The group is protecting an endangered gully area by preventing pollution or development from encroaching upon the gully itself. The project has opened the eyes of citizens of the Town and surrounding area to the importance of the gully to the ecosystem.

2. What skills were helpful in your work? Did you refine existing skills or develop new ones? How might you apply these newly discovered skills in other situations?

Various skills are needed as a Gully Group member. Being able to cooperate with others and work well as a team is important. The organization also requires good communication skills as we are constantly brainstorming for new ideas and possible projects. As a member of this group, I feel I have developed my communication skills and organization abilities. Volunteering with the Gully Group has helped me to acquire more confidence and a stronger work ethic towards something I am passionate about. I can use all of these skills in my everyday life.

3. What are your long-term goals? How does this experience connect to your long-term goals?

My long term goals are to continue promoting the importance of cleaning up our environment and to help people understand that we all have to do our part to prevent destruction of our planet. I would like to encourage my peers to get involved and to help improve the quality of our environment because if we refuse to act, it is our future that is in danger. I would like to one day further study the environment as well as study engineering, and choose a profession that requires both of these skills. This would be an ideal career for me, where I could put my leadership, and communication abilities to use.

4. Describe what you consider to be an “ideal citizen” of your community. What qualities do they possess? What values do they hold? Are they involved in the community?

An “ideal citizen,” thinks about the future and ways to ensure that it will be a safe and beautiful place to live in. Whether this means, getting involved in a school environmental group, taking the time to promote awareness about the importance of conserving our planet, or simply making a trip to the recycling center, anything helps. Everyone is capable of pitching in, and doing something good for their community. You simply need the determination and passion to do it.