Q & A on Volunteering
Sheila: What initially ignited your interest in volunteering with JABC and how long have you been involved?
Curtis: I first volunteered to deliver programs for JABC in 2005. I have always been struck by the gap that exists between the formalized teaching of financial concepts and literacy and the need. As adults, we all need to run our personal (and business) financial affairs effectively and much of our institutional curriculum is silent on this.
Sheila: In what ways has your personal life been influenced by your volunteer experience with JABC?
Curtis: There is always the deep, personal satisfaction that comes from applying one’s skills and talents to help enable our youth towards success. In addition, I have placed a very heavy priority on developing high-level skills in audience engagement and public speaking. My belief is these skills are highly contributory to increasing one’s self-confidence and esteem as well as being able to rise above the ranks in a workplace. Being able to deliver programs for JABC gave me a very good outlet to practice my speaking and audience engagement and to elevate my personal effectiveness.
Sheila: Could you share a specific experience or moment that stands out to you from your time volunteering with JABC?
Curtis: I once delivered a program for Grade 10 students and one of the exercises was to get the students to gather information about the costs of living– rent, buying a car, food, etc. We brought in newspapers, ads and flyers as a means of providing current information. This was before everyone had a computer in their pocket and I’m sure the classes don’t feature newspaper flyers anymore!
Sheila: Please convey the advantages of volunteering with JABC, both for you and for the students involved?
Curtis: Students need to be more financially aware. Financial literacy is a necessary skill and can be a source of personal strength if well-managed. JABC also prioritizes entrepreneurialism as a potential career path and B.C. needs more entrepreneurs who have the inspiration and drive to go out and start (or assume) many of the small and medium businesses that underpin our communities and economy. For professionals, part of our view of defining success needs to include that which we ‘give back’ to others. We can build a culture where each generation cares about the health, welfare and prosperity for everyone.
Sheila: What advice would you give to someone who is considering volunteering for JABC?
Curtis: Just do it! Don’t overthink your schedule, your anxiousness of standing in front of a student audience or the ‘what’s in it for me’ factor. Five minutes after you wrap up your volunteer effort, you will feel a great sense of pride, having contributed, even in a small way, to the greater prosperity of B.C.’s youth!