– By Sheila Biggers, President & CEO of JA British Columbia

JA volunteers can make a difference in young people’s lives. And now more than ever, there is significant demand from educators to have volunteers deliver JA programs to their classes. Volunteers are at the heart of the life-changing experiences we deliver and by sharing their personal and professional experiences, they set students up for success.

As an organization, we are working to bring more of these inspiring individuals into the classroom.

I recently connected with Robyn Chisholm, Scotiabank Regional Vice President & Head Commercial Banking B.C. and Yukon. As a classroom volunteer and JA British Columbia Board Member, we discussed her passion for volunteering and why she thinks you should volunteer with JABC.

Q & A on Volunteering

Sheila: What first sparked your interest in becoming a volunteer with JABC and how long have you been doing so?

Robyn: I’ve been a volunteer with JABC for about 11 or 12 years now. I have always believed in the importance of youth education but when my son was entering elementary school, I wanted to find more ways to give back and was connected to the mission of JABC. My passion for volunteering was amplified by Scotiabank’s support for volunteering in the community.

Sheila: How has your experience volunteering with JABC impacted you personally?

Robyn: It’s made such a big impact! Volunteers are critical for not-for-profit impact organizations like JABC that rely on them to deliver services. You see the connection between putting up your hand to deliver a program and the immediate impact to the classroom. I often think I’m more inspired than the kids in the classroom – it has a wonderful effect!

Sheila: Tell us about a particularly memorable moment or experience while volunteering with JABC?

Robyn: There are so many memorable moments with JABC. Every time I go into a classroom, there is always a particular student that really stands out to me, usually because of their passion. If I had to pick the most memorable moment, it would be when I was delivering the Our Business World program. One of the students came up to me after and told me how since we started, he’s been sitting with his Dad at night to watch BNN and they talk about all the things he’s learning in the JA program.

It was really touching because he was finding so much value in the program, but also taking it home and creating memories with his family. You just never know the impact you’re having in the moment. You see the power of the programs and it just makes you want to deliver more and create more of that impact.

Sheila: Can you speak to the benefits of volunteering with JABC, both for the students and for yourself?

Robyn: For the students, there’s a program for all ages starting in Grade 4, all the way through Grade 12. The programs are free to classrooms but offer so much in terms of work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship. I love how the programs continue to evolve to meet the needs to new industries – and can be applied in a practical way, particularly with the capstone experiences.

For myself, there are so many benefits to volunteering with JABC. I mentioned how passionate I am about youth education and to see it in real time is so rewarding. There is no downside – you can volunteer as much as your schedule allows, and once you do, you want to do it again and again! For those who are working on public speaking, this can be a safe way to practice – the kids will put you at ease every time!

Sheila: What advice would you give to someone who is considering volunteering for JABC?

Robyn: Just do it!

Thank you, Robyn, for investing in the next generation!

Sheila Biggers

If you have not volunteered before, learn more at jabc.org/volunteer.

If you would like to return to volunteering, please fill out this short form and we will follow up with you.