Volunteer Profiles

Volunteer Profiles

The City of St. John's has many amazing volunteers. Here are just a few of their stories:

Youth Engagement Action Team (YEAT)
The City recruited a team of youth volunteers, ages 15 to 35, for a Youth Engagement Action Team to help the us better understand why youth do not actively engage in civic matters and make recommendations on how to improve engagement. One of the City's strategic directions to create a Connected City; increasing and improving opportunities for residents to connect with each other and the City is one way to work towards this goal. 

“City Council recognizes that youth have a lot at stake whenever decisions are made at City Hall,” said Maggie Burton, Council lead for the Youth Advisory Committee.  “We want young voices to be better heard, so we are recruiting volunteers for an action team that will help us better engage with this demographic.”

With the city’s aging population, it’s imperative to attract and retain young people to live and work in St. John’s, and to get this demographic more actively engaged in municipal matters and decision making. The team is currently gathering feedback from the community and will be preparing a final report with recommendations for Council.

Northern Youth Abroad
In 2020, 16-year-old Dawn Siutinar was welcomed to the Paul Reynolds Children & Youth Team as a youth delegate for the Northern Youth Abroad Program.

Dawn volunteered for 5 weeks. Dawn really enjoyed volunteering with children and has an interest in recreation and love of sports. She comes from the rural community of Coral Harbor, Nunavut with just under 900 residents.

We are so excited to have supported her in this adventure and provide her with opportunities to exchange cultures. 

Win-Win in Our Adults and Seniors Program
Marie Ryall has been volunteering with the City’s Adult and Seniors Programs since 2001. Marie has always wanted to stay active and involved by volunteering in her community. 

“It is a great satisfaction being able to help others in various activities," says Marie. "Volunteering is a win-win situation. I have made so many new friends and by helping others, you are helping yourself. It is so rewarding and gratifying to know you’re put a smile on someone’s face and that they truly appreciate your time and friendship. If they are happy, that makes you happy. I would encourage anyone to volunteer. If you want some purpose and fulfillment in your life, then volunteer."

From Junior Volunteer Lifeguards to Staff Positions
Matthew Whelan, Emily Butler and Rebecca Vickers have something in common.  They all have a passion for aquatics, they completed their swim lesson program and joined the City of St. John’s Volunteer Junior Lifeguard Program and are now current aquatic staff members with the City of St. John’s, Recreation Division.

Leslie White, Program Supervisor, Dept of Recreation noted, “We implemented our Volunteer Junior Lifeguard Program three years ago and it has really boomed in interest.  We wanted to give our youth the opportunity to experience what our aquatic staff do on a day and day basis and to stimulate our participants to pursue an interest in the area of professional lifeguarding.”

Currently the City’s Volunteer Junior Lifeguard Program has 50 youth registered at the Mews and Paul Reynolds pools and staff expect that number to increase once the outdoor pools at Bowring and Bannerman Park open.

“I started swimming at an early age and I always loved going to the pool," said Rebecca. "My Red Cross swimming instructors always encouraged me to do my best and as soon as I heard about the Volunteer Junior Lifeguard Program, I applied right away.”

Participants can expect to be exposed to physical training, simulated emergency situations as well as on deck pool surveillance training. Emily Butler noted “I loved how hands on my volunteer experience was.  We volunteer side by side with a professional lifeguard doing all the task assigned to them. We were always very busy, and it gave me a better idea what to expect when I pursued employment as a lifeguard.”

Matthew Whelan, who began volunteering in February of 2018 noted, “I really enjoyed learning how the pool operates day to day.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the staff who were so supportive of the volunteer lifeguards. The City’s aquatic staff truly made my volunteer experience so valuable.”

Paul Reynolds Community Garden
In 2019, youth volunteers took on a Community Garden beatification project.

As a way to promote the community garden, several youth painted the garden beds with multiple vegetables that some of our residents were known to be growing. It was incredible to showcase our volunteer’s artistic talents in a way that brings life and beauty to our community.

Come check it out at the Paul Reynolds Community Centre!