YMCA Volunteers are Building Future Leaders, Strengthening our Community

YMCA Volunteers

From left to right, volunteer Heather Muir, Homework Club participants, and the YMCA Youth Council and Youth Leadership participants.

Volunteers at the YMCA of Greater Saint John are changing lives every day, and in so many different ways.

Heather Muir has been volunteering with the Child Care department for more than a year. The YMCA relies on volunteers like Heather to assist in children’s swimming time. Ratios in the pool are different than the classroom, and educators are very thankful for assistance on swim days.

“I used to actually teach swimming to kids,” Heather said. “When I saw this, I thought it was the perfect fit.”

When Elena Chavarria moved to Saint John, she also looked for a way to get involved in her new community. When she met with YMCA Newcomer Connections’ Volunteer Liaison, she was drawn to the opportunity to be a Homework Club Tutor.

“I have tutored before, so I wanted to be able to help high school students with their work,” Elena said. “Not only was it helping students, but it was also about helping newcomers, which – as a newcomer myself – I could relate to.”

Elena hopes that by helping kids discover how fun learning can be, she can encourage them to take advantage of every opportunity offered to them. And Elena’s not the only volunteer working to engage youth.

The 10 young professionals who serve on the YMCA Youth Council are creating change by volunteering to engage youth and expand on leadership development opportunities, while also identifying gaps in programming.

“I have seen future leaders be made while volunteering on the Y’s Youth Council,” said Kjeld-Mizpah Conyers-Steede, a UNBSJ student. “The saying that leaders are not born, they are made is being proven through the work of the YMCA.”