While most of students are struggling with balancing their life and procrastination, there are many who volunteer for activities in and outside of Algonquin.
Some of them were honoured at the awards gala night on March 29, and one of them was Jacob Veley.
“I’m part of the Purple Coach here, and basically, you go around with the purple coaches and you talk to people,” said Veley, a second-year police foundations student. “I did that a couple of hours a week.
“We would talk about absolutely anything, like ‘How’s your day going?’ and so on,” said Veley. “It’s focused on mental health and because it’s done by students, a lot of students feel more comfortable to sit down and talk than with a councillor or a professor.”
Veley is somewhat a veteran volunteer within the police foundations program. His volunteering also involves Light the Night Walk – a fundraising event dedicated to leukemia and lymphoma patients across Canada.
Another outstanding volunteer is Anastasia Kungurova, who is also from the police foundations program.
“I’ve done being the barricade for so many events,” said Kungurova. “We made sure that no one gets into wrong traffic, no car crosses the barricade and when they’re detouring we told them where to go.
“But the most fun event is riot training,” continued Kungurova. “Police officers brought us to Petawawa and we acted as protesters, we were helping them practice their formation.”
Veley and Kungurova are among more than 30 student volunteers nominated for this year’s Student Volunteer Awards. There are four categories of awards emphasized on four different aspects of volunteerism, namely, Dedication and Involvement, Community Impact, Outstanding Leadership and the most honorable Volunteer of the Year.
Any Algonquin students or staff, or a community organization, is eligible to nominate a volunteer for the award.
“The people that I nominate have demonstrated that they have a sincere interest in the betterment of our community and they’re not just doing it to make their resumes look impressive,” said Tess Porter, a police foundations professor.
Police foundations easily has the most nominees among all other programs, since volunteerism is strongly encouraged by the instructors. Three out four winners from the last year’s awards are police foundation students.
“When I first joined the program, they (the professors) really emphasized the volunteering as important if you want a career in policing,” said Veley. “I wanted a career in policing, so I figured I’d take every opportunity to volunteer.”
“We do our best to make these opportunities available to the students so they can take advantage of them,” said Jill Reeves, a police foundations professor.
Nevertheless, volunteering is not an official part of the curriculum, and student volunteers must find a way to balance their time.
“I guess that’s part of developing life skills: not saying yes to everything and biting off more than they can chew,” said Reeves.
“I’d love to be a part of all those activities, but school comes first,” said Kungurova. “School is priority and whatever I can do around school I will do.”
For all it takes to engage in volunteering, it is easy to understand that volunteers don’t do it just to have good-looking profiles.
“Volunteering has definitely given me more communication skills. I had to talk to so many strangers,” said Veley.
“You feel good inside,” said Kungurova. “It’s about treating people the way you want to be treated.”