Do you love kids? Are you looking for a fun volunteer opportunity that can accommodate your schedule? You are in luck—the Boys and Girls Club may be exactly what you are looking for, and they are currently looking for volunteers for various programs. Tracy Stuart, the coordinator of the Learning Center at the Boys and Girls Club of SJ, was on the UNBSJ campus on Sept. 26 to speak with students about the organization.
After speaking with Stuart, I quickly realized that this non-profit organization has something unique going for it: the coordinators are very flexible and want to accommodate volunteers as much as possible. A former UNBSJ student herself, Stuart understands that students may not be able to commit a lot of time to a program, but she wants to include anyone who is willing to share their talents with kids in our community.
When first meeting a new volunteer, Stuart likes to find out what his or her interests are, so she can put you in contact with the best person to help you set up your own program. Creative individuals are welcome to share their talents and interests with kids from the community, “Whatever you like and want to do, if it’s knitting, arts and crafts, chess, Zumba, yoga, a particular sport, whatever,” says Stuart. Volunteers are encouraged to introduce their personal hobbies to children and youth in the program and may tailor their group to a specific age group.
The Boys and Girls Club operates a number of programs which students can help out with:
Daycare: Practice for your future life as a parent by hanging out with two to five year olds on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. These youngsters need volunteers to do crafts, play in the gym and go on field trips with them.
Hot Lunch Program: This is ideal for the casual volunteer who can’t commit every week. If you can only spare a lunch hour, help out once a month with serving lunch to 100 students from Prince Charles School.
Afterschool Program: Aimed at children in kindergarten to grade six, this afternoon program (1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.) has lots of room for volunteers to be creative and start their own program in areas such as art, music, or health and wellness.
Evening Youth Program: One of the largest programs offered, this is for children and youth aged five to 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Volunteers are desperately needed to offer lead art, music, and sports programming. Again, this is an opportunity to share your talents and favourite hobbies with others. For example, novice DJs are welcome to DJ on a Friday night at the weekly dance.
Learning Center: This is a tutoring/mentorship program that will be starting in October, running from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Volunteer tutors are paired with a child based on the age and subjects that you would like to tutor. All tutoring materials are provided by Stuart, but tutors are also welcome to bring their own supplies.
Students may also get involved with ongoing fundraising initiatives throughout the year.
This is an awesome opportunity for any student who would like to make a positive impact in the Saint John community. Due to the sensitive nature of working with a vulnerable population, prospective volunteers must fill out an application form with some sensitive questions, as well as provide three references from people who have known you for at least three years (one must be a family member). Volunteers will also be asked to provide a criminal record check and allow the Boys and Girls Club to complete a Social Development check. Don’t let these deter you from being part of a great organization! For more information, check out www.sjbgclub.com or contact Tracy Stuart at email@example.com or by phone at (506) 634-2011.