Volunteer Opportunities at Richmond Youth Service Agency

banner6Are you passionate about diversity? Do you enjoy helping children, youth and families? Would you like to gain experience in creating an online newsletter?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, volunteering for Richmond Youth Service Agency (RYSA) might be for you!  RYSA – a leading provider of programs and services that are responsive to the diverse needs of children, youth and families in Richmond – is currently looking for some volunteers to lead a group of youth in developing an online newsletter for this school year.

Janet Woo, RYSA Manager of Resource Development, recently shared her thoughts on the volunteer opportunities at RYSA and on past SFU volunteers.

Q: What has been RYSA’s experience with past SFU volunteers?

A: We have had several SFU volunteers volunteer for us before and we have had great experience with them.  We had an SFU volunteer take on the Editor in Chief role for our youth newsletter team last year. She was very enthusiastic, motivational and hardworking.  We ended up hiring her for a summer student position afterward and she still works with us today on a part-time basis.

We also had another SFU volunteer who assisted us with creating graphics for the newsletter. She was very creative and set up some great graphics for the newsletter articles. After she finished volunteering with us, she worked in different companies to explore her career options. We then had a job opening for a Child & Youth Activities Worker and she applied and got the position!

Not all volunteers get jobs with RYSA, but these are examples of how our volunteers are kept in the loop about upcoming job opportunities and since we know what their skills and qualifications are, we would gladly give them a chance for an interview as we see fit.

Q: What would a “typical” shift look like for an RYSA volunteer?

A: Since we have several different volunteer positions at RYSA, there is no ‘typical’ volunteer shift.  However, for the online newsletter team volunteers, they will meet on Fridays from 6pm to 8pm. The team plans their newsletter in different stages.  In the brainstorming stage, the team will come up with a theme for the newsletter.  After they decide on a theme, they will brainstorm on what articles would be appropriate for this theme. During the next meeting, they might research for the article and write their first drafts. They will then submit their drafts to the editor for review. The editor will make suggestions and return the articles to the team. The next few meetings they will work on perfecting their articles and gathering graphics and photos.  Once the entire team submits their articles, our website coordinator will publish them online.

Our other volunteer positions include special events team called the “U-Do Crew”. This team is currently working on a winter holiday dinner for low-income families.  Therefore, their ‘typical’ volunteer shift would be project/event based. They will meet and decide what they need to work on to hold the event. During each shift, they will complete work that will ultimately help them achieve the final goal.

Come back for Part II of Janet’s interview tomorrow and hear what she has to say about the benefits of volunteering!

By Kelvin Claveria