My relationship with volunteering began in the way that it did for many others: as part of a compulsory credit to graduate high school. While policy mandated that I spend 40 hours in the community before I could go to university, the task took on entirely new meaning once I began and between summers in high school, I made it point to spend time and give back. Upon graduation, I had racked up nearly 300 hours, and now volunteering has become a mainstay in my routine as I firmly believe that building a strong community helps build a brighter future for everyone.
Currently I sit on two boards, each representing a cause I am passionate about. As a member of the acquisitions committee for the Art Gallery of Mississauga, I am part of a small panel selected to assist in the rejuvenation of the gallery’s permanent collection. Alongside the head curator/director, members advise on potential acquisitions which help shape and design the future of the gallery. As Canada’s sixth largest city, Mississauga is in the midst of development and cementing its identity. The city’s residents represent a diverse, multi-ethnic, and multicultural demographic and the goal of the acquisitions committee is to create a collection that highlights this diversity, honouring both the past and present while also showcasing its hope for the future.
My love for the arts is also what propelled me towards my second board position as a board member for Arts Healing Hearts, an arts based group operating from Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, ON, which offers both musical and visual arts programming to patients and their families. Founded in 2013, the organization is expanding quickly and as part of the board of directors, I am responsible for guiding Arts Healing Hearts towards its next stage of development. Being a small team, the role is highly collaborative and something I am very proud to be a part of.
Outside of these roles, I also run a blog called Starts With Them, a site devoted primarily to issues of health, well being, and community. Borne from the sudden loss of my dad in 2015 to cancer, the site serves as a multi-faceted resource and aims to support those that are coping with loss.