Youth Volunteerism: Barriers and Breakthroughs

Help us kick off National Volunteer Week with this Vital Conversation!

On April 8th, come celebrate young people (aged 15-29) in our region that are engaged in diverse forms of community volunteerism, advocacy, and activism, and address the opportunities, challenges, and barriers to such work. Be inspired, get involved, have your voice heard, or simply discover how to better support these young leaders.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Seating is limited, so book your tickets today.


Eventbrite - Youth Volunteerism: Barriers and Breakthroughs


Who should attend?

This Vital Conversation is open to all community members. It may be especially valuable for:

  • all youth aged 15-29 years.
  • family members and friends who want to be able to better support their loved ones.
  • people and organizations that work with youth volunteers.

Meet the Panelists:

Megan Dewar
Megan studies at the University of Victoria in the departments of Environmental Studies, Sociology, and the Human Dimensions of Climate Change. She is particularly interested in how these areas of study intersect with food systems, and often focuses her efforts of social change here. She is currently engaging in initiatives to decrease food waste and increase food sovereignty through involvement in groups like the Community Cabbage, and through the development of an advocacy campaign called ‘the Bread,’ which uses a line of up-cycled & food themed T-shirts to generate conversation and awareness about the issues and possibilities of food systems.

Sharmarke Dubow
Sharmarke Dubow only recently gained Canadian citizenship in July, 2017. He arrived in Canada in 2012 after fleeing civil war in Somalia at the age of 8, Sharmarke was a refugee for 20 years until he got resettled to Canada.

Sharmarke Dubow cast his first vote in October 20, 2018, and at the same time was elected as a Victoria City Councillor. Sharmarke’s passion and commitment to diversity, inclusion, and building equitable and just communities and his work for immigrant and refugees at the local and national level has earned him a reputation as a respected community leader.

Chris-Ann Lake, Co-Manager – Vancouver Island Chapter, Surfrider Foundation Canada
Chris-Ann has been a member of Surfrider Foundation since 2015. She began volunteering as the volunteer coordinator for the organization, and after two years was asked to join staff to become the co-manager of the Vancouver Island chapter. Before working with Surfrider she was a campaigner, coordinator, and volunteer organizer for Greenpeace Canada. She is passionate about engaging and motivating volunteers to protect the environment and the rights of all people that depend on it. She loves nothing more than seeing young people get fired up about social justice issues and is passionate about giving tools to young activists. She herself is a forever student, currently working on completing her MA in Leadership and Organizational Change Management in social structures from Royal Roads.

Asiyah Robinson
Asiyah Robinson is a University of Victoria, B. Sc (Candidate), Global Community Student Advisory Council Member, and the Director of Youth Engagement for the World Partnership Walk. She is currently a student in her final year of her degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry at the University of Victoria. She moved to Victoria from the Bahamas in 2014 and since then she has become very involved in her surrounding community.

Matt Treble
Matt recently graduated from UVic’s Psychology program and is currently a Program Technician for Aquatics at Saanich Commonwealth Place. When he’s not working or studying, he can most likely be found mentoring youth with their science fair projects or pursuing other local volunteer opportunities. When he was in grade 12, he helped reinstate the Lambrick Park Genders & Sexualities Alliance and ultimately co-founded and organized the Love is Love Youth Pride Conference for 4 years (a by-youth-for-youth event celebrating LGBTQ+ pride).

What is a Vital Conversation?

A Vital Conversation is a community discussion aimed at fostering open dialogue about issues that matter to people in our region. Topics are connected to issues and trends identified in Victoria’s Vital Signs, our community’s annual check-up that measures the vitality of our region, identifies concerns, and supports action on issues that are critical to our quality of life.

The 2018 Victoria’s Vital Signs citizen survey told us that people aged 30 and under are:

    • more likely to have volunteered in social justice when compared to those than all other age brackets.
    • less likely to agree or strongly agree with the statement “I participate actively in my community of interest” compared to those aged 65+ years.
    • less likely to mention City administration efforts to engage citizens as working well compared to those aged 65+.
    • less likely to have volunteered at least once a month in the past year compared to those aged 45+.
    • less likely to have donated money to charity at least once a month in the past year compared to those aged 31-54 years.
    • less likely to agree or strongly agree with the statement “I feel I know my neighbours well enough to ask for help or offer assistance” compared to all other age brackets.
    • less likely to have never felt uncomfortable or out of place because of their religion, ethnicity, skin colour, culture, race, language, accent, disability, gender, or sexual orientation, compared to those aged 55+.
    • These statistics, as well as what we’ve heard from our community partners, tell us that bringing the community together to talk about volunteerism is timely and valuable.

This Vital Conversation is being hosted by the Victoria Foundation in partnership with Coast Capital Savings.

Questions or looking for more information?

Contact Emily Wiesenthal at the Victoria Foundation – or 250.381.5532.