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National Volunteer Week – Kevin Young gives back to his local Corner Brook, Newfoundland community

The theme of National Volunteer Week 2021, “The Value of One, The Power of Many,” aims to reflect on the amazing acts of kindness that happen when we all work together towards one common goal. This has never been more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even through these difficult times, what continues to stand out are the stories of compassion and humanity across every part of our country. We have truly recognized the impact that can be made through efforts both big and small when we all jump in to help make meaningful change in peoples’ lives.   

While COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the vital need to help others, for Kevin Young, a member of our Retail team in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, giving back is something he’s been intimately familiar with, long before the pandemic.

Kevin is someone who embodies what it means to be selfless and generous, giving back so much of his time to organizations and causes that are near and dear to his heart. In celebration of National Volunteer Week, he recently shed some light on his volunteering experience and provided a glimpse into why he gives back.  

Tell us a little bit about the organizations you support. We’d love to hear more about them!

I am a proud member of 2 local committees that I take great pride in, MADD Canada (Corner Brook chapter) and the Bay of Islands Youth Justice Committee.

With MADD, I take part in various fundraisers throughout the year and appear in various settings as an educator, in places like driving schools, colleges, etc., concerning impaired driving and it’s deep and profound consequences. This opportunity has a deep and emotional connection for me as I have lost more than one loved one due to impaired driving. One of my proudest moments came when I had the opportunity to represent our committee on a federal level and seek and receive approval for funding for a memorial bench that was erected in my hometown at “Memorial Square” in front of City Hall on December 7th, 2020.

As for my involvement with the Bay of Islands Youth Justice Committee I am honestly humbled by the reception I have received. I joined this committee in 2013. Like most in my community, I had no idea this committee existed and why. After joining this committee, I learnt about the importance committees like this have on the youth of our communities. In Canada, the Youth Criminal Justice Act provides youth first time offenders an opportunity to make amends for a wrongdoing outside of court and without receiving a criminal record. I can’t begin to tell you how important this has been for many youths and their families over the years. Two years after joining the Bay of Islands Youth Justice Committee, however, I noticed a staggering number of repeat offenders and how they didn’t really feel any remorse for what they had done.

This led to me creating the Victim Empathy Workshop that has been adopted provincewide! My hope was to teach our youth a valuable lesson I felt was not being afforded them. I am proud to share that since the implementation of my Victim Empathy Workshops, the reoffence rate has dropped to below 30%! In fact, I am sure last year’s results will be even lower once these statistics are released. This workshop has led to me being a keynote speaker during AGMs for Child and Senior Social Development, formally Child Youth Family Services) as well as a member of the team who rewrote the policy manual in our province as it pertains to all the committees. Three years ago, I was voted to the board as vice-chair and for the last two years, I’ve sat as chairperson of the board.

What inspires you to volunteer and give back to your community?

As you can imagine, volunteering takes up a lot of my time outside of work. I am married and I have 4 children. As a result, I am often asked why? Why do I volunteer so much?

First, I do it because I feel it is my civic duty to give back to the community that has been so gracious to me. I was not always such a “model citizen” but Corner Brook, NL has never turned its back on me. I also volunteer because, as a father, I want to teach my children the importance of doing good works for others, without having to be financially rewarded for it (my rewards come in many other, more important, and long-lasting, ways). Finally, I volunteer because I see meaning and purpose behind what such committees and organizations offer. I see how all these committees I volunteer with positively impact not only my life but that of the lives of so many more! From the NL Provincial Council in Rogers to the Bay of Islands Youth Justice Committee, I see great value and purpose. This is something I want to show my support and gratitude for.

Do you have any words of encouragement you’d like to share with others who are looking to become more involved with their community?

Personally, I feel there is no greater feeling than knowing you are part of something greater than yourself, something that will positively impact so many others for generations to come. I would encourage everyone, if you haven’t already, find ways in your community to volunteer, to be a part of something greater than yourself! You won’t regret it, I promise!