Volunteer Spotlight: Emma-Jane Richards
“I’ve learned a lot about myself while volunteering with PYC. I’ve gained a lot more confidence as a person; I’m no longer hesitant to voice my opinion on topics and experiences that matter to me.”
Emma-Jane, a Grade 11 student at Terry Fox Secondary, has been an active volunteer in Port Coquitlam’s Youth Services area for three and a half years. She has been an instrumental part of the success of the PoCo Youth Crew (PYC), a youth-led volunteer group dedicated to spreading happiness and optimism in the community of Port Coquitlam.
Since enrolling as a volunteer in PoCo Youth Crew her Grade 9 year, Emma has helped out with a wide variety of community projects and events in Port Coquitlam, including the Halloween Howl, Holiday Turkey Dinner, Kindness Counts Breakfast, Youth Serving Youth initiatives, the PoCo Grand Prix and engaging seniors at Hawthorne Seniors Care.
Emma-Jane’s initial interest in volunteering came from her friends spreading the word about PYC and their initiatives. She decided to apply as a volunteer and sit in a couple PYC meetings. “After the first planning session I knew right away that I wanted to be part of it,” states Emma-Jane.
One of Emma’s favorite community-based projects that she has contributed to is Port Coquitlam’s Youth Halloween Haunted House. PYC members come together to turn Hyde Creek’s Youth Centre into a spooky haunted house for children and their families to walk through and enjoy during Port Coquitlam’s yearly Halloween Howl Event. Emma recounts that “seeing all the hard work we put into transforming the youth center into a haunted house pay off, and being able to see the kid’s reactions was awesome.”
Sukh Manku, the Youth Services Program Assistant who oversees the PoCo Youth Crew, says that he’s seen Emma continue to grow as a leader in the year he’s worked with her through the program. “Emma-Jane always has a very positive attitude towards her volunteer work; she actively contributes with ideas for community projects and persistently volunteers to write meeting minutes and take notes during PYC group discussions. She’s also very open to sharing her knowledge and experiences to non-experienced members, which is amazing.”
When she’s not at school, volunteering with PYC, or working as a Host at Red Robin, Emma enjoys photography. She recently had the opportunity for her first professional gig, acting as the photographer for a friend’s staff party. She hopes to be able to continue to develop her skills and explore further professional opportunities.
Emma has proven to be a dedicated, enthusiastic and dependable volunteer, who has made a wonderful impact on the community she’s has dedicated herself to. Emma-Jane has put forth a consistent effort every time she has volunteered, providing exceptional support in fostering a positive and accessible atmosphere for youth participants.
The City of Port Coquitlam’s Recreation Department would like to thank Emma-Jane for making a positive impact in the community!
“You’re never too young to change the world.” – Anonymous