Volunteer Spotlight: Jake Rogalski
“My experience volunteering with youth has been very impactful… As someone who is looking to become a future educator for youth, it’s definitely been encouraging knowing that my passion is transparent; being a role-model and leader for these kids is an amazing feeling.”
Jake Rogalski, a husband, father of two, Port Coquitlam resident and active volunteer has dedicated himself to his community in hopes of mentoring and supporting youth in the City’s Recreation programs. On his road to become a high school teacher, Jake has become a key contributor to the PoCo Youth Crew and Youth Music Open Mic Night programs.
Jake began his work with PoCo’s youth when he stepped up to support the PoCo Youth Crew with their annual Halloween Howl event last October, providing guidance and support as the youth-led group worked to transform the Hyde Away Youth Activity Centre into a spooky haunted house for local children. “Jake would readily contribute to event planning but would help PYC find their own solutions as opposed to just providing them” explains Sukh Manku, the Youth Services Program Assistant who oversees the PoCo Youth Crew. “It was a pleasure having him help support the group and you can tell the youth loved having him around too.”
Since then, Jake has volunteered for the City’s Arts and Culture programs, helping to reinvigorate the Youth Music Open Mic Night program. Started and supported by the Friends of Leigh Square Society, a local non-profit that supports the Arts in Port Coquitlam, the Open Mic Program provides youth ages 13 to 18 a space to perform music, network with other performers, or just hang out and enjoy local talent. Nikki Hillman, Arts & Culture Program Assistant explains that Jake started off as an adult host to provide on-site support, but soon went above and beyond the job description in his efforts to advocate for the group: “He reached out on his own to local businesses to ask for donations and low rental rates of musical equipment for the group. When attendance was low, Jake reached out to the Friends of Leigh Square Society to ask for posters to help promote the program at local schools.” These new connections have since started conversation around the possibility of forming a Youth Arts Council to support the drop-in program and other resources for young artists in Port Coquitlam.
Despite working full time, having a family, coaching youth sports and taking university courses, Jake has remarkably made the time to commit himself to his community and in doing so, has been a huge support for Port Coquitlam’s youth programming.
The City of Port Coquitlam’s Recreation Department would like to thank Jake for making a positive impact in the community!
“One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time.” – Anonymous