Volunteer Spotlight: Melia Rokosh

Photo of Melia in the Michael Wright Art Gallery

“I loved the way it made me feel so accomplished to know that I was making a difference in their lives”

Melia, a grade 12 student at Riverside Secondary School, is passionate about staying active and helping others. When she’s not studying or volunteering, Melia enjoys hiking, geocaching, and spending time with family. She also loves to dance, something she has been practicing since she was 5 years old. These passions have made her a natural fit for the City’s Leisure Buddy program.

Since joining the City’s volunteer team in July 2019, Melia has volunteered in a number of day camps, swimming and skating lessons, providing one-on-one support to children participating who would struggle to successfully participate without a little extra support. This support can take the form of repeating instructions, providing gentle reminders, helping children to focus, or even giving them time away from the group when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Melia enjoys spending 1 on 1 time with children she wouldn’t have the opportunity to know otherwise and helping them to develop new skills. In speaking about the highlights of her experience as a Leisure Buddy, Melia tells us about a time this summer where she was supporting a child in summer camp. After noticing that her buddy was having a hard time connecting with other kids in the camp, Melia encouraged them to join in some small group activities and introduce themselves to others. She was delighted to see just how much happier her buddy was for the rest of the program after making some new friends.

Through her time volunteering in our programs, Melia has proven reliable, caring, and empathetic to each of the children she’s supported. From volunteering to take on last-minute requests, to supporting different participants in back-to- back skating lessons to give multiple participants an opportunity to improve their skill, Melia’s work ethic and compassion for others are remarkable. She has also shared that she has a photographic memory when it comes to dates – she is able to remember specific dates, what happened on those dates, what day of the week it was and even what someone else was wearing!

All of these incredible qualities should be valuable assets as Melia pursues a career in medicine. Just this season, she was chosen by to participate in Encounters with Canada, a program that allows students to travel to Ottawa to learn more about career options in the health field, where she learned about medical laboratories and even got to hold a human heart! We can’t wait to see what she accomplishes in the future.

The City of Port Coquitlam’s Recreation Department would like to thank Melia for making a positive impact in the community!

 “When you judge someone based on a diagnosis you miss out on their abilities, beauty and uniqueness” – Unknown