Ali Jenkins has recently joined the YCI team as our Volunteer Program Assistant. Ali comes to YCI as a recent graduate of Queen’s University’s Global Development Studies program. Ali realized her strong interest in international development after a brief stint in Ghana at the young age of 16. Interested in gaining more substantive experience, Ali spent 3 months last summer volunteering in Tanzania with an HIV/AIDS women’s group. Ali is excited to provide support to volunteers preparing to go overseas and is YCI’s resident fundraising guru!
How did you get involved in YCI?
I first heard of YCI during the library days of my undergrad degree while researching volunteerism. I had already been to Ghana, working on a community development project, and Tanzania, working with an HIV/AIDS women’s group. These experiences created my passion and intrigue in the role youth can have in collaborative development work. Peer-to-peer education and partnerships with youth-minded organizations abroad are the qualities that drew me to my position at YCI. I have been a volunteer abroad, so now I want to be a part of all the hard work that goes behind the scenes in preparing a volunteer for such a demanding, but incredible experience.
What does your position at YCI entail?
As Volunteer Program Assistant, I get the exciting task of talking to new, passionate, and innovative youth everyday! Every day is different because each volunteer has a unique style of approaching their work as they prepare to travel abroad. I love showing volunteers that monetary constraints need not inhibit you from pursuing any experience -there is always a way! I am actively involved in the fundraising process for volunteers and love being the positive voice that reminds them that their hard work and exciting events will pay off. Each time I see the projects volunteers will participate in and their enthusiasm for positive change I secretly hope they’ll let me sneak into their carry-on luggage!
What do you think is the biggest issue facing youth today?
The youth issue that most concerns me is the lack of opportunity. Whether in Tanzania or Canada youth struggle to find economic opportunity. I am passionate about understanding context-specific solutions to issues that we see as global trends. Youth need access to educational opportunities, whether formal or informal, that apply to where they live and will help them succeed in the long-term.
Outside of work, what are some of your favourite things to do?
Other than eating embarrassing amounts of sushi in my spare time, I am passionate about learning. Just because I finished my degree doesn’t mean I closed my mind and put the books away! Presently I am reading Shereen El Feki’s Sex and the Citadel, which has a very interesting perspective on present day Egypt. I believe the more open-minded I am the better I will be in social development work.