Valerie has recently joined YCI as the new Public Engagement and Outreach Assistant. This foodie and self-proclaimed music nerd has an Honours Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and European Studies from University of Toronto. Val looks forward to be involved in human rights education for development organizations. Between trying out new dishes and listening to new indie tracks, Val is cooking up her next travel adventure in some remote places.
How did you get involved with YCI?
As a graduate of the Post-Graduate Program in International Development Project Management at Humber College, I was often exposed to the work being done at YCI through their strong and complimentary relationship. Many previous students were largely part of the YCI alumni network, and would often come in and put on presentations of their volunteer experience with the organization, and how the skills of the program had prepared them or had been further developed. As such, I was interested in learning more on how NGOs operate, and decided to apply for an in-office internship in order to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of day-to-day operations of international NGOs.
What does your position at YCI entail?
In my role as Public Engagement and Outreach Assistant, I am responsible for reaching out to potential volunteers and young adults regarding our programs and opportunities for community engagement through recruitment fairs. I also prepare and arrange constructive activities and opportunities for our alumni volunteers, in order for them to stay connected with YCI. Administratively, I work on data analysis and updating reports, as we are reaching the end of our fiscal year. Furthermore, I have been largely responsible for managing and leading our Live Below the Line 2014 Campaign.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing youth today?
I think there is still a large lack of representation in regards to human rights issues around gender and access to education. I have found that there are a lot of great organizations doing really good work advocating for youth and youth rights, however, I find that there is still a gap in addressing specific needs that target different genders or ages. Whether it is through development or humanitarian work, we need to evaluate the underlying reasons that youth are unable to live out their full potential. Access to education for youth is a universal right, thus, the need to address these barriers, whether it be related to gender, social, economic or political, is vital. Furthermore, I think one of the biggest issues facing youth globally, is the job market. It is getting evermore difficult for youth of different ages and various levels of experience, to be a part of the global market and develop their livelihoods.
Outside of work, what are some of your favourite things to do?
I am a music nerd. I am constantly searching for new acts to check out or for great steals on ticket prices. I also love having great conversations over some great food! I try to make dinner dates with some friends, whenever I’m not busy running around from one work to the next. Checking out new restaurants and trying different dishes is always a great time! Other then that, I enjoy being outdoors, relaxing and planning future adventures with some friends.
– Valerie, Public Engagement and Outreach Assistant Winter/Spring 2014