Volunteer Appreciation Week is April 16-22 this year and we’re sharing a few of the very important roles that contribute to Easter Seals BC & Yukon.
Meet our Board Chair John Davies. John has a long history of volunteerism that goes back to being four years old walking around the neighbourhood with his mom raising money for the March of Dimes. Later in high school, he volunteered at school with peers with disabilities and in a local church with child care.
In 1988, while John attended university, he sat on his first Board of Directors for L’Arche of Greater Vancouver, and in the early 2000’s he volunteered in the children’s ministry of the church he attended.
In 1991, John started his first job as a social worker in Duncan, BC, in a new department of the provincial social services system serving individuals with cognitive disabilities. One of his first clients came into his office demanding that he go to Camp Shawnigan. This was John’s first introduction to Easter Seals. He took time to drive by the camp several times and always thought it looked like a great place, however he was restricted from volunteering given his government job.
Years later when he left government, Easter Seals made a reappearance in his life… John met a former Board Chair while doing some carpentry work for her. They realized they had a few things in common including working in the disability community. As they spoke more she reintroduced Easter Seals to him and asked if he was interested in working with the Board of Directors. John says “It was an easy “yes” for me. I had a lifetime of experience that equipped me and was waiting to be put to work. Here was the first opportunity.”
It was clear this board member saw something special in John. In his professional life John built supports, services and provincial policy to enable people with disabilities to be empowered to take control over their lives. That experience has been invaluable in the five years John has sat on the board for Easter Seals BC & Yukon as they help guide community towards being more inclusive.
Asked why volunteering is so important to John, he replied “As an employee and now an entrepreneur I serve people, but there’s always an agenda that is outside of my control. As a volunteer there is no other agenda than to serve in the best way possible. It’s my choice to given and be received. Passion and practical experience are what I have to offer. And it’s free. I can give it without the need for anything in return.”
Thank you John for the important work you are doing on the Easter Seals BC & Yukon Board.