Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This is MY story

By now, you might be thinking to yourself, "Who is this Amanda Olsheskie girl and how do I pronounce her last name?"  First of all, my last name is honestly pronounced exactly how it is spelled; just take a moment to look at it closely and spell it out.  Secondly, I am a 24-year-old woman who feels compelled to help the people in my community who need a helping hand the most.  I feel really fortunate to have found my genuine passion in life and hope that one day, when I am a little older and a little wiser, I will look back on my journey and be very proud of everything that I made happen.

Instead of me boring you, or wasting your valuable time (because we all know how valuable our time really is), I'm asking that you look at my professional profile on LinkedIn to see exactly what my journey looks like.  Click on my name, Amanda Olsheskie, and you will be directed to my public profile.  Easy, isn't it?  Now you can see how busy I've been over the past couple of years, working hard to gain the experience that is demanded to land a meaningful job.

Being a recent three-time graduate, I initially stepped onto the nonprofit field looking to gain experience, develop/strengthen skills and network with influential people.  While my commitment to the nonprofit sector goes beyond the WIIFM, it turns out there are a lot of people who view volunteering as a great way to gain experience.  In 2004, the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy published a manual to guide nonprofits through effective volunteer resource management.  One of the trends that were recognized was an increase in the job-skill motivation among volunteers.  The statistic that caught my eye the most is that "seventy-eight percent of unemployed youth believed that volunteering would improve their job prospects, up from 65% in 1997"(McClintock, 2004).  So why, then, aren't more communications being targeted towards our local youth?  From my personal experience, we are a great resource to add to any volunteer team and we need to start being engaged NOW.

While Chairing the Public Relations Committee at Habitat for Humanity North Simcoe, I was connected to another youth volunteer who was eager to get some work experience as well.  Little did we know that our partnership would turn into something BIG and that we would be granted $15,000 on the very first proposal we had ever wrote.  Her name is Danielle Desroches.  She is originally from Penetanguishene, is a University graduate and we were lucky to have her reach out to the Habitat team for volunteer work.  Danielle and I eventually tried to figure out a way to get paid for the work we love.  With the wheels turning, we actually filled in for one of Habitat's board members to learn more about the Rural Communities Development Fund.  This meeting was held at the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation (that's a mouthful) and the minute we heard "Internship", our eyes connected across the table and we knew that we could create a winning proposal.  And we did!

The important point to make note of is that today's youth need to be involved in nonprofit organizations for your benefit and for theirs.  I will be looking at several nonprofits in the North Simcoe area and identifying which, if any, target youth specifically and what has made their efforts successful.  Keep checking back for the inside scoop on targeting youth volunteers!




  1. Hi Amanda,
    Wish you all luck for your initiatives ..few people carry such off-beat passion as yours.
    Nice to know about it and shall look forward to more good news.
    Tc ..Annu

  2. Annu. Thank you for your kind words! It's great to know that you can feel my passion for the nonprofit sector. There will be much more inspiration to come.