Thousands of volunteers give generously of their time to support St John Ambulance across the country each and every year. Today, the Peel Dufferin Branch would like to recognize the efforts of one such example: Marc Dexter Memorial Scholarship recipient Rachel Ty. Jason Repovs of our board of directors recently sat down with her to learn about how St John Ambulance has impacted her personally.
J: So Rachel, I understand you just finished up studies. Where did you go to school, and what were you studying there?
R: I just finished my last semester in Second Entry Nursing at Humber College. The program is a collaboration between Humber and the University of New Brunswick. It’s a two-year program, and is only offered to those with previous degrees. I’m trying to combine this with my undergrad degree in Biotechnology to become a Registered Nurse.
J: That’s fantastic! Is that what led you to originally want to get involved with St John Ambulance?
R: Yes, I’ve known ever since high school that I wanted to work in medicine and the health sector. I had to get my volunteer hours as a high schooler, but I wanted to get them in a way that helped me build skills. I spoke with a representative of St John Ambulance at my school’s volunteer fair, and it checked all the boxes for me.
J: Makes sense. And how long have you been volunteering with St. John Ambulance now?
R: I’ve been volunteering for nine years, on-and-off. I started back in 2011, as part of the Youth Leadership Program. Since then though, I’ve taken on other roles, moving into being a trained Medical First Responder that volunteered at the 2015 Para Pan-Am Games, before volunteering as part of the Outreach and Education Committee to help spread the word about the organization.
J: Sounds like your experience with St. John Ambulance has come full circle! So how would you say that your volunteer experience has impacted you personally?
R: I’ve come a long way in terms of self-confidence; I’m more confident in who I am and what I’m capable of. At the Para Pan-Am Games, I was called on to assist someone who had fainted, and seeing the way my skills kicked in almost automatically, I realized the value of my training. It made me fall even more in love with the health care sector. Beyond that though, I’ve built many deep, lasting relationships with my fellow volunteers over the years.
J: That’s a wonderful perspective to take. So relating your volunteer experience to your career aspirations, would you say you’ve picked up some transferable skills along the way?
R: Definitely. Beyond the hard skills of first aid and medical first response, I also learned teamwork, communication, empathy and compassion. I learned how to deal with stressful situations, and even got more comfortable with public speaking while volunteering with the Outreach and Education Committee!
J: Great to hear! Before we leave off, do you have any advice to offer other youth who might be thinking about volunteering their time?
R: Don’t hesitate to get started, but join an organization that will support you and help you grow. It should help you achieve your dreams, goals and passions. St John Ambulance checked those boxes for me. I learned valuable hard skills like how to save a life, but also soft skills like communication, teamwork and leadership.
J: Great, thanks so much for your time Rachel, and all the best as you advance your career in nursing!