Partnerships across international borders
YMCA of Northern Alberta
For Victor Do, it was a volunteer opportunity with his local YMCA during Fair Trade and World Environment Week in 2012 that sparked his interest in international partnerships.
Inspired by the partnerships the YMCA of Northern Alberta had with YMCAs in Bogota, Colombia and Ukraine, he approached Joleen Schmitt, a manager with the YMCA, with the idea of starting a new program that could help children with their homework. “Tutoring centres are very expensive and many families, especially those that receive help from the Opportunity Fund, could definitely use a program like this at the Y,” he says.
The result, “Homework Help” at the Jamie Platz Family YMCA and William Lutsky Family YMCA in Edmonton, was a success and has since been expanded to the YMCA Welcome Village and Castle Downs Family YMCA, also in Edmonton.
Full of enthusiasm and ideas, Victor also became a member of the Y’s Youth Advisory Council and now participates on the Young Leaders’ Advisory Council as well. “The latest project that I have been working on, as founder and President, is a new student group at the University of Alberta for the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign,” Victor explains. The group will focus on fundraising for YMCA partners in Bogota and Ukraine, volunteering at YMCA Strong Kids Campaign events, and educating others about the work the YMCA does internationally.
In 2013, Victor was recognized with a Youth Volunteer Award for his many contributions. “The YMCA has always been very supportive in my endeavours along the way and I am very thankful for the guidance in helping me get to where I am today,” he says.