Hello from Jasmine Cha
We have some amazing volunteers at UNAC-Calgary, and Jasmine Cha, Director of Innovation is one of them.
For National Volunteer Week, we had the pleasure of learning more about her and why she’s passionate about volunteering.
When did you get involved with UNAC-Calgary, and in what capacity?
I started with UNAC-Calgary in October of 2019 as a Social Media Contributor on the Communications Committee. I was completely new to the field of Communications but was patiently welcomed and taught and ended up taking over the Director of Communications role when my predecessor stepped down.
What drew you to get involved in UNAC-Calgary in particular?
While studying at University, I remembered enjoying the courses on community development and the sustainable development goals the most, but I pretty much forgot about them after entering the workforce.
It was after a layoff, however, that I was pushed to rethink my goals and priorities, and it was actually while volunteering for a women’s empowerment event that I connected with my passion once again.
I met someone who worked for the national UNAC office, and we talked about all the local opportunities here and how to get involved. It was through another mentor though, the present National Regional Representative of the Prairies, Mehreen Kapadia, that I got the chance to join UNAC-Calgary.
What is your role and what are some of initiatives and projects you’ve been involved with?
I currently hold the new role of Director of Innovation. Once we as UNAC-Calgary develop and launch more programming, I’ll be excited to measure and analyze the fruits of our labours.
I like to dabble with web design as a hobby, and a big and fairly new project that I’ve worked on is the new UNAC-Calgary website. By working on the redesign myself, UNAC-Calgary saved a lot of money that we can now put towards programming. It was an honour!
What motivates you to stay involved?
I’ve always been a do-gooder who believes in that Gandhi quote, “be the change you want to see in the world”. I enjoy being a part of what I believe in, and am excited to see it through to the end. It’s also amazing to see everyone else in their journeys, and you realize, (warning: incoming cheese) we’re all in this together!
In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does?
I feel like we at UNAC-Calgary will reach lots of Calgarians to realize the SDGs in our own backyard. Even if it’s through the education of youth and giving them the right tools to take their own action, I believe every impact is a big one that’ll lead to positive change.
Up to this point, we have been funding amazing efforts that align with the SDGs for programs led by the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation, Junior League of Calgary, Youth Central, GlobalFest and more. We’re always glad to support the effort of realizing the SDGs locally in Calgary, but I’m really eager and excited for what the future holds for us.
What other organizations or causes do you support?
I have had the opportunity to volunteer for many organizations whose causes I am passionate about.
Currently, along with UNAC-Calgary, I volunteer for the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning (IYAFP Canada), because I believe in sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. I mentor a young Rising Star at Wedu Global because the future is female. I’m an emergency responder for the Canadian Red Cross, and more recently I got involved with the International Telecommunication Union’s Generation Connect-Americas Team as a Facilitator to create a Call to Action document in hopes to focus ICT Development in the North and South America.
What message do you have to share about the importance of volunteerism?
There’s no universal reason for why you should volunteer — the act of volunteerism is wonderful enough.
Whether you volunteer your time in person or remotely to learn a new skill, to grow your network, or just to give back, at every opportunity, you gain as much as you give, and then some!