At age 22, Sarnia’s Jessica Carriere has already volunteered for five years, contributing regularly to three non-profit groups that mean a lot to her.
“I was in my first year of Police Foundations at Lambton College when I met Natalie Andrews who is president at Mothers’ Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Sarnia/Lambton,” she says.
“I heard her story about being hit by a drunk driver and I was so inspired by her, I thought how can I help the victims?”
She soon joined the local MADD chapter and is now vice president and director of education and awareness.
When she was 18, Carriere also joined Victim Services of Sarnia-Lambton as a crisis responder. She is also an OPP auxiliary member.
“Helping others has always been important to me,” she said. “It’s how I was raised by my grandparents.”
Carriere’s efforts recently earned her a Youth Ontario Volunteer Service Award from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.
Every year, the provincial government asks for nominees who deserve to be recognized for their dedicated service to an organization.
In Sarnia, 200 recipients will be honoured March 13 at the Dante Club. Many are chosen for their lengthy commitment to volunteering. Only a handful, like Carriere, will be recognized for volunteering at such a young age.
“MADD and my other volunteering is a huge part of my life,” said Carriere, who is a manager at Ewyn Studios weight-loss centre in Petrolia.
“I’ve learned so much from the people I volunteer with. You don’t volunteer to be recognized but this is the first award I’ve received and it’s pretty cool.”