Damanpreet Garcha, a participant in this year's Leadership Richmond - Youth Now program, talks a lot about opportunity, which says a lot about her. She's always looking for ways to grow, both personally and professionally. That's what attracted her to Youth Now: it was an opportunity to learn more about the non-profit sector, potentially jump-starting a future career.
During her time in the program, Damanpreet has remained open to new opportunities. While serving as a Board member with the City Centre Community Association, she was asked to chair the organization's Marketing Committee. And so now she does.
In life, one opportunity leads to another, creating a path. As you'll see, Damanpreet is forging her own, taking steps every day towards her goals.
My name is Damanpreet Garcha, and I am a Youth Leader in the Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives’ Youth Now program. Through the program’s mentorship piece, I was paired with a representative from the City Centre Community Association and was given the opportunity to serve on their Board of Directors.
I am a recent graduate of the BBA Marketing Management program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), and I have also obtained the NGOs & Non-Profit Studies Certificate from KPU. I have always aspired to work in the non-profit sector, so when I heard about Youth Now, I jumped at the chance to participate.
The Youth Now program has been a great opportunity for me. I really love how so many aspects are encompassed in one little program. Although my fellow Youth Leaders and I are in the peculiar position of being the first completely virtual cohort, I can say that I have seen growth in my peers, and I feel it within myself as well. Participants leave having become well-rounded non-profit professionals.
The top four things I have appreciated about the program are the mentorship, the conferences, the networking, and the leadership opportunities.
My mentor has been great at listening to what I have to say and putting me in situations I want to be in. I did not realize how much I would value this aspect of the program, but it has quickly become my favorite part.
A big component people do not realize with mentorship programs is that the mentors participating in them want to be there and give back. They're great resources to have in your life, and you should take full advantage of them.
The monthly conferences are another great aspect of the program. Conveniently scheduled on weekends, in a well-structured two-hour period, the conferences have been a great learning tool throughout Youth Now.
The reason I appreciate them so much is because they are curated to cover topics that are applicable in our placements with our organizations. For example, one of the conferences was on Robert’s Rules of Order, which are used on most non-profit boards.
Had we just been required to attend a conference on the topic and not been assigned a mentor from a non-profit organization, I would have forgotten the teachings shortly after the conference itself, but because we are on boards through the Youth Now program, I was able to put into practice what I learned about Robert’s Rules.
Networking happens in many ways throughout the program. As one of the six Leaders in my cohort, I have had the opportunity to meet five talented youth in the Richmond area who I get to see once a month for our conferences. We are provided opportunities to interact and learn from each other.
As a Board member for the City Centre Community Association, I have had the opportunity to meet a huge variety of individuals, including staff, customers, and other volunteers. All have been welcoming to me and another great resource for asking questions.
Lastly, the leadership opportunities have been life-changing. I did not expect that, as a mentee in this program, I would be granted so much trust as soon as I was. Within five months of my placement, I was asked to become Chair of the Marketing Committee, something that I could not believe would happen to me.
For me, as a recent Marketing graduate, the value of such an opportunity is indescribable, and it probably would not have happened had I not joined Youth Now.
I would highly recommend this program to all Richmond youth wanting to make a change in their community. The structure of the program will help you grow into a well-informed and experienced non-profit professional.
Leadership Richmond - Youth Now is funded by the Government of Canada's Canada Service Corps and Coast Capital Savings.