Writers’ Exchange Volunteer Showcase - Jennifer Westoby

Exams are over (a collective sigh of relief is breathed) and there are ever-more snazzy volunteers to highlight. If you haven't seen our previous volunteer spotlights, you're missing out on some seriously joyful folks, so take a gander here and here. Adding to our rainbow roster of awesome, this week we're showing off our very own Jennifer Westoby! Jennifer regularly volunteers with our in-school programs. Outside of Writers’ Exchange, she is a social worker who works with a number of organizations, including the BC Council for Families.




Can you tell us a bit about how Writers' Exchange fits into your life?

Volunteering with WE fits easily into my life, as I can do it during the day when my kids are at school. [WE in-school program] shifts are flexible and short-term, so I can work, be a mom, and still volunteer!  I love working with the kids and helping them to discover their abilities to share ideas through the written word.  Seeing the kids smile when we come and when they see their [own work published in] books is always a treat. 


WE is an amazing program--so positive, fun, AND successful.  Proof that an organization can be encouraging, enthusiastic, and effective--we need more of this in the world!


What fun things have you done in the programs you’ve been volunteering in, recently?

I loved learning about Aboriginal culture in an in-school program we did at the Aboriginal Focus School. It was fun to help some of the kids connect more with their heritage.  And of course, the latest book we are doing on body noises at Grandview has been full of interesting sounds, laughter and learning!


Has anything about volunteering for Writers' Exchange surprised you?

I'm not sure if it is a surprise but more of a reminder that volunteering is a two-way street.  I learn a lot from the kids and other volunteers I work with about different ways to support kids and encourage them to feel good about themselves.  This helps me not just in my work but as a parent!


What is one thing you'd like to share about yourself?

Hmm.  Let's see... I play hockey.  I only learned to play (and skate, really) a few years ago, at the age of 44.  I feel that is a good example of how we always can learn new things, no matter how old we are.  


A big thanks to Jennifer for sharing a snapshot of her life and volunteer experience with us!