Jennifer discovered Pathways to Education when her employer, CAPREIT, was considering organizations to donate to. Hearing the stories of Pathways students—their successes and the challenges they faced—immediately resonated with Jennifer, whose family had experienced similar struggles when she was young. “I was in tears,” she recalls. “After the meeting, I asked if I could volunteer.”

When Jennifer began volunteering for Pathways, she looked forward to bonding with students over shared life experiences. She soon realized that the young people attending Pathways would come to change her perspective in profound ways. “I met so many strong and inspiring students at Pathways,” Jennifer recalls. “As a mother, I came in with my understanding of what it means to be young or successful. But after hearing stories from students about their life and their family, I thought, ‘You know what? It’s not the only definition’.”

While she’s learned a lot as a volunteer, Jennifer’s time at Pathways has also been a chance to share her skills and talents. For example, she often gives students tips and tricks to write clearly and convincingly. It’s a skill that she picked up in a leadership program at work, and one that is particularly handy for Pathways students preparing to write essays for post-secondary applications. “That’s definitely a skill I brought over from my mentor at CAPREIT,” Jennifer explains. “Edit your writing until only the most important information is left. I always share that tip with Pathways students!”

Whether online or in-person, Jennifer looks forward to continuing her volunteering work with Pathways youth. And students are not the only ones Jennifer is busy working with—she’s always talking to coworkers about joining her and volunteering at Pathways. “Volunteering is not about having a diploma or being trained as a teacher,” Jennifer explains. “The most important thing is putting your heart into it.”