Written by: Natalie Jovanic

Kelsey Richard started volunteering for the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary in June 2016. While she started out on the Family Law Court floor at the Calgary Courts Centre, she is now volunteering in the Youth Mentorship program. She initially joined the organization to gain experience in the field and loved the legal aspect. Through volunteering, she also found that she enjoyed giving back to the community.

Kelsey leads a busy life: while volunteering, she is working full time and taking classes through the University of Victoria. Her goal is to obtain her Master’s degree and gain employment at Alberta Health Services Mental Health Diversion Program. In her spare time, Kelsey enjoys yoga and running by the river. If she finds time in her schedule, she finds herself going out to the mountains.

Volunteering set a new path for Kelsey’s life

Kelsey’s greatest insight from volunteering at the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary is to never judge a book by its cover. She found out that those you least expect can be the most loving and amazing people. Volunteering also taught her to step out of her comfort zone. Kelsey has learned a lot about herself, especially that she is capable of more than she originally thought. She has grown as a person and learned that everybody has a story. Volunteering has also influenced her career goals: while she initially learned lots about the legal system, she also gained knowledge in the mental health field which she has now realized she wants to pursue as her career.

Mentoring makes a difference for youth

Through her volunteering, Kelsey gained significant insight into the legal systems and family law as well as the laws and programs designed to support families. Kelsey’s role is very important as she is assisting youth in the community to make healthy choices. She takes her role seriously as she is aware that her mentees count on her. With youth she works with, she needs to show them that they have somebody in their life they can rely on. She finds volunteering can sometimes be emotionally difficult but in the end it is always rewarding. She fully recommends others to volunteer for Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary.

Building trustworthy and supportive connections

Kelsey absolutely loves her role as a mentor and her mentee has said they enjoy the time they spend together. Her mentee has expressed how important that their connection is. Kelsey feels touched when somebody is genuinely grateful and happy and she thinks the staff of the Elizabeth Fry Society is great because they are always in touch and eager to help.