Donna-Lynn Rosa has volunteered at numerous places over the past 35 years. What is even more impressive is that she does even through her position as Director of Recreation and Culture, for the City of Brampton.
Donna-Lynn started volunteering when she was only a teenager. Her parents were actively involved in the community by helping out with elections and coaching various sports teams, including teams that Donna-Lynn’s siblings were on. It wasn’t until her late teens that she decided to volunteer on her own. It started as a family activity that she enjoyed and continued on with it into her adult life.
One of the many reasons she said as to why she volunteers so much is because of all the great opportunities it has brought her. It gives her a great sense of accomplishment, a sense of achievement, and participating in events she normally wouldn’t participate in. A great example is when she was volunteering during the Special Olympics and was able to help the Olympians. Another great aspect of volunteering is how much one can build their social network and being able to network with different people who you might not have met otherwise. In Donna-Lynn's case, the parents of the kids she coaches have become her friends.
A few of the groups of people she has worked with, some mentioned above, are kids, seniors, people with special needs, and Olympians. It is through volunteering that she realized she gets way more out of it then she can give. Volunteering allows her to participate in and experience different events she wouldn’t have had the opportunity otherwise. Through the various events, she has been able to inspire people, encourage them and share in their achievements. She also states: “I have learned more about myself and my community around me, about being a good parent. It has helped me understand people better and what motivates them. It also allows me to further develop my passion for understanding people.”
Some of her greatest accomplishments in life come from her volunteering. One of them through coaching a kids hockey team for 20 years, and in those years some of those kids have even gone on to join Team Canada. It is not about the fame for Donna-Lynn, what she truly values and what she hopes to accomplish is to influence their lives in a positive way. If she sees any of the kids she used to coach, and they are doing well in their life and their career, they sometimes attribute some of their accomplishments to her and the lessons she taught them while growing up.
Some advice that she has for anyone who is looking to volunteer is simply to follow your passion. If you do not know what your passion is yet, examine what you do in your spare time and what interests you. For Donna-Lynn, her interest was in sports so this was a natural fit for her as a volunteer. No matter what you are interested in, then you will be able to find a volunteer opportunity.
Donna-Lynn only wishes she was able to volunteer more for various events, but for her she doesn’t even consider this to be volunteering, it is simply something that she has incorporated into her everyday life.
Written by: Andrew Dmytrasz