Parents often encourage their children to get involved in different activities when they are young. It can be swimming lessons, music, or karate, to name a few. Occasionally the kids stick with it and continue with it throughout their adult lives, this was the case with Craig Ross.
When Craig was younger his parents encouraged him to volunteer as much as he could. He started out by joining his mom at nursing homes and continued through high school when he became politically active in maintaining funding for arts programs with his friends. He continued in law school where he became more politically active in keeping tuition fees down for students, as well as supporting opportunities for lower income students and tenant rights. Volunteering was something his mom instilled in him, it was something that was expected. It was through volunteering through high school and law school he realized the joy of volunteering in helping other people. In fact, most of his volunteering stemmed from looking at injustices that were occurring and wanting to stand up and do something about it.
Presently Craig spends most of his time volunteering in a variety of different capacities including, Vice President of the Board of Directors on the Board Executive Committee and Rights Review Committee, and donating 40 hours of his professional time as a lawyer to answer legal questions and share his expertise with families and individuals who are supported by Community Living Mississauga. Most of his volunteering tends to be at a director level because of his job as a lawyer as this is where he feels he can have the biggest effect on policies for the community and the province.
All of his volunteering has earned Craig the John Huether Award for Volunteering Excellence, in 2014, which was presented at Volunteer MBC’s 4th Annual Volunteer Recognition Awards Ceremony.
Why he continues to volunteer:
“It gives me a sense of fulfillment and it gives me a sense of purpose that my time is being well used. When I am volunteering, I am surrounded by great people who tend to have the same values because they are volunteering with you. I think it is a great way to spend your time because you are hanging out with people you can get along with and who have the same ideas as you. But more than that, when you take time to volunteer, even if you are busy, you tend to get more out of each moment, you value your time more.”
The best piece of advice Craig has for other people is to find a good mentor. Craig found his by luck, but says to look at the people who are close around you. Who are the people you spend the most time with, look at what they are doing and why they are doing what they do. Resources that have connections to other resources is a great place to start, like Volunteer MBC or community foundations. One last piece of advice that Craig has is, “In whatever you do, surround yourself with good people, make it fun, and get your friends and family involved.”
Written by: Andrew Dmytrasz