Monday, December 18, 2006


How Becoming a Volunteer in FINALY Changed My Life by Brook Biggin

Here is a wonderful little note by a young Newfoundlander Labradorian who got involved in the future of this province and is all the better because of it as is the province and it's people.

There is hope and it is through wonderfully organized and involved organizations like FINALY (Futures in Newfoundland and Labrador's Youth) that we will realize our true potential either in or out of this federation.

How Becoming a Volunteer
Changed My Life
by Brook Biggin

Before becoming involved as a volunteer, I had no initiative, at all.
I had rendered myself completely inactive, planning to simply coast
through the rest of my high school career and then take the first
plane out of Newfoundland. I hated it there.

As far as I was concerned, it was nothing more than a memory of
what was once a prosperous land that had long ago lost all hope. I
looked around me and saw nothing but despair.
There weren’t any jobs. Socially, I felt that we were stuck back in
the 1950’s. The few industries that did seem to have any sort of life
did not interest me in the least bit.

It was hopeless, as far as I was concerned. There was no point to
care. What could I do, after all? I was only one person; a sixteen
year old guy that in no way fit the mould of a young radical.
Then, one day, I attended a RED (Regional Economic
Development) Ochre Youth Forum. I wasn’t there to become involved.
I didn’t really plan on learning anything. Instead, it was a
day off school.

However, as I was listening to what it was all about and saw young
people who were making a difference somehow, I was intrigued. I
began to think that perhaps this was something I could involve
myself in.

So, I jumped for it. Before the day was out, I was elected to the
RED Ochre Youth Council as the School Representative for
Roncalli Central High School in Port Saunders.
It was that day that I felt alive. I didn’t know why but I knew I felt
different. I was excited. A new day had come, for lack of a better

I didn’t know how but I knew that I could cause change. I decided
then that I would cause change. I didn’t realize then how right I
actually was.

At our first meeting, I came in with anticipation. I wanted to jump
aboard. I wanted to find out how, in all the negativity, we, as the
RED Ochre Youth Council, could make a difference. Before that
meeting was over, I was elected Chair of the Youth Council. It was
an exciting and daunting task all at once.

Today I look back on the RED Ochre Youth Council and find
myself only beginning to truly appreciate what an amazing
experience it was for me. I was given the chance to create change
when I thought there was nothing that I could do - when I thought
there was nothing that anyone could do.

There was change in others. Through the initiatives that the Youth
Council took on, many youth were able to see a truer view of what
Newfoundland and Labrador is. They were able to see that there
ARE opportunities in the province, even in their own local area.
Then, there was also a change in me, as an individual. I obtained
many skills that aid me even today in every aspect of my life. I
grew as a public speaker and a facilitator. My analytical skills
became more heightened. I became a leader.

Before I knew it, I was being struck left, right, and centre, with
opportunity after opportunity that I was able to take advantage of
because of my involvement with the Youth Council: I was elected
the Western Representative on the Board of Directors for FINALY!;
I was appointed to the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth
Advisory Committee by the Minister of Human Resources, Labour,
and Employment; sure, I even won a Youth Ventures Entrepreneur
of the Year Award!

All of these things came my way because of my involvement with a
Youth Council. The same can happen to you too.
If you choose to become involved, whether with a Youth Council or
another group, I feel confident saying that you will not regret it. If
you come in with an open mind and the approach that you will see
a change in the future of our province then you will not be

Above all, just realize: you all have the ability, to a much higher
degree than you may ever realize, to dictate what your future and
the future of those around you will look like.

Do not take that lightly. For, one day, you will have to look back at
your life and what you’ve done to contribute to your own personal
growth and to the growth and benefit of those around you.
Whether what you see fills you with joy and fulfillment or sadness
and regret is up to you. Just do something!

Now, as for me, I’m pursuing the dreams that have been laid in my
heart by someone much greater than myself. It’s an amazing thing.
I’ve been so blessed, with a very hefty scholarship (much due to
my work with the Youth Council) and with a reliable network of
people all across the country.

I look forward to continuing to impact the world so that it may
become, in some way, a little bit better than when I entered it. I
hope you do the same.

~ Brook Biggin
P.S. I would do it all over again, twice.

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