Jessica Kristen Hines


After Degree, Human Ecology, Family Science major

Course: HECOL 301 (Fall 2022) with Instructor Deanna Williamson

Who was your community partner and can you describe the project objectives

Our group partnered with the Africans and African Descendant Friendship Club of St. Albert (AADFC). AADFC is a volunteer-led organization that holds regular social events year-round for the public with the intent of bringing together the African and African Caribbean people living in St. Albert, Alberta, and to give back to the community in meaningful ways.

As a group, we developed a volunteer onboarding program called "Commitment to Excellence: AADFC Volunteer Onboarding'', inspired by the words of AADFC's Founder and President Helen Agbonison. Commitment to Excellence was developed to provide a foundation for the organization in training new and returning volunteers in the values, goals and processes of AADFC, as well as supporting the skills needed to succeed.

What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement? 

I would say that my biggest takeaway is the extensive knowledge, collaboration, time and thought that goes into program planning and evaluation. 

Since this project was over an entire semester, each week we identified goals and outcomes so that we could set up multiple deadlines for ourselves. We did this to prevent having to sacrifice quality over quantity during the time crunch that comes at the end of the semester. One of these goals involved communicating and collaborating with Helen as we relied on her vast knowledge base in guiding us in our planning of each section of the volunteer onboarding sessions. 

Additionally, throughout the creation of our program plan for AADFC, our group discussed how we had to very much rewire our thinking towards the mindset that we are not planning the events ourselves, instead we were explaining how to go about planning each event.

How can you apply any newly gained knowledge/skills to your future endeavours (courses/employment/volunteering)?

This project was different from anything I have worked on before, which made it quite interesting and I appreciate being able to have this experience. 

I believe that the skills I have acquired and developed will be useful and transferable to any of my future endeavours.