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Youth think outside the composting barrel

June 26 2013

Park Board Community Youth Worker Paul Czene says volunteers are vital. “We wouldn’t get as much done and it’s our staffing pipeline."

Sunset Community Centre youth worker and volunteers

Youth volunteers in Vancouver’s Sunset neighbourhood are getting valuable work experience … in addition to helping their community.

And two 17-year-old high school students—Dilaxan Sunthareswaran and Nitish Sharma—have taken on a leadership role by searching for a composter that would discourage rats and applying for and receiving a $500 Neighbourhood Small Grant from the Vancouver Foundation.

The money was used to purchase three rotating barrels (also called tumbling composters), which will be installed at Ross and Memorial South Parks and Sunset Community Centre where about 10 youth, including Dilaxan and Nitish, have recently taken up gardening.

“Composting is a great way for us to get involved with the parks and the environment,” says Dilaxan.

Nitish says the two plan to organize community events where they can explain their project and teach the community about composting.

Dilaxan and Nitish have each volunteered more than 200 hours at Sunset Community Centre, where Park Board Community Youth Worker Paul Czene says volunteers are vital.

“We wouldn’t get as much done and it’s our staffing pipeline. Many staff at Sunset started out as volunteers,” says Paul.

A recent volunteer orientation session had 50 youth in attendance.

“Volunteers need to be positive, outgoing, reliable and willing to take risks and get outside their comfort zone exactly like Dilaxan and Nitish,” says Paul.