“Volunteerism is extremely important to me, both professionally and personally. I volunteer on the Board of Directors for the Association of Volunteer Management Professionals Nova Scotia. I’m a founding member and I served as the Association’s first President. I am so proud to have been part of building an association for those who manage volunteers in professional or volunteer capacity.
“Why I wanted to initially work with Phoenix is two-fold. The first reason is because I had experienced first-hand the great work of Phoenix. Throughout my career in the non-profit sector, on many occasions I had the opportunity to work with Phoenix to provide resources and assistance to street involved youth. Secondly, Phoenix is known as a leader in the community for their work with youth and I had heard many positive comments about how Phoenix was a great place to work. As it turns out, the previous staff person at Phoenix in my position and I worked together as part of a Volunteer Coordinators Network. She was one of many who had great things to say about Phoenix.
“I’m glad I joined the Phoenix team because now my attitudes about youth have changed...in a very positive way. I realized that many of my biases where formed when I was young because, like many of the youth who come to Phoenix, I was taunted and teased by my peers because of my sexuality. My experiences had in fact been the catalyst to shape my own negative thoughts about youth. Now I see that I am not so different. I’ve been in their shoes. I can empathize and understand some of the challenges that many youth face. I can relate. Phoenix is very open and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. As someone who is part of that community, I hope I can be a role model for youth who share the same experiences.
“Phoenix is just an absolutely wonderful place to work. Everyone who is involved, whether it is staff or volunteers, is so committed, connected and believe whole-heartedly in what they do and in the youth that they work with. It’s wonderful to see the program staff and how they interact with the youth and how much love is there. You know that they aren’t here because it is a job, but they are here because they really, truly believe in the work they do. The people I work with are open and helpful - it’s a true team. Working for Phoenix leaves me with a sense of family.
“And, family is important to me. Last fall I married my partner in Vegas after nearly 22 years together. It’s supports like I have in my own family that are found in Phoenix too.
“The bottom line is that we are making a difference in the lives of the youth. What I do is just a small piece of the puzzle. What we all do together is making the future brighter for youth.
Mark oversees Phoenix’s Volunteer and Student Placement Programs as well as third party fund-raising. He’s been working at Phoenix since August, 2016.