Josh Szaszkiewicz has gone above and beyond the call of volunteer duty by creating a guitar program for youth in CASA’s in-patient program, CASA House.
How long have you been a volunteer with CASA?
I started developing the guitar program in early summer 2020, but I have actively been teaching guitar at CASA since august 2020.
What motivated you to get involved as a volunteer? What attracted you to CASA?
During COVID I was so incredibly inspired seeing so many people come together to make a difference in the community. I knew I had a personal responsibility to try and help out in whatever way I could and was inclined to collaborate with CASA because my own personal experiences have shown me how important it is to nurture mental health in order to live a balanced and functional life. Additionally, when I was adolescent, I was lucky enough to have some positive role models in my life who really helped me develop into the person I am today, and I wanted to try and be that positive influence toward the youth at CASA.
Can you describe your volunteer involvement at CASA and what program you support?
I was lucky enough to receive the #RisingYouth grant from the Canadian government in order to create and implement a community service project. Thankfully, CASA was open to working with me and together we developed a guitar program where the youth at CASA would have access to musical equipment and guitar lessons free of charge. As a result of the guitar program, 5 guitars with cases have been donated to the CASA House facility and weekly guitar lessons have been regularly taking place!
What would you say is your biggest gain from volunteering at CASA? Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?
My biggest gain from volunteering with CASA has to definitely be seeing my guitar students at CASA House develop their guitar skills and have a lot of fun while doing so. As the weeks go by and I get to know my students better, it’s really a pleasure to be able to spark their interest in guitar and be able to connect and have fun with them through music.
With so many great organizations to support, why should others choose to support CASA?
I believe others should choose to support CASA because you really have the opportunity as a volunteer to make a direct positive impact in the lives of the youth at CASA. I think that sometimes can be a rare volunteer opportunity in other organizations where you may work more behind the scenes, but at CASA being able to interact and share your own experiences and talents with the youth there, and also hear about their stories and interests feels so rewarding. When I walk out of the CASA House after a guitar a lesson, I just have the best feeling inside and can’t wait to come back again.
How do you take care of your mental health?
I do a variety of things to take care of my mental health including exercise, reading, and of course playing the guitar. I think the most important thing I do to take of my health is to spend time on my hobbies. No matter how busy I get I always create time for my hobbies, because I know that doing what I enjoy helps me relax, de-stress, and gives me fulfillment.
If you were superhero, what would your superpower be? OR If you were any animal, what would you be and why?
If I was a superhero, my superpower would be the ability to teleport. I love adventure and seeing new places, trying new things, and eating different foods. In the future a goal of mine is to travel and see more of the world. The ability to teleport would really help facilitate that goal.