This month we’re proud to feature a JA Ottawa volunteer: Jason Hunt! JA Ottawa teaches financial literacy and entrepreneurship to students from grades 6 through 12, and we rely on virtual volunteers to share their skills with the next generation.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Ottawa and lived in Orleans my entire life. Whenever you mention Orleans to anyone in Ottawa they look at you with sympathy thinking you live an hour from downtown – we’re 15 minutes away people! I work as an associate in the family office practice of First Avenue Investment Counsel. Our practice is focused on high net worth families. We are truly the trusted advisors and professionals in our clients’ lives which is an honour. Outside of work I have a small dog – a Biewer Terrier – named Jackie. While only 6 pounds, he holds his own with how stubborn he is. If you’re trying to track me down odds are you will find me training CrossFit in my garage gym.
2. What made you decide to volunteer with the ONFE Junior Achievement Program?
Education is so important to me. As a kid I was never a star athlete or standout artist. Where I was able to really shine was in the classroom. That feeling was so empowering to have a platform to show what I could do. There is no question that education is one of, if not the most, important determinant in quality of life in the future. That said, not every student in our community has all the resources and support to get the best education possible due to circumstances that are often out of their control. I want to do what I can to support them and give them the best chance possible.
3. What is your personal philosophy on life?
Firstly, it’s a certainty you are going to face significant setbacks. Looking back on my life if I could go back and avoid those setbacks I wouldn’t. While stressful and painful in the moment I look back on each one and see how they served as an inflection point in my life to learn more about myself and lead to something new (and often better). Secondly, it’s been said before but there is no substitute for hard work. Nearly everything I have accomplished in life is the direct result of embracing the grind and putting in the work.
4. If you had a time machine, what year would you travel to and why?
You know what – I don’t think I want to be anywhere but in the here and now. I really work hard on being present in the moment. I spend too much time anticipating and worrying about the future in my head.
5. For 24 hours, you can steal credit for any great piece of art, song, film, book etc. which one would you claim?
If could steal credit for any work I would most definitely steal credit for Roy Halliday’s career in the MLB. The reason I say that is not because I want to know what it would feel like to be one of the greatest pitchers in Blue Jays history but because of how Roy went through this career. I have so much respect for how he approached the preparation for each game, the self-discipline to put the work in and finally how he never took credit for some of his greatest achievements on the field. It never was about him – it was about his teammates playing behind him. Roy is a definite hero of mine.
6. What is your favorite hidden gem in Ottawa?
There is a small tailoring shop in Ottawa run by a tailor named Raymond. His shop is literally called “Raymond the Tailor”. He doesn’t advertise and he’s grown his business solely by word of mouth. When you say hidden gem, this is it. The shop is on George, in the basement under La Bottega – you really need to know where you’re going. Raymond is always so kind and welcoming and his work is top notch. Bring him a green tea and he’ll be extra happy to see you.
7. What was the single greatest lesson of this past year and what did it teach you about yourself?
We often tell people “I know how you feel” and can probably rationalize or reason how one would feel given a circumstance but until you live it, you don’t really know. The pandemic has been isolating and difficult for so many. The key lesson for me was to get some insight into how so many people feel in our community who are isolated and alone. I’m really working on making a point to check in on people I don’t reach out to enough just to say hello.
If you’re interested in volunteering for JA Ottawa, check out our program page.