News & Stories

JA Volunteer Spotlight: Mike Wood

Our final 2022 volunteer spotlight features Mike Wood! Read on to learn more about Mike and why he decided to become a volunteer in our JA Ottawa program.

Here’s what ONFE’s Director of JA Ottawa, Albert Wong, had to say about Mike’s volunteer work: 

“Mike has graciously volunteered with JA, in French and English, throughout the pandemic and helped us develop our virtual programs. He is involved in so many positive initiatives in the community like Youth Futures, BGCO and 100 Men Who Care. Ottawa needs more amazing humans like him.”

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Windsor, Ontario and decided on the University of Ottawa for my post-secondary education to keep up my French. (I had spent my Grade 10 year in Dijon, France). As a skier, I also liked the idea of being so close to the local hills for Friday afternoons and weekends. My wife Sylvie and I met at the U of O. We have two sons in their twenties now, and interestingly, we still live in short walking distance from the university campus. I keep active, playing hockey 2-3 times a week year-round, and in the spring, the road bike and golf clubs come out. 

2. What made you decide to volunteer with JA Ottawa?

In looking for volunteer opportunities, JA Ottawa’s focus on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and career choices for youth caught my attention. Both inside and outside work, I always enjoyed helping people with their personal finance decisions. Bringing some of the same basic principles to young people should be a good place to start. 

3. Who was your favourite teacher and why?

My favourite teacher was Mr. Henry. He taught me Grade 9 History and sparked an early interest in Economics & Politics. However, I also have to mention high school coaches Mr. Laurendeau and Mr. Curtin for instilling the importance of hard work and self-confidence. 

4. What is your personal philosophy on life?  

My personal philosophy on life could be summed up as not taking anything for granted. Live for now and don’t put too much off for later. 

5. If you could go back to a particular grade level or childhood age, which would it be and why?

If I could go back in time, I would probably choose the final year of high school and the early university years. Those years shaped the rest of my professional and family life while developing life-long friendships. 

6. What is your favorite hidden gem in Ottawa?

My favourite hidden local gem is cycling along the unpaved path next to the Ottawa River between the New Edinburgh Rowing Club and Orleans. On a summer day, you have great views of the Ottawa River and the Gatineau green space on the other side together with a few boats cruising by. 

7. Tell us about a lesson you learned this year. What did it teach you about yourself?

These past two years certainly reinforced two important lessons and my personal motto – not to take our health or our friendships for granted. Both deserve our ongoing attention. 

If you are interested in volunteering with ONFE’s JA Ottawa program, please visit our program page.

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