Meet Our Volunteers
Michele is a student at the University of Western Ontario in her fourth year, studying political science and sociology with a focus on youth studies. English is another area of interest and a subject which she plans to teach at the grade nine and ten levels in the future. Motivated, goal-oriented and energetic, she loves traveling and using her skills to make a difference in the lives of others. She is involved in a flag football intramural league, is an administrative member of the Pre-Education Society, and assists a teacher in a grade 6 classroom twice a week. Currently involved in the READ literacy promotion program through the London Public Library, Michele understands the importance of literacy and education in providing opportunities for children to have a bright and happy future. After completing teacher certification in Ontario, Michele plans to complete a Masters degree in Educational Policy in hopes that she can extend her knowledge and guidance to people around the world through involvement with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization).
Ashley J. Hassard
Ashley is currently a student at the University of Western Ontario in her 4th year, studying Honours Sociology and Human Ecology. Incurably optimistic, outgoing, and bursting with both energy as well as curiosity, she has an innate desire for discovery, exploring, and a good laugh.
Having attended a large liberal arts high school in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Ashley graduated with a specialization in Screen Arts. While there, she was vice-president of the student council, as well as president of the United Way committee where she led a team of volunteers in raising over $8,000 in generous donation towards United Way. Her involvement in school clubs has extended throughout her university career and has brought her to new organizations such as: Habitat for Humanity, the Pre-Education society, and Learning it Together.
A former international athlete in Aesthetic Group Gymnastics, Ashley competed at the World championships from 2004-2008. She has a passion for volunteering with services including fundraising for local charities, volunteering as a youth mentor, assisting teaching in classrooms, as well as international service learning. In 2009, Ashley traveled to the Dominican Republic, where she volunteered teaching English to local orphaned and disadvantaged children. In 2010 she ventured to Costa Rica where she traveled to rural islands to set up drop in medical clinics. During February 2011 Ashley went to Urubamba, Peru, to build a water tank for a local school’s vegetable garden. Most recently, in 2011, Ashley was selected as a Youth Ambassador for the i2P Bolivia expedition and had the incredible opportunity to help educate, inspire, and empower youth worldwide while running 200km across the Salar de Uyuni.
More than anything, she believes that we should be the change we wish to see in the world.
Joanna is a 4th year University of Toronto student who is enrolled in the Concurrent Teacher Education Program. While working to complete her Bachelors of Education for the primary-junior level, she is also doing a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in French and minoring in English and Philosophy. By the end of this academic term, Joanna will have completed her first Practicum placement professional semester at the Ontario Institute of Students in Education in which she will have the opportunity to learn how to manage her own classroom.
Motivated, inspired and very eager to learn, her passions to educate and travel have taken her abroad from Quebec to France, studying both teaching and languages. Joanna has volunteered countless hours in bi-lingual schools, working as a teacher’s assistant, and as a private tutor. She has experience working with children with various special needs and understands the importance of inclusive education. Some of her most recent accomplishments include completing an Equity and Diversity course, with a particular emphasis on poverty and race. She has also completed a workshop seminar called TALK SAFE, in which she obtained certification for depression and suicide awareness. Upon graduation, it is her goal to create a positive school environment in which all types of students can feel accepted, valued and challenged to their full learning potential.
Alexandra is a forth year undergraduate at the University of Western Ontario about to finish her honors specialization in Economics with a focus on development. After researching how foreign investment affects poverty in Ghana seeing first hand what the stats she’s been working with look like has been an important motivator for joining Project Ghana. Optimistic about the power to change the order of things, Alexandra is hoping to one day work in development, until then IVHQ seemed like the perfect place to start. Alexandra has been involved in fundraising campaigns to build a school in Kenya, micro credit charities, and to help raise awareness and funds to build schools in Cambodia. She loves languages, an interest that has come in useful over the course of much traveling through Europe and South America. With an overly ambitious goal of seeing every country in the world before she dies, Alexandra is excited for the challenges and experiences of volunteering with IVHQ, to learn about a new culture and become a little more globally aware.
Kristy is finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario studying biology. In the future she hopes to become a science and biology teacher as she loves working with youth and teaching others. She enjoys going to her cottage in the summer time with her two Labrador retrievers, Heidi and Kalvin. Kristy loves being in the outdoors as well as playing sports. She played rep softball for almost 10 years and really enjoys the feeling as being a part of a team and working together. Kristy also likes to spend time with her friends and her family.
Kristy has worked at a summer camp for the past 6 summers and has loved every moment of it. She has had the opportunity to work with children aged 3-13. She likes playing activities and planning fun filled days for the children. Volunteering in Ghana would be a great opportunity for her to display her experience in working with children as well as to bring something new and fun to the program. She believes that it would be an amazing opportunity to meet new individuals and to share her knowledge with others. Growing up, one of Kristy’s friends grew up in Ghana, so it has always been a dream of hers to go to Ghana and learn more about the culture and to experience its country’s beauty. She is so excited to go on this journey with the amazing people in Project: Ghana as well as to meet amazing individuals in Ghana.
Elyse is a 3rd year student at the University of Western Ontario studying Community Development in a Global Context with a Minor in French Studies. In high school she traveled to the Dominican Republic on an awareness trip with a group from RAYJON. This experience expanded her interest in the inequality issues of developing countries, particularly Latin America and the Caribbean.
Optimistic, caring, and motivated, Elyse has always been passionate about helping others. In high school, Elyse was a dedicated member and president of the Rotary Sponsored Interact Club, organizing fundraisers and volunteering in the community and internationally. She is currently a member of the Rotaract Club of Western Ontario and volunteers when she can in the community. Aside from school and volunteer work, Elyse works as a lifeguard and swim instructor at the YMCA of Western Ontario. She enjoys working with children of different ages and hopes to continue working with children in developing countries after she graduates from university.
With her love of travel, children, and international development, Elyse is excited to join Project Ghana on this journey.