At HOPE worldwide Canada, what stands out about our programs and events are the amazing volunteers we have serving across our nation. Whether in programs teaching life skills to youth aging out of foster care, assisting refugees in their transition to Canada or supporting those struggling with homelessness, our volunteers are known for how much they care and how much they work hard to meet needs.
One of those incredible volunteers is Clovis Grant, former Executive Director of HOPE worldwide Canada, current Vice-President of our Board and the Chief Executive Officer of 360Kids. Excitedly, 360Kids, whose mission is to help youth overcome crisis and transition to a state of safety and stability, was recently selected by Macleans Magazine as one of Canada’s BEST 100 Charities for 2020, and was included in the Top 10 of Canadian charities serving youth.
We recently caught up with Clovis to congratulate him and 360Kids on this recognition and to find out how he viewed his time as Executive Director of HOPE worldwide Canada (1994 to 2002) as instrumental to his successful leadership at 360Kids.
First of all, congratulations on the recognition of 360Kids as one of Canada’s Best Charities! That recognition speaks loudly of your organization’s work and use of funds. What drew you to work at 360Kids?
CG: Two main things. First, they had a very broad list of services they provided to young people. Second, there is within the organization an entrepreneurial spirit. It is not wedded to old ways of addressing issues…it looks for creative ways with new and different partners to come up with solutions to support young people who are homeless.
What is your favourite aspect of your work with 360Kids?
CG: What I really like in working at 360kids is that there are so many opportunities to be creative in the work. York Region is a growing municipality and with that comes opportunities for entrepreneurial organizations like 360kids to make a difference in the lives of even more young people.
What advice would you give to those who would like to work with or volunteer with at-risk youth?
CG: At-risk youth are first and foremost, youth…they have the same goals and aspirations as other young people. They want to work, they want to go back to school, they want good things for their lives. They need people who believe in them, who see their potential…not to be pitied but to be helped.
Is there something you learned in your tenure as Executive Director of HOPE worldwide Canada that you have carried with you throughout your career?
CG: Leadership is surrounding yourself with people who can take your idea and implement in amazing ways to accomplish amazing things because they believe in what you are doing. I have learned that people want to serve and do good. They just need outlets and avenues to do it and a leader to connect them to the needs. During my time with HOPE worldwide Canada, I had some of the best Chapter Directors you could find across the country, who took to heart the challenges to lead the work in their particular parts of Canada and they in turn inspired other volunteers which was at the heart of the successes we achieved. I have seen that throughout my career outside of my work with HOPE worldwide Canada. When staff feel that you, as a leader, care about them, they will rally behind you to implement your ideas and make them even more amazing than you originally conceived. Now as a CEO, I need those people even more…those who are trustworthy and want to make a difference and want a leader with a vision that they can rally behind.
Is there a particular motto or thought that motivates you to continue to work at 360Kids and to volunteer for HOPE worldwide Canada?
CG: People who are at the margins of society, who are poor or are experiencing homelessness often have no voice in society. I want to be that voice for them. We need people who will bring that social conscience to our business leaders and our politicians. Without this, I believe society will become even more polarized with those who are rich become richer, as the saying goes and the poor will become poorer because of oppression. Organization like 360kids and HOPE worldwide Canada are important in helping to be a safety net to those who are pushed through the cracks in our social systems and the staff and volunteers can be amazing advocates for change…the voice that affected individuals need.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you would like to add, to end our time?
CG: The importance of the work of volunteers doing social good is often undervalued. It only takes a moment of reflection to think about the consequences for society if these organizations did not exist….many of us are only one accident away from becoming a client ourselves. Let’s do our best to support their work as best as we can.
To learn more about 360Kids and their incredible work with at-risk youth, visit 360kids.ca and to read the Macleans article on the 2020 Best Canadian Charities: Top 100, please visit macleans.ca/society/canadas-best-charities-2020-top-100/.
Photo by Mike Barrett/Metroland – Jan 14 2018