In honour of National Volunteer Week, we turn the spotlight on an incredible VPD Cadet Volunteer – 19-year-old Mohammad Alyousef. In 2016 Mohammad and his family fled the war in Syria and came to Canada as refugees. They settled in Vancouver where Mohammad attended Sir Charles Tupper Secondary and graduation in 2021.
While in high school in Vancouver, Mohammad joined the VPD Cadet Program where he spent two years climbing the ranks to eventually become a Cadet Corporal before graduating with Cadets Class 7. Immediately after graduation, he re-joined the program as a dedicated volunteer.
We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Mohammad about his time in the Cadet program, and more importantly, his time as a Cadet volunteer.
Thinking back to before you became a volunteer, can you please tell us about your experience as a participant in the VPD Cadet Program?
The Cadet program is based on teaching young people important life-skills and knowledge they need to be successful. I also learned so much about policing and community safety and I loved hearing from many police officers from different units talking about their experience. This actually made me think about becoming a police officer.
There were also many interesting things that I experienced as a Cadet and going to camp was probably my favourite. Camp is where memories are made. At camp, we got to do many activities like early morning runs, camp activities, and enjoying nature. I enjoyed being a Cadet because it helped me step out of my comfort zone as that had been a challenge for me.
Why is volunteering for the Cadets important to you?
I decided to volunteer for the Cadet program to give back to the program that has helped me and supported me for two years. One of the ways to give back to this amazing program was to volunteer and help the new Cadets who just enrolled. I love helping others. I feel lucky to still be part of the Cadet program.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
Volunteering is the best way to give back to the community. I have volunteered in many different places and I am so glad that I am able to help the community. I also love connecting with others and I found that by volunteering I got to meet people from all around the world.
What is something you’ve learned about yourself through your volunteer experience?
I have learned a lot since I started volunteering. One of the most important things I have learned is that helping others means love, caring, and joy. I always feel happy and blessed that I am still able to make connections with the community and make the community a better place for everyone.
What is something you’ve learned about others through volunteering?
I have met many people and learned about how we all face different challenges in life and how it is important to believe in yourself and believe that everything you do should make you a better person. I have learned from others it is okay to fail, but it is not okay to give up. Constable Neufeld, who is an instructor with the Cadet program once told me that “communication is key to life.” This quote has changed me and made me more active, and it has motivated me to speak up when I see something wrong.
What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering for an organization or cause that close to their heart?
Volunteering is the key to stepping out of your comfort zone. I would say volunteering for either an organization you know, or you do not know, will make a difference in your life. It will prepare you to work with others and at the end of the day, you will feel good that you have done something for the community.
If you would like to donate to support the VPD Cadet program or any other VPD officer-initiated community program, please donate online or call us at 604.717.3700. Gifts of all sizes can make a difference.
The Vancouver Police Foundation supports programs and initiatives that fall under one of four pillars: Youth Programs, Mental Health & Addictions, Community Outreach & Engagement, and Technology & Special Equipment. You can help build a safer Vancouver by donating to the Vancouver Police Foundation.