360 Degree Young Professionals

There are many ways for young professionals to contribute their time, energy and talent to their communities. However, not all volunteer opportunities are designed to meet the unique needs of people in their 20s and 30s. Non-profit organizations in Kelowna are evolving in order to gain access to this pool of young talent in a way that works for both the volunteers and the cause.

“One fresh approach is being able to create online volunteer profiles and receive e-mail matches for current opportunities,” adds Dawn Wilkinson, Manager Community Information and Volunteer Centre at Kelowna Community Resources ( ). “This appeals to computer savvy young adults as an easy step to finding satisfying volunteer experiences.”   

Networking, career development opportunities, and flexibility are themes that United Way heard over and over again from younger professionals, and that’s how Gennext was born.

Now active in Kelowna and Penticton, Gennext offers members a way to “fill the gap” in both their own lives and the community. Gennext members volunteer together as a group, raise funds for agencies supported by United Way, offer their diverse skills to the community, and help each other grow as people and as professionals. Gennext members are truly the leaders of tomorrow, and will be responsible for taking the United Way movement into the future.

Victory Narynskyyi , the co-founder of Centro Consulting Inc., manages communication and technology for Gennext, including their new website at . He has recently taken on roles around liaising with other Gennext groups, and creating fun social experiences for members.

“Gennext is unique because it allows its members to contribute whenever they can. It's a low-pressure environment, something that I think is essential with young professionals. Gennext works with a number of organizations which translates into variety of volunteering options for its members. You can always find something new to do, which is another big advantage,” says Narynskyyi.

Heather Pesta, the current chair of Gennext Kelowna, and an Account Manager at Great West Life, agrees.

“To me, being a ‘360 Degree’ Young Professional, means that while we work to become better individuals we also strive to broaden our perspectives and generate a positive impact on others in the community.  Gennext Kelowna connects young professionals with specific volunteer opportunities that tailor to their skills and/or passions.  We also offer a great peer experience via fundraisers and socials.”

Change starts here, because young leaders are reaching into the future of philanthropy and making their vision a reality.

For more information on how you can fill the gap, visit, or search Gennext Kelowna on Facebook.

To find out how you can be part of change, visit

More Change Starts Here articles

About the Author

The mission of United Way is to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing collective action.

We call this our Community Impact Mission. Community impact is about achieving meaningful, long-term improvements to the quality of life in Canadian communities, by addressing not just the symptoms of problems but also getting at the root causes. It’s about making fundamental changes to community conditions.

United Way is achieving this mission by moving people from poverty to possibility, promoting healthy people and strong communities, and supporting all that kids can be.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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