RAPS is all about the animals. But everything we accomplish is possible because of humans! Meet this month’s Volunteer of the Month … Darlene Prijatelj, who is a devoted volunteer at the RAPS Thrift Stores.
What is your role at RAPS?
I’m mostly at the till helping customers with their payment, but when I’m not at the till, I’m usually answering phone calls, helping customers take in their donations, tidying the store, pricing, or interacting with customers and chatting with them about anything.
How long have you been volunteering and/or working with RAPS?
I’ve been volunteering at RAPS since January 2021 at both the Granville and Francis locations.
What makes you committed to RAPS?
One reason why I picked to volunteer at RAPS is because it makes me happy to see that, at the end of the day, all the proceeds we make go to a good cause helping animals. As well, the work environment at RAPS is always welcoming and everyone is always friendly.
What is your favourite / least favourite part of your job?
I enjoy the work environment and how everyone is friendly and kind. When I first started volunteering at RAPS, I was quite shy and nervous at first but as soon as I met other volunteers and staff members, they made me feel like RAPS was my second home. Everyone at work feels like family to me. There isn’t a least favourite part of my job. I love every moment that I’m there. Moreover, I love to interact with different customers and build a connection with them. I also love spreading happiness and joy to others. I want to be sure that I can offer a welcoming space for everyone by smiling and talking with various customers. I also love how RAPS is a pet-friendly store and I especially enjoy when customers bring their pets in.
Tell us about yourself (where you grew up, family, pets, etc.)
I grew up in Richmond, B.C., where I attended J.N. Burnett Secondary School in Grade 8 and then transferred to Little Flower Academy in Grade 9. In high school, I joined an animal care club called ARC (Animal Rescue Care Club) because, ever since I was a kid, I always loved animals and wanted to educate myself more about them and what I can do to help. I’ve also babysat several dogs from a big Anatolian Shepherd to a small Yorkie/Shih Tzu/Maltese mixed dog. Recently, I took care of a mixed dog named Jasper for about seven months. While Jasper stayed at my house, I taught him tricks such as how to shake a paw, spin, roll over, and so much more. In the future, my goal is to get a rescue dog of my own and teach it how to do tricks as well.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I like playing sports, going on hikes with my friends, going to the beach, playing the piano and the violin, and volunteering. Badminton was a sport that I devoted a lot of my time to. As a competitive badminton player, I’ve taken part in competitions throughout my elementary and high school years. I represented Vancouver Coastal in 2018 competing in the BC Winter Games in Kamloops, and our team came home with gold. In addition, I was also able to be the badminton team captain in Grade 8, which gave me the opportunity to show leadership skills by motivating and building trust with each other resulting in us winning the Bantam Championships and a trophy for the girls doubles championship. I love to swim a lot in my free time. I used to be a competitive swimmer for Kigoos for about eight plus years and have qualified for provincials several times.
Thanks Darlene for everything you do!