June 1, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Jillian Bjelan is one of the ten recipients of the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers of 2016. The Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers honours the outstanding volunteer contributions of individuals between the ages of 15-24. The award recipients are recognized for donating their time and talents to a charitable, or non-profit organization or initiative, and who have inspired other young people to volunteer.

“I have been an active volunteer for the majority of my life. I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t eager to give my time to help a cause, an individual, or an organization. I graduated high school with over 1000 recorded hours from various volunteer opportunities,” says Bjelan.

Bjelan is entering her second year at King’s in the Social Justice & Peace Studies program, and Political Science.  At King’s, she is involved as the 2016-2017 Vice-President of Communications for the King’s Debate Society, a tour guide, a member of the Social Justice and Peace Club, and a member of the King’s Jack.org chapter, which is a club that works to remove the stigma associated with mental health illness.

From Hensall, Ontario, Bjelan is also an active volunteer in her community at home. She volunteers at Camp GEMS (Girl Engineering Math & Science) as a camp counsellor, the Hensall South Huron Agricultural Society, the 2015-2016 Hensall Fair as the Ambassador, the Blyth Festival, Blyth 14/19 Inc., Theatre Ontario’s Youth Advisory Council, and the Goderich Livery.

Bjelan attended South Huron District High School in Exeter, where she graduated with over 1000 recorded hours. She was the student representative on the student council, the senior student senator, a member of the student council, vice president and secretary of drama council, the social convener on music council, a member of the senior jazz and concert band, and involved in every school drama production as the stage manager, or an actress.

“Winning the medal was a big surprise, honestly. I knew I had been nominated by the Agricultural Society/Fair Board but I didn’t expect to be a recipient. Accepting the award was beyond incredible; my fellow recipients are exceptionally phenomenal people and I am honoured to be a recipient of the 2016 Ontario Medal alongside them,” says Bjelan.

Currently, Bjelan is preparing for the 148th Hensall Spring Fair as the Ambassador on June 10th and 11th. Afterwards, she will stay involved with the fair as an Ambassador Alumni. As for employment, she is the Production Assistant and Young Company Coordinator for the Blyth Festival Theatre.

When asked about her future goals Bjelan says, “I like what I study in school. I am still unsure where exactly I'd want to be in this world. I do know that my long-term ultimate goal is to make the world a better place for everyone. It’s a big goal, but anything is possible!”

King’s congratulates Jillian Bjelan for her recognition, and wishes her the best with her studies and volunteering!