University of Lethbridge student Imogen Pohl received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from Governor General Julie Payette (DSc ’05) at a ceremony at Rideau Hall during National Volunteer Week this spring.

The medal recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields. Those eligible for the medal must demonstrate significant, sustained and unpaid contributions to their community.

In Pohl’s case, she’s been volunteering since her preschool days. At age four, she joined Girl Guides and found an organization that gave her a safe place to explore all kinds of activities. At age nine, she became a girl assistant who worked with Sparks, for girls aged four and five. She continued to work with Sparks and, at age 18, became head guider for a group of Sparks.

In addition to Girl Guides, Pohl has worked on several international projects such as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, Stop the Violence and Girl Effect, which gave her the chance to travel to Switzerland, England and Mexico. Through Guides, she also volunteers in the community by selling poppies for the Lethbridge Legion and packing Christmas hampers with the Lethbridge Food Bank. As a U of L student, she volunteers as a member of the Kappa Beta Gamma sorority. Earlier this year, Pohl was awarded a 2017 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Award. In May, Pohl will begin a position with the U of L Students’ Union as vice-president academic.

As someone who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, Pohl also works with the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta as a community education presenter. The youngest presenter in Alberta, she visits businesses and schools to talk about her experiences with the disorder, provide tips about what to do if someone is having a psychotic episode and reduce stigma in the community.

“Volunteering is an excellent way to tackle the question ‘what do want to be when you grow up?’” says Pohl. “Through volunteering, I have been exposed to various scenarios, such as first aid, crafting and event planning. It’s a great way to become aware of different career pathways and get the experience needed for introductory jobs.”

Pohl is one of 42 Canadians who received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in the Tuesday, April 17 ceremony.

Photo courtesy of The Governor General of Canada Sorvereign Medal for Volunteers Photo Gallery