In the words of Paul R. Simas, CD “Mr. D’Souza has volunteered as a member of the Navy League of Canada, Milton Branch for about 10 years and now serves as its President… During his tenure, we saw a doubling of the number of cadets attending our program. Mr. D’Souza is a great communicator and community leader. With a broad smile, Mr. D’Souza represents the best we have in our program. He is warm, approachable and determined. A natural project manager that is able to create tasks, recruit volunteers and ensure job completion. He is also a great fundraiser.” This recommendation, as well as several others earned Don Souza the Navy League 2021 Member of the Year Award.
Don D’Souza’s journey as a volunteer started 10 years ago through a variety of organizations that comprised the Navy League, the Town of Milton and its Councilors, local Members of Parliament, and the Halton Regional Police Services. His resilience, passion, and dedication led him to be appointed as President of the Navy League Milton Branch in 2014; the role he continues to hold today.
As a strong advocate for RCSCC CHAUDIERE and an active member with The Royal Canadian Legion Milton Branch, Mr. D’Souza continues to make great efforts to highlight the Milton Sea Cadets within the community of Milton. His participation in events like the Milton Community Clean-up Day, Halton Regional Police Day, and many more have fostered support, facilitated generous donations, and provided community service opportunities that have helped the Milton Sea Cadets become a shining example of citizenship in the community.
In addition to these, and his support to the Veterans in the community by helping them with the Annual Poppy Campaign, D’Souza has been actively involved with the “Life Matters” campaign, which assists the community in connecting with youth in crisis, especially offering support, education, and awareness in areas of mental health and wellness. He has also actively volunteered at local food drives at both the Milton, Georgetown, and Acton Food Banks. As well, Don has demonstrated great leadership strength by successfully running both the “Toys for Tots” and “Treasures for Teens” gift drives for the past 8 years.
In January 2020, D’Souza co-founded the Navy League Cadet Corps ADVENTURE, under the Navy League Milton Branch, and skillfully recruited new members and guided the branch through the challenges of opening another youth program. In appreciation of his dedication, loyalty, and commitment to the Halton Regional Police Services; Don was awarded the “Volunteer of the Year” award in 2016 and the “Service Award” in 2018. In 2020, he was awarded the Navy League of Canada Long Service Medal and Certificates of Recognition for Community Service from the town of Milton, MP Parm Gill and MP Adam van Koeverden.
In Today’s Awesome Volunteer Series, Don D’Souza shares the drive behind his commitment, and its endless rewards.
- What did you do before joining the Cadet Volunteer program?
Before joining the cadet program, I used to be part of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) in my native country. I even received the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award as a cadet, and after I left, I always wanted to continue to be involved in youth development. When I moved to Canada, my daughter joined the cadet program in Milton, ON and I jumped at the opportunity to become a volunteer and give back to the community!
- How did your journey as a Volunteer start?
I started to volunteer as a branch member when my daughter became a cadet at RCSCC CHAUDIERE in Milton. I got involved as a branch parent coordinator, being the link between the branch and the parents. Keeping them informed of all that was happening both at the cadet unit and at the branch.
- What is the most interesting thing for you as a Volunteer?
For me, the most interesting thing is the return you get from your investment: creating opportunities for the youth, seeing them develop, assisting our officers and instructors, and improving the quality of life in our local community. All these are invaluable and absolutely priceless!
- As the Navy League Member of the Year, what is your advice to other volunteers and potential volunteers?
Passion, dedication, and readiness to commit! The cadets are worth it! The secret is to maintain a high level of communication and transparency with your entire team! Communication is key, and every job is an important job!
The rewards are endless.