Crystal Koskinen is a young woman who is passionate about many things — painting, acting, graphic design, volunteering — but most of all, Crystal lives to make people laugh. In the photo, Crystal is volunteering as Ms. Prim for the Magnus Summer Kids Camp. Along with her partner in the production, Ms. Proper, the volunteers taught manners to the kids in a memorable fashion!
For the past four years, Crystal has juggled classes, gallery showings, paid jobs and numerous volunteer stints while working on her Honours Bachelor of Visual Arts degree. Juggling comes naturally to Crystal. She looks at life as an opportunity to savour everything that comes her way. A volunteer since Grade 4 when she led a drive against nuclear testing, Crystal has been involved as a leader in the Red Cross Youth Council in Ontario and Canada. A member of the National Board of Youth Governance, Crystal has helped organize events including a youth commission with the international theme of land mine awareness. Closer to home, the Council members participate in the Shelter House 24-Hour Relay and the AIDS Walk. They raise money by organizing concerts of local bands and were even successful raising money at a free car wash when people were so impressed with the job they were doing they gave them tips. All of their tips went into raising funds for local charities!
"Some people say I am too busy, but this schedule works for me," says Crystal the volunteer/actress/artist/graphic designer/arts administrator. "I've had Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis since I was 5 years old and I used to feel sorry for myself. That was until one time when I was at Sick Kids Hospital with my dad and I saw another girl with no legs who waved and smiled at me. My legs hurt but I had legs. That other girl really helped me. Keeping busy is the best release from pain for me."
Now that she is graduating from Lakehead University, Crystal will head for a stage career in Toronto and eventually New York. Crystal Koskinen looks back at her university years and says confidently that her most rewarding experiences have come her way through volunteering. Her advice to other young people: follow what you want to do, keep your eyes open for possibilities and above all, don't get discouraged. Crystal also would suggest that you see a play or a movie that makes you laugh. Who knows, one day one of those plays or movies might star Crystal Koskinen, doing what comes naturally.
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