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Get involved as we mark National Volunteer Week

Red Deerians encouraged to mark the occasion this week

As this week marks National Volunteer Week, it is not only a time to thank and show our appreciation to our many, dedicated volunteers in Red Deer, but it’s also a time to encourage more people to get involved.

There is no better time than now – as we not only recognize the week in particular, but it is Canada’s 150th birthday this year – a great time to get involved in your community.

In January, Volunteer Central launched the Canada 150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge.

Local volunteers are able to use the web site – www.volunteercentral.ca and a mobile app – to keep track of their hours and tell their own personal volunteer stories.

The challenge has been launched and continues through the remainder of 2017.

Why not grab your friends, or members of your family to join in the fun? And visit the web site to hear inspiring stories of volunteers in our community and how volunteering has changed their lives.

According to the Government of Alberta, more than 70% of Albertans volunteered with organizations in their community in 2015-2016, contributing an average of 11 hours each month to support initiatives and programs that matter to them. Volunteers support the work of Alberta’s non-profit voluntary sector.

Based on the most recent statistics, the sector generates an estimated $9.6 billion in annual economic activity and employs more than 176,000 Albertans.

This week is an opportunity to recognize and thank community volunteers for doing their part to make a meaningful difference.

As Volunteer Canada puts it, volunteering comes in many forms and is as diverse as Canada itself.

Five years ago, at the Governor General’s Round Table on Volunteering, Volunteer Canada was asked by stakeholders to explore and promote a broader definition of volunteering by 2017.

Alongside vital community programs and services, organizations are being called upon to recognize those spontaneous, organic, and ‘do-it-ourselves’ community action movements, according to a message from Paula Speevak, the president and CEO of Volunteer Canada.

The central image of the 2017 National Volunteer Week is of a crossword puzzle, in recognition of the diversity of volunteers and ways of volunteering.

Likewise, the slogan this year, ‘Volunteering, eh?’ is a reminder not to overlook all those community volunteers who make a positive impact even though they may not occupy a formal role within an organization or a group.

So, keep the importance of volunteering at the top of your mind, even after this week is over.

Pick an area that interests you, grab someone you know and get involved. It is as simple as that. There is no better way to get to know your community than by volunteering.