Volunteer Week officially underway

Volunteer Central has kicked off a week of celebrations in honour of volunteer associations across Canada, as well as their new location in town.

Throughout the City, there are a number of organizations that will be highlighted to showcase their work, missions and volunteers.

The organizations being honoured this week include the Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta, Kerry Wood Nature Centre, the Lending Cupboard, Meals on Wheels and the Magdalene House Society.

“Without volunteers, there are so many services that wouldn’t exist anymore or that would be much smaller,” Danielle Black Fortin, program manager for Volunteer Central. “An example is Blood Services – when you show up, you are walked through by volunteers, you are treated and finished up by volunteers. Volunteers are almost everywhere you look.”

In Canada, volunteering equals approximately 1.1 million full-time jobs. There are more than 70 volunteer services in the greater Red Deer area.

City Councillor Lynne Mulder officially announced Volunteer Week on behalf of Mayor Tara Veer and the City of Red Deer.

“To me, this is such a special week. I happen to be a volunteer, and have been from the moment my foot stepped off the plane when I arrived from Toronto,” said Mulder. “It’s special because I think we are celebrating and recognizing people who make a huge contribution to people in need and they make a difference. They give up themselves and they give up their time to help others who need an enhanced quality of life.”

Mulder began volunteering in Alberta at the Alberta Winter Games. Now, along with her council duties she is heavily involved in several organizations including the SPCA, United Way and Junior Achievement.

“Without volunteers, we are nothing. Without them running the services they do, we would not be the same City,” said Mulder.

Kimberly Darbyson was on hand representing the Learning Disability Association of Red Deer to accept the honour of being recognized during Volunteer Week.

“With limited financial resources and two-part time staff, it is essential that we rely on volunteers to carry out our purpose, which is to support people with learning disabilities along with their families and the professionals working with them.”

Darbyson went on to explain some of the main challenges for people with learning disabilities and the programs that LDA offers to give support to those in need.

Learning disabilities can include anyone who, due to a neurological condition, has difficulty storing, processing or producing information.

Volunteer Week is a way for Canadians to take some time and think about the members in their community who serve as volunteers, and to appreciate the work volunteers do around the City, nation and world.

For more information on how to begin volunteering, visit www.volunteercentral.ca.