As those who spend time volunteering know full well, the rewards for sharing your time in a worthy endeavour bring much in the way of personal reward.
And as this week marks National Volunteer Week, it is not only the perfect time to show our appreciation to our many dedicated volunteers across Central Alberta – it’s also a time to encourage more people to get involved.
This year’s theme is ‘Celebrate the Value of Volunteering – building confidence, competence, connections and community’.
According to Volunteer Canada, volunteering is often seen as a selfless act; a person gives their time, skills, experience, and passion to help others, without expecting anything in return.
“And while volunteering is a form of service, many volunteers will tell you that, ‘you get more than you give’.
“From opportunities to develop new skills, to finding deep and meaningful personal connections, the magic of volunteering is that it creates social and economic value for all: for individuals, families, organizations, neighbourhoods, communities and ultimately, for Canada itself. That immense richness is something to be celebrated.”
It can be challenging to find time to contribute, however.
One of the most common things we all hear from those around us these days is how busy we are – schedules are crammed full with all kinds of activities and family commitments and social engagements.
Where does one fit volunteering into the mix?
It may mean reworking things just a bit, but it’s well worth the effort to find a cause you feel strongly about and devote some time to it on a regular basis.
According to Volunteer Canada, the benefits are significant to say the least.
“Volunteers and the act of volunteering bring multiple benefits to organizations, communities and people.
“Organizations receive enormous contributions of time, talents and skills. Communities are healthier and more cohesive through active citizen engagement.
“People receive important services from volunteers, and, through volunteering, people gain experience, improve their employment and educational options and have a greater sense of belonging and well-being.
As mentioned, National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers.
And here in our own province, many have discovered the joys that giving one’s time can bring. According to the Government of Alberta, Albertans continue to demonstrate overwhelming community spirit via their volunteering efforts.
In 2016-17, more than 73 per cent of Albertans representing all age groups volunteered with a local organization, contributing an average of more than 12 hours per month to support community programs or initiatives (2017 survey of Albertans).
On the local front, it’s often pointed out how our local citizens regularly rally to a given cause. Organizations put out the call for help and typically people sign up to assist. And with the 2019 Canada Winter Games approaching, another fabulous means of ‘giving back’ is nearing.
For those looking for volunteering opportunities across the region, check out the reams of resources on the Volunteer Central web site at www.volunteercentral.ca.