Volunteers – THANK YOU – what would we do without you?

The week of April 6 – 12, 2014 is National Volunteer Week. United Way has wonderful volunteers who help us achieve our mission to Create Pathways Out of Poverty. They want nothing in return, but the satisfaction of a job well done and a life improved. These volunteers provide countless amounts of resources, skills, time, energy, support, kindness and love.  Without them, much of the work that needs to be done to help this community could not be accomplished.

United Way Days of Caring helps United Way Funded Partner Agencies run programs by asking volunteers to help with activities based on the needs of the agency.

Two to five volunteers are needed every Thursday to help with hot lunch prep and food service for kids.

10 to 15 volunteers, any day of the week, needed to provide meals, and companionship to seniors in our community. 

Poverty Simulations also require volunteer participants. With the exception of a few key staff members to organize the poverty simulations, these simulations are primarily run by the volunteers.  A Poverty Simulation provides a safe, experimental environment for people to get a feeling for what it is like to live in poverty.  Some participants operate life-like businesses and others assume a role as a child, a parent or a senior in a low income family. They participate in the simulation interacting with fictional businesses and agencies to provide themselves with food, shelter, clothing and other necessities.  The simulation is an hour, which equates to a month of time. It’s an enlightening, but intense hour of activity that gives everyone involved a first-hand experience of life in poverty. From my experience, as a volunteer participant, it was harder than any work I’ve ever been paid to do!

Last year, United Way held 12 poverty simulations in and around the Alberta Capital Region. At the minimum, the simulations require 50 volunteer participates. At maximum – 80 volunteers. That equates to more than 900 volunteer participants. For 2014, there are already 20 Poverty Simulations scheduled. It is an amazing amount of time and energy of work monetarily unpaid.

Dividends of volunteer work pay off in feelings of pride and accomplishment for both the volunteer and the people helped. Knowing the Alberta Capital Region has so many wonderful people ready and willing to step up and give to the betterment of our community to help end poverty is truly inspiring. On behalf of this organization and the community you inspire with your volunteerism – THANK YOU. And please – don’t ever stop. You ARE making a difference.

Volunteer opportunities for Days of Caring or Poverty Simulations can be book through Judy Batty, Program Co-ordinator. Please email jbatty@myunitedway.ca or call 780-443-8384.