Chances are you’ve met them without even knowing it. Even more probable - your life has been positively impacted by them. They make up a sector of the workforce that we don’t hear about in the news reports about our economy. ‘They’, are volunteers.
In Canada, 13.3 million people volunteer 2.1 billion hours annually. According to Statistics Canada, volunteers generate at least $9.65 billion of activity each year in Alberta’s economy. Engagement is at every level – from governing a board to being a homework mentor, and spans across sectors such as healthcare, education, and social services. Our community counts on volunteers - imagine what it would look like without these efforts?
National Volunteer Week takes place April 21st – 27th and it’s the perfect time to recognize the tremendous impact that volunteers have on the well-being of our society and to celebrate the individuals that are so giving of their time and energy. It’s also a time to consider how each one of us might lend a hand.
The opportunities to make a difference in our community are endless. You can choose to share your current knowledge and experience, or maybe you’d like to develop new skills and do something you’ve never tried before? Whether you volunteer once a month or once a year, you’ll be doing yourself a favor, too. Research shows that volunteering provides an increased sense of belonging, boosts self confidence and strengthens social ties – all of which are great for your physical and mental health. As well, helping others sets a good example for other family members and might become an activity that you can enjoy doing together.
To learn how you can become involved in volunteering, visit Volunteer Edmonton or dial 211 (or (780) 482-4636 from outside Edmonton) and talk to an operator to receive information about organizations that match your volunteer interests. Volunteer Edmonton and 211 are programs of The Support Network.
Tasha Mich is a Program Assistant at United Way of the Alberta Capital Region and is inspired on a regular basis by the selflessness of the volunteers that she has the immense pleasure of working with.