United Way volunteers build stronger, more vibrant communities - United Way Alberta Capital Region

United Way volunteers build stronger, more vibrant communities

April 12, 2023


From building cabins to providing financial empowerment workshops, our United Way volunteers rolled up their sleeves last year to strengthen the fabric of our community.

During National Volunteer Week 2023, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region is celebrating volunteers and our collective impact. This year’s theme is Volunteering Weaves us Together: Through our kindness, generosity, and commitment to volunteering, we weave our lives together to strengthen the fabric of our community.

United Way volunteers come together in ways that are as rich and diverse as our community: from hands-on Days of Caring opportunities that provide critical items to people in need, to using their talent and skills to enrich our organization, more than 1,600 volunteers provide integral support to United Way and our region.

Here are just a few ways our volunteers have helped their neighbours change their lives this year.

Engineering Challenge volunteers restore historic camp

This September, more than 70 volunteers from 16 engineering firms across Edmonton came together for United Way’s 16th annual Engineering Challenge to transform Camp Yowochas, a year-round outdoor education centre and campsite on Lake Wabamun, for YWCA Edmonton.

These upgrades will enhance visitors’ experiences while creating a nurturing, healing space to promote mental and physical wellness, says Katherine O’Neill, CEO of YWCA Edmonton.

“Having the Engineering Day of Caring coming and helping with repairing, building and improving some of our infrastructure is so invaluable. From the materials to the volunteers’ hours, that is such an invaluable gift for our not-for-profit because all of our dollars go to the frontline. This is such an incredible gift from the community to help improve Camp Yowochas.”

Days of Caring volunteers help provide basic needs for people living in poverty

Days of Caring are volunteer opportunities that provide hands-on and high-impact experiences to make a real difference in the lives of our vulnerable neighbours. Opportunities include:

  • building backpacks so students have essential education supplies through Tools for School
  • sorting warm winter wear donations to Coats for Kids and Families that are delivered by social agencies to people in need.
  • assembling early childhood development tools and resources into The Kid Kit® to support parents and their children.

These volunteer options help you be a direct part of creating poverty solutions together and making our community a great place for everyone.

Heartland Challenge volunteers renovate shelter

A volunteer arranges a shelter bed.

In its latest project this fall, 56 Heartland Challenge volunteers worked over three days to rejuvenate A Safe Place, a community shelter in Sherwood Park that has helped more than 25,000 women and children facing domestic violence.

“We rely on donations from the community, but to have such a coordinated effort do something of this magnitude, it’s overwhelming. We are very, very grateful, ” said A Safe Place Executive Director Karen Kadatz.

Volunteers represent 10 industry and public service organizations in the Heartland Region. They replaced 30 older beds and assembled 11 new bunkbeds and 18 new daybeds in their place; finished drywall and painted walls, pipes, doors, and frames; weeded and cleaned the yard; freshened up floors; and removed old office furniture.

Workplace volunteers strengthen employee engagement

Each year, more than 800 volunteers at 300+ workplaces across the Alberta Capital Region run their own United Way employee giving campaigns.

These campaigns inspire donors and volunteers to support our community’s most vulnerable, including those living in poverty, and raise much-needed funds that benefit children, families, and seniors.

Workplace campaigns also provide a fun and impactful way to bring staff together in the name of building vibrant communities where you live and work.

Each One, Teach One volunteers provide financial empowerment tools, resources

Each One, Teach One volunteers from financial institutions are trained to become financial literacy educators.

In 2022, 70 volunteers taught 67 free workshops in partnership with local agencies, delivering accessible and empowering financial literacy information to about 1,300 people in the community.

This innovative program helps people in the Edmonton area build financial stability and independence. These free workshops help participants improve their understanding of and gain confidence with money, empowering them to build personal financial stability, and a better future for themselves.