Yesterday was the start of National Volunteer Week in Canada, a celebration of volunteers and volunteerism which runs through May 3rd. There are around 12 million volunteers in our country, contributing countless hours to their communities:
Canada boasts over 161,000 registered charitable organizations within which volunteers play a key role. According to the 2004 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, the largest survey ever completed that examines how Canadians support each other and their communities, volunteers contribute two billion hours, the equivalent of one million full-time jobs.
I had no idea that National Volunteer Week was started so long ago:
National Volunteer Week was first proclaimed in 1943 as an initiative to draw the public’s attention to the vital contribution of women to the war effort on the home front. In the late 1960s, the focus was revived and broadened to include all community volunteers.
Like most junior high/high school students, I got into volunteering because it’s something universities and employers look for. However, I found very quickly that I really enjoyed volunteering. I’ve helped out at a bunch of organizations over the years, but I currently spend most of my volunteering time with the Learning Centre Literacy Association and the Youth Restorative Action Project.
If you’re a fellow Edmontonian, check out the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (ECVO). They have great resources for volunteers and organizations alike, and they also publish a really useful weekly email newsletter.
To all the volunteers reading this: thank you!