National Volunteer Week 2009

This year’s national celebration of volunteers kicked off on Sunday and runs until Saturday. National Volunteer Week happens each year to recognize the thousands of individuals across Canada who contribute their time and energy to worthy causes. From Volunteer Canada’s press release:

“The economic recession is a difficult time for all of us, “said Ruth MacKenzie, president of Volunteer Canada.  “But many are using this time to roll up their sleeves, share their skills, and better their communities and the lives of others.”

I got some good news to start the week – my application to join the Community Engagement Advisory Committee for Edmonton EXPO 2017 as a volunteer member was accepted! I’m really looking forward to helping where I can and learning a lot through the process. I think EXPO 2017 would a fantastic event for Edmonton, and I’m going to do what I can to help win the bid.

Also this week, I signed up to volunteer for Homeless Connect 2, taking place on Sunday, May 24th at the Shaw Conference Centre downtown. I’m happy to help however I’m needed, though I’m sure they’ll have computers and Internet access on site so perhaps I can lend a hand there. For those of you new to the event:

Homeless Connect is a community event bringing together agencies, businesses and volunteers, on one day and at one location, to provide a range of services which can help homeless people out of homelessness.

The first Homeless Connect was a major success, so Homeward Trust promptly planned two more (the third will be in October). If you’d like to get involved, you can donate or volunteer.

If you’d like to find out about other volunteer opportunities in Edmonton, check out Volunteer Edmonton. They’re hosting a Festival Volunteer Fair on May 13th at the TransAlta Arts Barns.

Thank you volunteers – keep doing what you’re doing!

UPDATE: The City has launched a new online database to connect volunteers with opportunities. More information here.

National Volunteer Week 2008

national volunteer week 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.

Here’s the press release from Volunteer Canada, and here is the official website for National Volunteer Week.

To all the volunteers reading this: thank you!