Don Iveson rallies his supporters to get out the vote

Last night I joined a few hundred volunteers, donors, and others supporters of the Don Iveson for Mayor campaign at a rally at the Matrix Hotel. It was an opportunity for Don to address his base, to thank his many volunteers for their hard work and dedication to the campaign thus far, but most importantly to remind everyone that Election Day is all that matters. There are still four hard days of work left to go, and now is not the time to get complacent!

Don Iveson Rally

After a lighthearted and witty introduction from his wife Sarah, Don took the stage to give his remarks. He recalled the seed which started the campaign, many months ago. “If you give people something to vote for instead of against, that will build a better city.” He talked about the many exciting things happening in Edmonton, channeling Make Something Edmonton as he touched on projects, businesses, and festivals. “If we build it together, it endures,” he declared.

Don Iveson Rally

He expressed a passionate desire to see all of that positive momentum continue, and even accelerate. “This can be the moment where Edmonton turns,” he said. “We can show people they were wrong to underestimate Edmonton.”

Don Iveson Rally

Don was not light on praise for his volunteers. “You’re the best political team in Canada,” he said. “Your support is what keeps me and the campaign going strong.” His remarks received, unsurprisingly, raucous applause. An already strong group of volunteers grew as people signed up to help on their way out.

Don Iveson Rally

With the room buzzing, Don implored everyone to help get out the vote over the next few days. We’re into the home stretch, but that doesn’t mean that any campaign should take it easy. Positive polls or not, all that matters is getting people out to vote on election day. That was, appropriately, the message that Don left his supporters with. I have no doubt we’ll rise to the challenge.

Disclosure: I’m actively volunteering for Don Iveson’s mayoral campaign.

Edmonton Capitals win for Homeward Trust volunteers!

Homeward Trust held its annual volunteer appreciation event tonight. Instead of the typical drinks-and-thank-you-speech outing, this year they decided to invite everyone to an Edmonton Capitals baseball game. Neither Sharon nor I had been to Telus Field since the team was still known as the Trappers, so we thought it would be a fun night. It was!

Edmonton Capitals

All of the Homeward Trust volunteers sat in section H, on the east side of the field. That meant we were in the sun for most of the game. After a few innings the heat got to us, so we decided to explore. We met Razzle:

Edmonton Capitals

And we discovered the specialty hotdogs at Telus Field. Sharon couldn’t resist the Perogy Dog with fried potatoes, bacon, onions, sour cream, and cheese:

Edmonton Capitals

We ventured back to our seats for the 5th inning and stayed for the rest of the game (thankfully it got much cooler once the sun disappeared behind the buildings). The Capitals won their ninth straight over the Tijuana Cimarrones, 14-5.

Edmonton Capitals

Baseball isn’t really my thing, but I enjoyed tonight. If you’d like to check out a Capitals game, tickets are just $10. Tomorrow night the Oilers top prospects will be in attendance, including Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.

Thanks Homeward Trust!

You can see more photos here.

2009 Festival Volunteer Fair – May 13th

As summer approaches, the number of festivals taking place in the Edmonton area will start to increase! We’ve got some really great ones, including Capital EX, the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival (25th anniversary this year) and the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival. You can find a full list at

All of these festivals require great volunteers, of course. That’s why Volunteer Edmonton is hosting another Festival Volunteer Fair on Wednesday:

This "one-stop festival volunteer shopping" experience is your chance to learn more about Edmonton’s diverse festivals all in one place and sign up to become a volunteer for one OR more festivals!

The event takes place on Wednesday, May 13th from 3pm to 8pm at the TransAlta Arts Barns (map). It’s completely free to attend, and you can take a look at the list of participating festivals here (warning: pdf). Last year around 20 festivals participated; this year, that number has grown to 32. Also new this year – increased marketing. I’ve seen posters and numerous online mentions of the fair, so I hope there’s a great turnout!

From the press release:

The estimated total number of volunteers required by all festivals is about 8,000 people. Statistics show that about 48 per cent of Edmontonians currently volunteer for a variety of worthwhile causes.

Let’s keep that percentage growing – tell a friend about the Festival Volunteer Fair!

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.

Everyone for Edmonton

volunteer edmonton There’s a really cool event happening on Saturday that unfortunately I’m going to miss (as I’ll be in Vancouver). Everyone for Edmonton is the largest event of the year for volunteers, donors, and non-profit organizations.

The event takes place on August 23rd from 9:00am until 4:30pm at the Shaw Conference Centre downtown. Debbie Riopel, a founding member of the World Kindness Movement, will deliver a keynote to start things off. Her presentation is called Heroes for a Better World!

If you’re interested in volunteering, or if you just want to learn more about the various non-profits that exist in Edmonton, you should definitely take some time on Saturday to check out this event. One of the things we talked about at ALT.NET in Calgary last weekend was how to find out about potential projects – this event is a great way to do just that.

Admission to Everyone for Edmonton is free. If you’d like more information, you can contact EEDC or email

Volunteer for one of Edmonton's great festivals

volunteer edmonton Despite another setback for our neighbors to the south this week, summer is definitely on the way and that means lots and lots of festivals here in Edmonton. With over 30 established festivals each year, it’s no surprise that we’re Canada’s Festival City. It should also be no surprise that running 30 festivals requires a lot of time and effort, largely from volunteers:

The estimated number of volunteers required by Edmonton’s festivals is about 5,000 people! Our festivals are a source of community pride and an important element in the quality of life for Edmontonians in the summer – and beyond!

To help attract new volunteers, Volunteer Edmonton is co-hosting a Festival Volunteer Fair next week:

This recruitment event will showcase multiple festivals and will provide members of the community with a “one stop festival volunteer shopping experience”.  We have confirmed that 15 diverse and exciting festivals will be on site, highlighting the volunteer opportunities they have to offer.

I think there are actually over 20 festivals now participating, including the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, A Taste of Edmonton, The Works Art & Design Festival, and the International Street Performers Festival.

The recruitment event takes place on Wednesday, May 14th from 3pm to 7pm at the TransAlta Arts Barns. Here’s a map of the location, and for more information you can call 211 or visit the Volunteer Edmonton site.

Check it out and pass it on!

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!