Next week from
April 7-13 is National Volunteer Week. It’s a time Canadians
from coast to coast can take a moment to reflect on the
impact volunteers have on their communities and their every
day lives whether they have benefitted from the generosity
and kindness of others, or have contributed selflessly in
helping their neighbours and fellow Canadians.
We often take
volunteers for granted, especially if we’ve never volunteered
ourselves. Imagine what our lives would be like without
the efforts of volunteers. Thousands of organizations and
events would immediately cease to exist without the efforts
drive seniors to medical appointments. They coach minor
sports teams. They raise millions of dollars for countless
organizations and worthy causes. They mentor young people.
They serve on boards and offer advice. They act as Boy Scout
and Girl Guide leaders. They organize community events like
Family Fun Days and neighbourhood fairs. And they help organize
and run activities at their child’s school. In short, volunteers
help make our communities and our country a better place
Volunteer Canada, more than 12.7 million Canadians volunteered
in one capacity or another last year. Most do it without
any expectation of being celebrated as special or even thanked.
They do it out of the kindness of their heart and the sense
of self worth it gives them.
When I was in
my 20s I had a friend who couldn’t make a week-end social
event because he had made a previous commitment to volunteer
for some organization or other. Not knowing he had volunteered,
I asked him how much he would was going to make. When he
responded that he was doing it for free, I told him he was
crazy. He tried to explain to me that it was something he
had done for several years and that it was a blast, but
I remained incredulous.
It wasn’t until
I was in my early 30s and I organized the first Canada Day
event on Petrie Island that I realized what he meant, The
feeling of self satisfaction in being able to lead a team
of fellow volunteers in putting together an event that benefitted
thousands of our neighbours and their families was indescribable.
The theme of
National Volunteer Week is “The Volunteer Factor – Lifting
Communities” because that’s what volunteers do, they help
lift their communities in their deeds and in their spirit.
It’s a labour of true love. Love of their families. Love
of their friends and neighbours. And love of their community.
And the labour is carried out every day in countless ways.
So next time
you see a volunteer, be sure to thank them, If you are a
volunteer be sure to take the time to pat yourself on the
back for a job well done. We, as a community, are indebted
to you and for that we offer you our collective thanks.