Next week is National Volunteer Week in Canada, a chance to recognize the important role of volunteers in our communities.
This year, the message compares a volunteer action to a stone thrown in a lake. There is the immediate effect of the splash, but then there are the ripples that spread far and wide to improve communities.
And, considering the number of hours volunteers put in, the amount or ripples are huge. The last survey conducted by the federal government shows that in 2010, 47 per cent of Canadians, aged 15 and up, each contributed an average of 156 hours, adding up to almost 2.1 billion hours of volunteer time. That is roughly the equivalent of 1.1 million full-time jobs.
Here, in Penticton, we rely on volunteers for many things. There are those that labour daily to help maintain the social safety net of the community, putting their time and skills to work at places like the food bank or the
Soupateria, or the many other support and aid groups that help our most vulnerable.
Then there are the volunteers who contribute their time to make sure community events like the Challenge Triathlon, the Gran Fondo, Elvis Festival and many others, even the Vees games go off without a hitch.
In fact, many of these events that bring life, energy and tourism dollars to the community wouldn’t happen without volunteers.
Without the contribution of volunteers some work might never get done. They build homes for the homeless, help out in schools and hospitals, clean garbage out of rivers, coach, you name it. Their work is an extension of being a good neighbour and so much more — volunteerism is fundamental part of the very notion of community.
So take the opportunity next week, and every week, to join us in thanking volunteers for all that they do to make our communities better places to live.