We celebrate the legions of volunteers – the people who touch our lives and communities every day – making wonderful things (big and small) happen that benefit us all.
National Volunteer Week is an annual celebration observed in many countries, to promote and show appreciation for volunteerism and volunteering. In Canada, it is organized by Volunteer Canada; and the Points of Light Foundation in the United States.
When we look at the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that Canada and others are committed to achieving by 2030, there is not a single goal that does not involve volunteers. Whether working to eliminate hunger, promoting quality education or reducing inequalities. It comes down to volunteers.
For most volunteers, it’s about giving back, giving to others, without much consideration about what they might be getting out of their hard work and selflessness. However, the benefits of volunteering can be significant to the volunteer, their family, and their community. The right fit can help reduce stress, find friends, connect with the community, learn new skills, and possibly even advance a career. Giving to others has also been proven to aid mental and physical health.
But, not surprisingly, the benefits they might reap aren’t typically the motivation behind the volunteer spirit for most. Look at the volunteers you know: they’re invested, involved, and engaged in helping others as well as their neighbourhoods and larger communities.
For the over 13 million Canadians participating in volunteer efforts, and the 62.8 million in the United States; yes, it brings them satisfaction and joy. But, more importantly to these committed volunteers in our lives and communities, it brings the people they serve much-needed aid, relief, care, and so much more.
And that’s why they do it. A need to serve. A need to help. A desire to leave the world just a little bit better than the way they found it.
So, on this week, let’s make a special effort to recognize the wonderful volunteers we know and love. Let them know you appreciate all they do to make our lives, as well as so many others, just that much more joyful!
Thank you volunteers!