by Morinville News Staff

Volunteers and volunteerism will be celebrated Apr. 10 to 16 during National Volunteer Week. A special volunteer evening is planned for Apr. 15 at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre from 6 p.m to 8 p.m.

This year’s theme is Volunteers are the Roots of a Community, and the Town is recognizing it’s rooted volunteers with a pay-it-forward program, volunteer contribution wall, articles thanking volunteers, and the recognition night complete with a meal and ceremony.

“Throughout the week residents are encouraged to thank the many volunteers that make a difference within our community,” said Melonie Dziwenka, Community Program/FCSS Coordinator. “We will
have coffee cards available for residents to grab and give out to volunteers of our community.”

This year’s Volunteer Appreciation event will also take an opportunity to embrace and celebrate Morinville’s art community. The Morinville Youth Art Club are creating a display showcasing volunteerism at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre during National Volunteer Week.

No longer just an award’s ceremony

The community is taking a broader approach to volunteer recognition this year. Rather than issuing a number of certificates singling out individual volunteers, the Friday night event will include a slideshow of the different ways volunteers make a difference in the community, and plenty of time for volunteers to talk to one another.

Although the Town will not be giving out individual awards, the Rendez-Vous Club’s Heritage Award, Morinville News’ Paul Krauskopf Community Spirit Award and Lions Club’s Citizen of the Year will all be presented during the event.

Dziwenka said this year’s event was the start of transitioning the program from recognizing individual volunteers to celebrating and recognizing organization’s volunteers and program contributions instead.

Previous years have seen few to no nominations for the roster awards previously given out. Often nominations received included only the nominees name with no indication of why thy were worthy of the award.

“It tells me the community hasn’t bought into this type of award recognition,” Dziwenka said. “Looking at Volunteer Canada’s 2013 report – that’s not how volunteers want to be recognized. Our attendance has declined over the last four or five years. Volunteers are telling me award ceremonies are not what it’s all about.”

Dziwenka is hoping the new format and broader recognition will bring more volunteers out for an evening of food and socialization Apr. 15. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Volunteer groups were invited, and volunteers interested in attending can reserve a maximum of eight tickets by calling Melonie Dziwenka at 780-939-7833 with the organization’s name and volunteers attending.

Coffee card vouchers for individuals to pick up and distribute to deserving volunteers during National Volunteer Week are now available at the Community Services Office (9502-100 Ave.)

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