by Lucie Roy
Volunteers are the heartbeat of any community, and they all make a difference.
This year National Volunteer Week (NVW) runs from 19-25 April, and the theme is: “It’s Time To Applaud Canada’s volunteers!” marking a celebration of the commitment, dedication and selflessness of volunteerism.
More than 12.7 million Canadian volunteers can be counted on and deserve a round of applause, and 44 per cent of them volunteer an average of 156 hours a year.
Translated into economic terms, this country’s volunteer contribution is valued at $55.9 billion in 2017. That is equivalent to 2.6 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
They volunteer their time to help individuals, local communities and different causes, either on their own or through various organizations.
Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, ages and stages of life. They represent diverse backgrounds and cultures. Collectively they have had a profound impact on every aspect of our society.
It starts with raising funds for the heart or kidney foundation, the Lions Foundation Walk for Dog Guides, or selling chocolates or plants for your scout group or girl guides, or helping the food bank.
There are residents in our community through whose efforts and dedication; our children learn their favourite sports and citizens enjoy community events, parades and festivals.
While we salute the volunteers, let us not forget the volunteer organizations also need new members, younger members and recruits so as to continue the volunteering spirit in the community.
Building a new generation of volunteers is essential to our future as a community. Parents, teachers and volunteer groups themselves are the key players in making this investment in tomorrow.
Children at all ages can be taught the importance of becoming active, responsible and caring citizens, one of the many valuable lessons they will learn.
This year is different. People enjoy volunteering and still feel the need and find the space to be able to do it.
Over the past few weeks, we have all seen how important community and those connections can be. As people begin to adapt to the strict social measures, the term physical distancing is slowly replacing social distancing as a way to reinforce the importance of staying connected.
Communities like Morinville have, during the course of the year paid tribute to their local volunteer citizen for their volunteer spirit by holding appreciation banquets, etc.
It is only fitting that the local volunteers receive a pat on the back for their tireless contribution to their communities.
Some of the numerous Appreciation Awards that ended in 2016 include the Town Volunteer of the Year, Coach of the Year, Silent Hero Award, Youth of the Year, Leader of the Year, Partnership Award, Legacy Award, Municipal Sustainability Champions and the Mayor’s Choice Award.
Appreciation awards are still ongoing to date are the Citizen of the Year presented by the Lions Club of Morinville, the Heritage Award presented by the Senior’s Rendez-Vous Club and the
Below is a gallery of some of Morinville’s past volunteer appreciation recipients.