WEYBURN - Next week, many communities across Canada will be celebrating National Volunteer Week. The annual campaign, to be marked April 24 to 30 this year, promotes volunteers and celebrates the contributions of millions of Canadians who donate their time and energy to making their community a better place to live.
With most of us leading super busy lives, the idea of volunteering – giving your time and energy to a cause without financial reward – may seem an impossible task. For many, it might seem impossible to fit anything else into our already jam-packed schedules.
However, volunteering is important for many reasons and doesn’t have to take up too much time. In fact, the benefits of volunteering are vast for the volunteer – not just the community, individual or organization receiving their assistance.
Many people say that volunteering has changed them in ways they never expected. They’ve made friends, learned new skills and expanded their hearts, minds and souls. Others have credited their volunteer time as the reason why they landed a job. The benefits are as varied as the volunteers.
Studies do show that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, and volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment. Even giving in simple ways can help those in need and improve your overall health and happiness.
Doing good for others and the community helps to create a natural sense of accomplishment. For many, it is working as a volunteer that gives them a sense of pride and identity. It is something that can help to boost self-confidence further by taking a person out of their natural comfort zone and environment.
Personally, I was inspired by my parents and their volunteer commitment to the community. My earliest memories include helping to volunteer at the Weyburn Beavers baseball games (I wrote a little Beaver Booster newsletter, my first experience as a sports writer), and being an active member of the Air Cadets when my family lived in Sherwood Park, Alta.
When I graduated from high school, I expanded into theatre volunteering, and continued my journalist passions by working with the Carillon, a newspaper published at the University of Regina. After the birth of my son, when I returned to Weyburn, I soon started volunteering for Crocus 80 Theatre, Communithon, and later the Weyburn Humane Society.
Each moment of volunteering helped me to make valuable friendships and connections that have changed my life for the better. Over the years, I learned to balance my work-life with my volunteering-time. National Volunteer Week is a good time to celebrate the hard-working volunteers in your community, and perhaps for new volunteers to consider joining an organization that suits their passions. There are many non-profit groups that would welcome new members.