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Why should YOU volunteer?
April 2009 (Page 34)
Reasons for volunteering can vary dramatically from person to person. Some people feel the need to give back to their community. Some people are looking to gain valuable experience to assist in the process of going back to school or finding meaningful employment. Some people simply want to have fun and spend time doing something they enjoy.
The most recent volunteer studies done by Volunteer Canada and Imagine Canada showed that over a one-year period almost 12 million Canadians (or 45% of the population over the age of 15) volunteered their time. These Canadians contributed almost 1 billion hours of their time or the equivalent of 1 million full-time jobs.
To be frank about it, many non-profit organizations would not be able to do the work they do without the support of their volunteers. Events such as the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life utilize upwards of 100 volunteers just on the day of the event.
Volunteers do everything from registering participants at the AIDS Walk, to engaging the community through public speaking opportunities, to sitting on a board to provide strategic direction for an organization.
AIDS Calgary Awareness Association itself was founded in 1983 by a group of volunteers with a clear vision for a Calgary-based AIDS Service Organization. Initially a grassroots association, these volunteers did everything from fundraising to developing and delivering programming.
Volunteers are just as critical to our agency today as they were 25 years ago. On average, volunteers give over 14,000 hours of time to us each year - that is the equivalent to eight staff positions. No small contribution to an agency with only 16 staff members!
One of our volunteer board members, Jeff Kaplar, has this to say about volunteering: “Helping people = feeling good. It just seems like the right thing to do. AIDS Calgary itself doesn’t have needs; the people that we serve have needs. Many of us are lucky; to some extent we get to choose the life we lead and the world that we live it in. For the rest, sometimes getting a helping hand can go a long way, and might make a big difference in their world. Doesn’t that sound like a world you’d want to live in?”
April 19th to 25th is National Volunteer Week in Canada. This week is an opportunity to celebrate volunteers and volunteerism nationally and locally. To celebrate, AIDS Calgary is holding a Volunteer Open House.
Our Volunteer Open House is the perfect opportunity for people to meet our staff, find out about exciting new volunteer opportunities and learn about our upcoming “Volunteer Challenge”. Our open house is open to everyone including past, present and future volunteers, community partners and supporters!
If you want to learn more about volunteering at AIDS Calgary please join us on Wednesday, April 22nd. Drop by our offices any time between 4:00 and 7:00pm.
So, why should you volunteer? Because everybody else is doing it? Because you want to be a part of your community? Because you have a cause you’re passionate about? Because you want to have fun and meet new people? Because you want to share your talents and skills with others?
Maybe the question should be: Why shouldn’t you volunteer?
For more on Jeff’s thoughts on volunteering please visit http://aidscalgary.blogspot.com on Thursday, April 23rd. To RSVP for AIDS Calgary’s Volunteer Open House, please contact Nikhat at 403-508-2500 ext.116. We hope to see you there!
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