Volunteer Week pays tribute to community spirit - Metro US

Volunteer Week pays tribute to community spirit

Celebrating the selfless efforts of volunteers across Canada, National Volunteer Week is here.

The weeklong event runs from April 18 through April 24 and sheds light — as well as well-earned praise — on all the good work volunteers do in this country.

Ruth MacKenzie, president and CEO of Volunteer Canada, says National Volunteer Week celebrates the efforts of volunteers to highlight the positive effect their work has on society.

“The big goal is to draw attention to the 12.5 million Canadians who dedicate their time to make their communities better. They make change, they ignite movements and they just make things better for our society. People have really busy lives and just the fact that they take some time to volunteer, that’s transformative to our way of life and our social fabric,” MacKenzie said.

In all last year, 46 per cent of Canadians over the age of 15 volunteered their time and effort, providing 2.1 billion volunteer hours to community and charity organizations throughout Canada, proof that Canadians are no slouches when it comes to giving back to their communities.

MacKenzie says volunteering today has moved far beyond only physical help — many professionals are donating their knowledge and skills to help mentor others than ever before.

“We’re seeing a real shift to the focus being more skills-based and more talent-based. People are realizing they want to pass on their skills they’ve learned during their careers to others,” she said.

Deborah Gardner, executive director at Volunteer Toronto, hopes the national celebration will encourage more people to volunteer.

“As little as an hour can make a huge difference. Life is just so much different if you don’t volunteer,” Gardner said.

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