BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Volunteer Central, based in Red Deer, is excited to encourage citizens to take part in a national challenge to reach 150 volunteer hours this year as Canadians celebrate the Canada 150.
The Challenge was issued by Volunteer Ottawa in partnership with the umbrella organization, Volunteer Canada. To get involved, Central Alberta citizens are encouraged to utilize the mobile and online services of volunteercentral.ca to keep track of their hours as they move through the year.
With a special focus on new Canadians, Aboriginals, seniors and youth, the Challenge will culminate in a ceremony in Ottawa to recognize those individuals who contributed the most hours in each province and territory, and the city that contributed the greatest number of volunteer hours.
Volunteer Central Chairperson Jennifer Blair said there is no doubt that local citizens will rise to the challenge posed by the Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson. Blair said, “Our community is known for its outstanding volunteer spirit.
“The Canada 150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge will engage citizens in volunteerism to improve the quality of living for all Canadians. We believe the efforts of Volunteer Central and those of our regional, provincial, and national counterparts will inspire strong, connected and resilient communities.”
Blair said volunteerism is a catalyst for social inclusion, community engagement and for fostering a sense of belonging.
“Our collective future depends on all of us working together and inspiring others to do the same so that our community will continue to prosper. Through campaigns like Canada 150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge, we support this vision.”
Although Volunteer Central is based in Red Deer, they facilitate organizations all through the Central Alberta region. Lacombians are encouraged to get involved and take the challenge as well.
“This is a Central Alberta community-wide effort and Volunteer Central is here to provide some leadership and inspiration,” said Executive Director Pam Snowdon.
“We have over 105 non-profit partners now that participate through our web site. If people are looking for volunteer opportunities or know they’d like to start volunteering, our web site is a great place for them to begin the search to find what works for them.”
She said she hopes to inspire the community into action, encouraging people to register even if they think they won’t procure a total of 150 hours.
“Some people think 150 hours seems like a huge amount of time, but I believe Statistics Canada said the average Canadian already volunteers 154 hours a year – and many of those hours we don’t even call volunteering. It’s just in small things like helping a neighbour shovel their sidewalk or helping to clean up a yard.”
Snowdon said many small actions can build up to help a person complete the 150 hour challenge.
For more information and to register for the nation-wide challenge, head to volunteercentral.ca.