It is one week out of the year where we take the time to appreciate the efforts of people who generously offer their time in lending a helping hand. Without it, many organizations may find it hard to pursue their overall vision. They are prime contributors that help create a better world for us to live in.
The theme for this year’s volunteer week, outlined by Volunteer Canada is, “Celebrate the Value of Volunteering – building confidence, competence, connections and community”. These factors contribute to growth in volunteers and it is important to understand the great impact they have on the success of the organization’s goals.
East Scarborough Boys & Girls Club’s (ESBGC) Volunteer Coordinator, Michelle Joseph, began volunteering when she was 17 years old through a program in her community, and has since, been in the field for 12 years. Although, there is a great deal of leadership through the program coordinators, the volunteering and project planning were heavily youth led; and this was one of the many factors that made it so memorable, she explained.
She remembers one of her mentors as someone who was “very supportive,” she said. “Really integral in shaping and forming kind of leader that I would want to be.”
She formed networks and connections with her mentors that helped open doors and opportunities for her in the future. Her volunteer experience, love, and support from the community helped build her career.
At ESBGC’s Resource Centre, various events, workshops, and programs rely on the work of volunteers — without them, there may not be the ability to enhance development in the community. From early teen years, the Boys & Girls Clubs allow youth to take on roles that they can learn new skills and transfer them into their personal lives, while also allowing them to explore their abilities to help with self-development and form new friendships.
But, what is one message the public should take away about volunteering? According to Michelle, it’s the impact.
“The social climate that we have if we are not careful they can be quickly eroded – if life got harder, the interest of volunteering could be quickly diminished. I want people to remember we must be the ones that are pursuing a better global community. We can do that in so many ways…so easy for people to fall away from that… A lot of this comes from volunteering, which is why it is so important”
Volunteer Appreciation Week is a time dedicated to remember the work of volunteers and say thank you; organizations can come together and acknowledge the vital job volunteers do.
Thank you to all volunteers at ESBGC and all across Canada! Without you, there is no US!
Ashley Abdul is a full-time Political Science major at York University, working towards a career in Public/Media Relations in the non-profit world. She identifies as a proud Indo-Caribbean and expresses herself through the art of spoken word and poetry.