The Gleaner

An ode to our volunteers

The Valley’s volunteers were the centre of attention on April 12, during the annual awards ceremony recognizing their dedicated involvement with community groups, schools, healthcare institutions, and non-profit organizations across the Haut-Saint-Laurent. The event rang in National Volunteer Week, which runs between April 14 to 20, and served as a rousing reminder that much of what makes the Valley such a special place are the people who live here.

There would be no sports associations, no libraries, and far fewer extracurricular activities for us all without volunteers. The Scouting, Guiding, and 4-H movements would cease to exist. Special events and activities in our hospitals and CHSLDs would be reduced to a bare minimum. We experienced a taste of this during the pandemic when everything came to a standstill. In many ways, it was the determination of volunteers to get back to their work that ushered in a return to normalcy.

Volunteer Canada estimates that there are 24 million volunteers in Canada, which suggests that every other Canadian contributes in some way to their community. This seems like an impressive number, but if this was actually the case, why are so many of our organizations so desperate to recruit new volunteers? Perhaps it is time for a renewed commitment to volunteering.

The resounding message communicated by those who were nominated for a volunteer award last week was that they simply have to keep going. The volunteer awards celebrate the selfless efforts of more than 50 individuals, but even more than this, they serve as a source of inspiration for future generations to become active in their communities.

It is more important than ever for us all to find ways to volunteer. The future success of so many of our organizations, as well as our community vitality and wellbeing, will depend on how well this message is received.
Sarah Rennie

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