Volunteers – outside of our youth, these people are probably the most important individuals in our communities. They’ve often been described as the ‘heart of communities’. Without a volunteer in our communities, very little would be done. You could pay for every last thing that’s done in a community and it wouldn’t take long before bankruptcy would hit.
The provincial government estimates the enormous impact of volunteers on this province alone amounts to 187,000 volunteers contributing 35 million hours of valuable unpaid time.
No wonder communities would be bankrupt if they had to paid for volunteer work!
Every facet of the community is affected by volunteers – community councils, firefighters, service groups, church organizations, youth groups, young adults organizations, minor sports, after school sports, Special Olympics and the list can and indeed does go on.
You know it’s good to have volunteers because they take pride in their communities. When a community has pride among its residents, then the message is sent we’re glad you came, stayed awhile and enjoyed our hospitality, and better still put down roots to allow our community to grow and flourish.
Groups such as town councils, churches, hospital boards and others are taking this week to acknowledge the untiring work done by volunteers.
It’s volunteer week in Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada with the theme ‘Volunteers Light Up Communities’.
Unfortunately, volunteers are not often recognized for their efforts. They do things unselfishly for their communities without the desire for a pay cheque, but it often comes at a sacrifice.
That sacrifice is time away from their own families and friends, or perhaps even their place of employment.
But they do it for ‘love’ of their community – family, friends and neighbours – and province. Their efforts mean regions can move forward to better things – support services for the elderly, young people and others.
It means better health care facilities/services, better recreation opportunities, a helping hand for a family down on their luck or in need of medical care for a loved one.
Look around your own community and see the things which have been accomplished because you or your neighbour volunteered. These are deeds which can make one proud.
Life is better because of volunteers, and residents should make an effort to let these individuals know their services are appreciated. A pat on the back or a handshake goes a long way to saying thank you – job well done! – George Macvicar, Editor