How to Celebrate National Volunteer Week in Canada 2019
Did you know that April 7-13 2019 is National Volunteer Week? It all started in 1977 with a mission to increase and support volunteerism and civic participation across the country. Since then, volunteer centres, businesses, non-profits, educational institutions, governing bodies, and the people (you!) have come together to promote and expand volunteering initiatives in Canada.
While a lot of the great work that people do goes unaccounted for, Statistics Canada reports that nearly 44% of the population, aged 15 years and older, does volunteer work, an activity that exhibits an annual average growth rate of 1.2%. This is great to see, however data also shows that over the last 15 years, volunteer hours per person have declined and that the growth in total volunteer hours is approximately 1/3 the pace of total population growth. As you can see, more needs to be done to keep up with the demand, or should we say need.
At the Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation, we have been blessed to have met and worked with some tremendous people and organizations who have come together to enhance a wide number of Foundation funded programs. Throughout past and ongoing experiences we have gained insight into the wondrous benefits of volunteering and with National Volunteer Week upon us we hope to inspire you to become more involved yourselves, in 2019 and beyond.
How You Can Recognize Canada’s National Volunteer Week
Connect to the Theme
It’s one thing to for people to say they’re going to volunteer more, but when there is an undefined goal, follow through typically falls to the wayside. That’s why it’s a great idea to connect to a theme, if you don’t already hold a cause close to heart. Each year, Volunteer Canada creates a theme for National Volunteer Week, which gives you the opportunity to define a channel for your good deeds. This year, Volunteer Canada’s campaign is “The Volunteer Factor – Lifting Communities“. In summation:
“As we recognize the collective efforts of volunteers, we reflect on the multitude of actions taken locally to help people, communities and neighbourhoods become better prepared to respond to the unexpected, and better positioned for a more sustainable future.” (Volunteer Canada)
There you have it. Right at this very moment, there is a community initiative near you that could use your help. For instance, it can be something as simple as volunteering to lend your support to a local community garden or urban farm, or to join the board of directors of your neighborhood association.
Donate to Support Youth Programs
With sustainability being the key to any truly worthy volunteer program, there is nary a better way to support the concept than by supporting youth – the future of Canada. However, it can be a challenge to find youth programs where you can lend your volunteer hours to. After all, when it comes to working with kids, there must be a careful vetting process in place and that takes time. So how to you provide your support today? By donating to a registered foundation in support of youth programs that concentrate of sustainability. And it seems, that you’ve already come to the right place.
Our registered Foundation continues to successfully promote outdoor learning in schools across Canada. Have a look at our Funded Programs for reference. Within, you will find inspiring school garden projects, including this one at École Peter Greer Elementary in Lake Country, BC. Another example is the Port Weller Public School garden in St. Catharines, Ontario in addition to the Westmont Montessori sheltered school garden on Vancouver Island. Thanks to our amazing benefactors we have been able to accomplish a remarkable amount of good. And with your help, this list of Funded Programs will continue to grow until there is nary a school without a plot to grow food and promote outdoor education and sustainability.
View more on how your donation to support outdoor learning in schools is the key to a sustainable future. Remember, “getting involved” can be done in so many ways, and often generosity can go exponentially further than the volunteering of hours.
Encourage Others to Get Involved Too
In our recent article about why getting involved with a registered foundation is a great thing to do, we provided some interesting data – the fact that volunteering is contagious. A shared University of California and Harvard University study found that when one person behaves generously, it inspires observers to behave the same. But it gets better. This altruistic behavior reportedly has a three-degree affect, vaulting from one individual to the next, and the next. You can spark an initiative with a peer to peer fundraising tool here.
Now you don’t have to run around with a proverbial clipboard to “sign up” everyone you know, but you can be vocal about your volunteer work and donations, so that as the study suggests, others can “observe” your generous behavior and make their own decisions to follow suit. This can be effectively accomplished by sharing your experiences and involvement on your social networks. It doesn’t even have to be in the “look at what I did” vein, as you can simply share updates from a registered foundation’s social networks to increase exposure. For instance, you can follow the Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation on Facebook, and when you find a post/story that you connect to, you can spread the word. Need an example? How about this feature on Alex Stark, a bursary recipient of the Foundation who has gone on to do some incredible work in sustainable agriculture in both Canada and developing countries around the world. Or, share the story of Jessica Hill, another Foundation bursary recipient. Thanks to our donors, the number of success stories will only continue to grow. You can follow and share them all with your circle and watch the contagious affect run its wonderful course.
Help Us Recognize Great Deeds
The successful programs that we’ve been honoured to be a part of thus far would never have been possible without the support and generosity of our individual and corporate donors, especially – Natural Factors & Whole Earth & Sea.
Thank you to our wonderful volunteers who help and inspire us in our work every day:
- Roland Gahler, BC
- Mike Hobson, BC
- Dr. Priya Manju, BC
- Veronica Kacinick, BC
- Rachel Parent, ON
- Asha Moir, BC
- Dr. Jennifer Dyck, BC
- Erin Bott, ON
- Alison Stanley, ON
- Katie Wood, ON
- Clint Maltais, BC
- Diane Irvine, BC
- Jason Sebeslav and staff from The Peanut Mill Natural Foods Market, ON
- Steve Velthove and staff from InsideU, ON
- Lilian Newton, ON
- Rianne Van Ittursum, ON
- Leelou Poppins, BC
- Rick Payant and staff from Natural Food Pantry, ON
- Natasha Villeneuve, ON
- John Biggs and staff from Optimum Health Vitamins, AB
- Staff from Kootenay Country Store Cooperative, BC
- Staff from Community Natural Foods, AB
- Don Bulmer, BC
- Neil Melliship, BC
- Keith Murray, BC
- Scott Wyper, BC
- Rachel Burton, BC
- Sean Mackenrot, BC
- Shawn Serdar, BC
- Staff from Innovobiologic staff, BC
- Staff from Assured Naturals staff, BC
- Staff from ISURA staff, BC
- Staff from Natural Factors staff, BC
If you would like to know more about our work in Canada and how you too can help, please sign-up to become a Friend of the Foundation.