The Oxford Dictionary defines a volunteer as ‘a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertakes a task’. As Canada celebrates and honours our volunteers with National Volunteer Week (NVW) from April 7-13 this year, we think of those in our community who freely offer their time to take part.
Much of the life in small town Ontario, where our policyholders and employees live and work, happens because of the work volunteers do. Volunteer Canada, an organization that was established to provide leadership and expertise on volunteer engagement in Canada has set the theme for NVW 2019 as ‘The Volunteer Factor – Lifting Communities.’
Volunteer Canada says that 12.7 million Canadians volunteer and lift their communities, making them vibrant and sustainable. Some of South Easthope Mutual’s staff are part of those. We look for people that have a sense of community as that is one of our company values. Below are some comments from some of South Easthope Mutual’s staff on why they volunteer:
“I’ve volunteered for many years at my church, for the local Agricultural Society as well as a couple of other organizations. As a child, both my parents were volunteers for many organizations and they taught me what a volunteer was. Today, I love being part of the community and I’ve made many new friends by volunteering. I enjoy giving back to the community through so many different volunteer opportunities.
“I once heard the saying “It takes a community to raise a child.” and I feel I’m a product of that. Over the years, so many people have given of their time for causes I’ve participated in, I feel it is only right I do the same for my community. For generations, my church, the local Agricultural Society, 4-H, choirs and theatre have been a staple of my community and I want to see them continue for the next generation. They only can with volunteers. I’ve made life-long friends through volunteering. Also, when I’ve been given the gift of certain talents, I feel it is my duty to use them for the betterment of the community. Nothing gives me more satisfaction as a volunteer when someone simply says ‘Thank you’. No other recognition is needed. Volunteering makes me feel so good.”
“After many years as being a volunteer fire fighter in my community it has become part of my life. I’d always had an interest in the fire department so I joined. I enjoy trying to make someone’s bad day a little better if I can. I really like the social aspect of the people on the fire department. I meet people in a different environment than where I work and that social aspect is very rewarding. My view of people, my community and the situations in which we live has been broadened over the years. I’m really just happy to be able to give back to the community.”
“Ultimately I volunteer to give back and to help support our wonderful community where our kids can continue to play and be active. Volunteering gives me a sense of belonging and I’m happy to work to make it a better place for everyone.”
“I’ve grown up around volunteering all my life, especially watching grandparents being involved with many teams and organizations in the community including being a volunteer fire fighter. As a young guy, I loved playing hockey and ball myself. I had coaches that gave countless hours of their time to teach kids the games, to work hard, be respectful and have fun. I just felt it was the least I could do to give back to the community. I coached minor hockey in Tavistock for ten plus years and worked with the Tavistock Royals and Braves. I’ve also coached my daughter’s ball team and have been a volunteer fire fighter for eight years now. You see a lot of things and go through training and practices but it’s the little things that make it all worthwhile; seeing smiles on kid’s faces, helping people in distress and doing what I can to make people feel comfortable. I don’t look at it all as volunteering, I just look at it as helping out with things I enjoy in our great community.”
Again, thank you to everyone out there that volunteers. Next time you are asked to help out with something, or see a call or announcement looking for volunteers, if you are able, put up your hand and say ‘yes’. You can feel good knowing you are lifting up your community and making it a better place to live.