Volunteer week shares invaluable contributions

Oak Bay would look very different without its many volunteers

The theme of this year’s national volunteer week , April 10 to 16, is “Volunteers are the roots of strong communities.”

A quick look of the Oak Bay landscape shows this is true.

From youth sports to seniors’ services, revitalizing local parks to supporting people in need, Oak Bay is a hot-spot of volunteerism – Oak Bay Volunteer Services alone has been connecting volunteers with individuals for 37 years.

Nationally, almost 13 million Canadians aged 15 and older give of their time, and almost twice as many (82 per cent) give money to a charitable or not‑for‑profit organization.

According to the federal government, more than half of not-for-profit organizations rely entirely on volunteering, making volunteers the roots of sustainable community organizations.

What does that look like locally? It’s the coaches on the field at Carnarvon and the folks behind the community groups supporting Syrian refugees. It’s the crew regularly pulling ivy and other invasives at Uplands Park and those  ensuring Oak Bay’s arts organizations continue to make this a beautiful place to live in and enjoy. It’s the teens from school clubs and community groups giving their time and energy to raising money for innumerable causes that touch their lives every day.

Need more ideas? Those at least “50 years young” are urged to visit Monterey Rec Centre today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a volunteer showcase highlighting the contributions of current volunteers, exploring a whole host of volunteer possibilities available.

Because here’s one of the great things about and volunteerism: anyone can do it, in whatever way makes sense for them.

From helping with a community fundraiser to pulling ivy to making a friendly “check-in” phone call to a senior, each action is meaningful. Each action makes Oak Bay a strong, vibrant community.

And without them, our neighbourhood would look a whole lot different indeed.