Wilkinson: Volunteer Centre: Find out where you’ll be happiest

A Happiness Monitor, that is the title used by Coca-Cola when canvassing 5,000 Canadians earlier this year. Nice title. What did they find?

Whether by giving time or money, nearly half of Canadians say they feel happy when supporting charitable causes. A total of 14 per cent said they were extremely happy.

The top causes receiving gifts of time and money include providing food and nutrition for disadvantaged children, helping animals, protecting the environment, and contributing to medical research.

According to this survey, volunteering occurs most often amongst first-generation Canadians, females, and citizens who are older than 25.

I recently interviewed Beryl Itani, winner of the Anita Tozer Memorial Award given by Kelowna City Council at the Civic and Community Awards ceremony in April recognizing her extraordinary and positive contribution to the quality of life in Kelowna.

Yes, Beryl is a woman, older than 25 who agrees that volunteering adds happiness to her life. However, Beryl learned from a young age to volunteer. Her parents and grandparents were quick to help others. Giving back to the community where you live just made sense.

“I believe that volunteering is good for your health,” offers Beryl. “Your life is more vibrant. You get fewer colds and your mind stays alert.”

Over the years, one volunteer opportunity led to another. The constant was working in teams with each person doing their part to make something big happen. “I like to work behind the scenes and get things done that make a difference,” explains Beryl.

As a long standing volunteer with Kelowna Community Resources, planning the 2011 Okanagan Volunteer Opportunities Fair is one of Beryl’s current projects.

She invites you to join us at the Volunteer Fair on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Parkinson Recreation Centre. Visit the 80 displays and find a place to volunteer that makes you happy.

Dawn Wilkinson is the coordinator for the Community Information and Volunteer Centre.

250-763-8008, ext 24


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