Volunteers really do make a difference

Volunteering is a very Canadian thing to do.

We create community and support one another through gifts of money and time.

In preparation for National Volunteer Week, which goes April 15 to 21, Statistics Canada has released the 2010 Canadian Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating.

Every other person you pass on the street volunteers.

Here in BC, we average 178 hours each year.  and we are above the national average.

We rank seventh among the provinces and territories when it comes to volunteering.

B.C. youths, between the ages of 15 and 24 volunteer the most.

Are you surprised? They make up 15.5 per cent of our population but they make up 58.8 per cent of volunteers.

People aged 25 to 34 volunteer at a 53.2 per cent rate and those aged 35 to 44 volunteer at a 57.5 per cent rate. They represent 16.5 per cent and 16.6 per cent of our population respectively.

B.C. seniors volunteer the greatest number of hours, 301 hours on average. That represents 22.4 per cent of the total hours volunteered.

During the 2011 Central Okanagan Volunteer Fair, held last September, Jin Park surveyed the public who attended.

“People told us that their most satisfying volunteering provided a sense of belonging, included family members, involved new learning experiences and resulted in seeing needs being met,” said Park

“We were surprised by the number of people who were new to the community and saw volunteering as a way of connecting,” she added.

Park is a volunteer, a newcomer to Canada and in her early 30s. For her, olunteering plays an important role in meeting people and sharing her love of knowledge management.

She has found a niche at Kelowna Community Resources because it provides training and support to charities looking for volunteers as well as online matching for individuals wanting to volunteer.

Have you found a satisfying place to volunteer? If not, check out www.kcr.ca, volunteer opportunities search.

Dawn Wilkinson is the coordinator for the Community Information and Volunteer Centre.Go to www.kcr.ca |informkelowna@kcr.ca to create your volunteer profile and find out about other volunteer opportunities inthe Central Okanagan.



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