Kelowna leads Canada 150 challenge

By Marla O’Brien

Canada is known for many things, with its people’s spirit of generosity often topping the list. So what better way to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial than to acknowledge and support volunteerism?

“We have a basic instilled sense to be compassionate and help one another,” says Dawn Wilkinson, community services manager at Kelowna Community Resources (KCR). “This year gives us an opportunity for the whole concept of volunteering to be acknowledged, valued and respected.”

With this in mind, volunteer centres across the nation are promoting the 150 for 150 Challenge, encouraging citizens to log 150 hours of volunteer hours during the year. While giving three hours a week may seem daunting to some, Wilkinson sites statistics indicating that 44 percent of Canadians already average 154 hours per year.

“Part of the surprise is recognizing how much we really do,” Wilkinson explains.

Volunteering is defined as giving of one’s time for the common good or public benefit without financial reward. Many regularly do activities that fit this definition without even thinking of it as volunteerism, such as shoveling a neighbour’s driveway, coaching a sports team, or taking care of an ill friend.

Such informal acts of generosity contribute immeasurably to the overall health of a community. KCR received a Canada 150 grant from the Central Okanagan Foundation, to encourage and promote all these collective gifts of time.

Wilkinson admits one challenge is that volunteers often aren’t looking for recognition and, therefore, capturing an accurate record of their involvement can be difficult. This is where another local organization comes in, one that is making a difference on the national stage.

Volinspire.com is the brainchild of Sheldon Gardiner and Jeff Hoffart, both passionate advocates for helping individuals, businesses and nonprofits create meaningful impact in an easy-to-navigate and fun way. Over the past two years, the entrepreneurs developed an online community engagement platform that hosts a suite of giving-related functions; it is a place to collect inspiring stories, allows volunteers to find opportunities with local nonprofits and log their hours, and helps business engage their employees in community development work.

Earlier this year, Volinspire was chosen as the common online platform to be used across Canada to register and track everyone up for the 150 for 150 Challenge.

“It’s truly about the impact being made,” explains Hoffart. “Even if you don’t give 150 hours, think about all the informal giving and random acts of kindness, and what our community would be like if those didn’t happen.”

And the company is practicing what it preaches—they’ve already contributed over $30,000 worth of staff time to perfect their software and promote it for Canada’s anniversary.

Thanks to the efforts of KCR and Volinspire, among others, Kelowna is currently leading the nation on a per capita basis for the percentage of citizen registered for the Challenge and total hours given.

With six months to go, everyone is invited to get involved. Simply visit any of the following websites to learn more: www.volinspire.com, www.kcr.ca, www.volunteer150for150.ca

Just Posted

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: A sunny Easter Sunday

Temperatures will peak at approximately 20C region-wide

Petition to stop new cell tower too close to Kelowna homes

An online petition was started to stop cell tower construction near Ellison Elementary School

Local Kelowna project tabs restaurant workers for industry fundraiser

The 2nd Hungry Games invites fundraises for local charities

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Clear skies and pushing 20 C

Environement Canada forcasts a sunny and warm Easter weekend

Peeling away: OK strip clubs disappearing

Hear from Penticton’s only strip club owner about their success in a dying industry

Update: Fire destroys Peachland home on Somerset Avenue

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze

Okanagan township’s open burning winds down

Spallumcheen reminds residents of regulation changes as open burning concludes April 30

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Summerland student examines effects of sound

Science fair project will go to national competition in New Brunswick

Cuteness overload: duckling thinks dog is its mom

Vernon photographer Fiona Hook shot a cute video after noticing one of her ducklings had taken a special liking to her dog.

Most Read