Seniors Outreach - April 26, 2017

National Volunteer Week first was established in Canada in 1943. Women’s Voluntary Services in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver organized events to highlight the contributions women made to war efforts on the home front. In the 1960’s, volunteer week was revived to include all community volunteers. By the 70’s and 80’s, this week grew to include local volunteer centres. In 1990, the third week in April was proclaimed as National Volunteer week all across Canada and is a fitting way to pay tribute to Canada’s volunteers.
National Volunteer Week is April 23rd - April 29th this year and it is a perfect time to recognize the amazing volunteers in our communities for the time they give to our programs, services and for the betterment of our seniors. Volunteers for Seniors Outreach come from all walks of life, skill sets, age groups and have diverse backgrounds that they bring to our organization. We could not operate our wide-ranging program on our part time staff, therefore we rely heavily on our volunteers to help us advocate and provide assistance to seniors in all of Kneehill County and area.
I am often asked the impact that volunteers provide to our Seniors Outreach Program. In 2016, Seniors Outreach had 177 registered volunteers, logging 12,098 hours in volunteer time! This translates to just under $150,000 of wages if we were to pay minimum wage for all the volunteer hours collected! We obviously do not have the funds to cover that expense, so the time and energy our volunteers provide is imperative to the success of Seniors Outreach. It is hard to provide a “stat” to measure the human aspect of volunteerism but I assure you that the cards of thanks, kind words and messages from community members and families speak volumes. You do make a difference!
We welcome our volunteers to stop into our office in Three Hills for a small gift of appreciation and our Outreach Workers will have gifts in the outlying areas as well. We will also be offering free coffee at the Three Hills Drop In Centre this week and the centres in other areas will have a coffee special as well.
I am reminded of this quote when I think of our volunteers and the commitment, kindness and caring they show to our seniors, staff and fellow volunteers.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

- Maya Angelou