National Volunteer Week is April 18 to 24 and the theme this year is:
The Value of One, The Power of Many.
I cannot think of a more fitting theme as we reflect on a difficult year and look forward to a brighter future.
The last year has looked and felt different in every possible way. Our lives at home, at work, at school, and at play have been turned upside down. The most vulnerable among us have borne the brunt of the hardship and have been driven deeper into poverty, mental health challenges, domestic violence, addiction, isolation and disconnection.
But what has stood out among the relentless headlines and the soaring demand for critical frontline social services has been how our community’s volunteers have stepped forward once again to show #LocalLove by helping family, friends, neighbours, and strangers.
Burlington, Halton Hills, Hamilton, Milton, and Oakville are communities known for their strong volunteer spirit and it is no overstatement to say that every act of generosity and kindness, and every way people selflessly contributed to their communities over this past year has mattered more than ever. It simply can’t be measured.
From delivering groceries to someone in need, to packing donations at a food bank, to serving on the board of a non-profit, to calling a lonely, isolated senior; volunteers have continually shown the collective power of community.
That, of course, has never been more evident than it is today. Magical things happen when people work together toward a common purpose in times of crisis.
That is absolutely true of how our community has pulled together through the pandemic, but also evident in the fight against systemic racism and for the building of a more just and equitable society for all.
Crisis brings out care and compassion, but it also creates change. It shines a light on our most challenging social issues. This year, what we have lived through will set the tone for reimagining the next 20 years.
As always, volunteers will lead the way forward.
They make our neighbourhoods, cities, and our country better, kinder and more loving. Volunteers truly make the world go round.
They are the true heroes among us and though they never ask for it, let’s take this week to sing their praises, demonstrate our appreciation and thank them from the bottom of our hearts.
President and CEO,
United Way Halton & Hamilton