In Celebration of our Volunteers

National Volunteer Week


“Why are you doing this when you’re not getting paid?”

It was the same question our volunteer tutor had heard the three weeks previous, as he settled in for another math session at the local coffee shop. The adult learner he was working with couldn’t believe he would show up week after week purely to help him reach his employment goals, without asking for anything in return.

“What motivates you to volunteer with us?”

It’s a question I too like to ask our volunteers. It’s inspiring to hear the passion in their voices as they talk about making a difference, giving back, their desire to see individuals and families succeed. They also speak about the deep satisfaction they receive from helping others to reach their goals—whether that’s helping a parent to gain new skills as their child’s first teacher, understanding the letters coming home from their child’s school, passing their driver’s test, deciphering a medicine label, or simply gaining the confidence and skills to fill in important forms for themselves.

Last year, 237 Centre for Family Literacy volunteers invested over 9,300 hours in our work to build, develop and improve literacy with families in Edmonton. Their behind-the-scenes commitments included board and committee work, assisting with Family Literacy programs, facilitating Adult Literacy Classes, tutoring one-on-one, office support and fundraising events. Their collective impact was extraordinary!

April 10 to 16 is National Volunteer Week, a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers. We would like to take this moment to express our gratitude especially to our volunteers with the Centre for Family Literacy. Whether they’ve just joined our volunteer team, or served with us over twenty years, together we are working to foster a healthy, literate society where we are all able to contribute and succeed.

Volunteer Canada put it beautifully: “Volunteers are the roots of strong communities. Just like roots are essential for trees to bloom, volunteers are essential for communities to boom. Thanks to volunteers, our communities grow strong and resilient. Even the tiniest volunteer effort leaves a profound and lasting trace in a community, much like tree rings that appear over time.”

Why are you doing this?”

If you want to be inspired, put this question to a volunteer. Then watch them light up. Better yet, find that niche in the community where your passion and skills will enhance the lives of others while also enriching yours, and volunteer!

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