Central Alberta volunteers honoured

Central Alberta volunteers honoured

Sylvan Lake’s Linda Wilson served as the 2017 United Way campaign co-chair. Wilson said she has volunteered since she could walk. (File photo by ADVOCATE staff)

Central Alberta volunteers honoured during National Volunteer Week

Sylvan Lake’s Linda Wilson has volunteered since she could walk and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.

Volunteers across the country, including Wilson, are being honoured during National Volunteer Week, which ends Sunday.

“It’s so rewarding when you’re helping out, knowing you’re making an impact and seeing the faces of the folks that you’re able to help,” Wilson said.

Wilson, 54, has volunteered with multiple groups, including: the United Way, Alzheimer’s Society and Sylvan Lake Extended Care Society.

Volunteering has been a lifelong passion for Wilson.

“I had two parents who modelled volunteering very well,” she said. “My mom used to take us to the nursing home – there were four of us in the family – where we would sing and she’d play the piano.”

Wilson is a co-founder of CorQuest Inc., a corporate training company in Sylvan Lake. She said working full-time while volunteering hasn’t been a challenge for her.

“A lot of times you’re heading in and out the door,” she said. “But being involved at such a young age, you see the need out there.”

Pam Snowden, Volunteer Central executive director, said National Volunteer Week is a good time to thank people like Wilson who constantly give back to the community.

“A lot of the things that happen in the community wouldn’t be possible without the work of volunteers.

“Volunteerism rolls across the whole spectrum and impacts us in many ways,” Snowden said. “From health care to cleaning the parks, providing playground equipment in the parks, feeding people, sheltering people or even holding people’s hands when they’re taking their last breath.”

Snowden said a recent study from the Government of Canada and Volunteer Canada shows volunteers don’t feel the need to be thanked, they just want to know the impact of their work.

“Lots of agencies wouldn’t exist without volunteers – they really depend on the volunteer workforce,” she said.

In a recent City of Red Deer citizen satisfaction study, 63 per cent of participants said they have volunteered.

“I think we do have the reputation in Red Deer of being one of the ‘volunteeriest’ communities around,” she said.

Volunteering is a national value, Snowden added.

“The volunteer rate in Canada is quite high compared to other places in the world,” she said.

To learn about possible volunteer opportunities in Red Deer, visit www.volunteercentral.ca.