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Volunteerism in Alberta: 100 years of Celebrating Community
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Volunteer Appreciation
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Alberta Volunteers

Volunteer Appreciation

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Volunteer Appreciation Volunteers play a vital role within Alberta, identifying and filling gaps left by the public and private sectors. They give freely of their time and talents in order to improve the lives of others and to play their part in the development of supportive, caring communities. The time and energy volunteers donate is one of the purest forms of philanthropy: a commitment to the public good with nothing asked in return.

Volunteering is not without its rewards, however. Many of them are intrinsic to the act of volunteering itself, and include such things as a feeling of involvement in society, the opportunity for personal growth, the chance to gain new skills and to meet new people. These turn the benefits of volunteering into a two-way street, whereby the volunteer can expect an experience that is enriching personally, if perhaps not monetarily.

Often, there are also more tangible forms of reward and recognition. Organizations that rely on volunteers usually take special care to let them know that their efforts are appreciated and do not go unnoticed. They do this in a variety of ways that may range from sending cards to formal awards ceremonies. For example, Catholic Social Services provides its volunteers with access to skill-building and personal development workshops, along with other perks, while the Parkinson’s Society of Alberta puts on a barbecue with entertainment and prizes for participants in its annual SuperWalk. In 2005, the United Way awarded travel gift certificates to two of its top fundraisers. These are only a few examples; there are as many different ways of expressing appreciation to volunteers as there are organizations that depend on them.

In addition to recognition from the individual organizations, volunteers are also honoured by municipal, provincial and federal governments. For example, the City of Red Deer acknowledges volunteers through the Mayor’s Recognition Awards, while on a provincial level recipients of the Stars of the Millennium Volunteer Awards Program are also featured on the Volunteer Wall of Fame. Children are recognized on a provincial level through the Great Kids Awards presented by the Ministry of Children’s Services. On a national level, exceptional volunteers have been inducted into the Order of Canada as acknowledgement of their service. Once again, these are just a few examples of awards from the different levels of government that are meant to show appreciation to volunteers on behalf of the public that they serve.

Generally, people volunteer for altruistic reasons, without the expectation of reward. Naturally, though, those who benefit from the efforts of volunteers desire a chance to say "thank you." Gestures of appreciation, no matter what form they take, provide the opportunity for volunteers to understand that they are making a valuable contribution.

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Volunteerism in Alberta: 100 years of Celebrating Community
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