Page 1 | 2
Alberta, along with Canada as a whole, harbours a population that is becoming increasingly
diverse and multi-cultural. Volunteerism can play an important role in helping individuals of
all backgrounds become full participants in the economic, social and cultural life of the
province. The voluntary sector provides resources to people who might otherwise be held back
from gaining the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship by reasons of language,
religion, or ethnicity. Volunteerism has the ability to give people who feel themselves
to be on the "outside" of Alberta’s society the opportunity to become an integral part
of the life of the province.
This dynamic can work in two ways. The first is through voluntary organizations that
exist to promote the ease of assimilation within the province. An example of this might be
a program that assists new immigrants overcome language barriers and assists with the
finding of housing or employment. One such case is that of Lethbridge Family Service’s
Immigrant Support Program, whose goal is to promote the independence and integration of
immigrants within the community. In this instance, the individual is receiving volunteer
help to overcome difficulties that might exist as a function of his or her background.
Volunteerism is not unique to any one culture. The following
paper provides an interesting glimpse into "how different
cultures generally understand volunteering."
The Changing World of Volunteer Management: A practical
Guide to Cultural Diversity in Management by Lillas
Skinner, Diane Fisher, Keith Seel, and Li Zahnd.