Lorraine Hankins, Andrea Lee, Shelly Walker and Celeste Reid pose behind Stettler Mayor Sean Nolls and Stettler County Reeve Larry Clarke during the signing to proclaim April 7th to April 13th as National Volunteer Week. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent

Celebrating local volunteers ‘all year long’

This week marks ‘Volunteer Appreciation Week’

Volunteers deserve to be celebrated all year long.

That’s one of the key messages officials behind National Volunteer Week want to get out there, along with a note of encouraging more folks to lend a helping hand to organizations they have a heart for.

“The theme this year is ‘Lifting Communities’, said Lorraine Hankins, volunteer coordinator with the Stettler Volunteer Centre.

“We have thousands of volunteers here between the town and the county that contribute hundreds of hours,” she said, adding that these run the spectrum from the completely volunteer-driven Superfluity store on Stettler’s Main Street to the local food bank to coaches of all kinds of community teams.

“We have a tremendous amount of volunteering that makes our community a better place to live,” she said. “It’s always important for the Town and County of Stettler to recognize our volunteers and take part in National Volunteer Week.”

A special event honouring local volunteers was held Monday evening at the Stettler Community Hall, which marked the week’s signature event here in town.

According to Karen Link of Volunteer Alberta, nearly half the province’s population volunteers in some way.

“And Alberta volunteers are generous with their time by donating on average 161 hours per year to important causes that they value. You can transform your life, the lives of others and your entire community by volunteering.”

As Hankins pointed out, the aim this week is to try and thank everyone who lends a hand in one way or another.

And volunteers point to many reasons as to why they give of their time from the positive feelings it brings to utilizing volunteering as a superb way of making new friends and connections in a community, she said.

Also, perhaps they are now retired and have some time to give back which they didn’t have in past years when they were working full-time. Some also find joy in helping out in areas they’ve never explored before, while others opt to volunteer in ways that tap into their specific skill sets.

“We are continuing to try and build volunteer capacity. We are also always looking for more activities for people to take part in,” she said, adding that without volunteers, many of the services and events that local residents enjoy simply wouldn’t exist.

For more information on how to get involved, call 403-742-1155 or find ‘Stettler Volunteer Centre’ on Facebook.

“There are lots of things to do and to participate in.”

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