Report from Parliament Hill:
Celebrating our volunteers in the North
Bob Nault, MP, Kenora Riding
Volunteers across the country give countless hours of their time and energy to strengthen our communities. In 2013 alone, 47 per cent of Canadians devoted almost two billion volunteer hours to charities and non-profit organizations—the equivalent of almost 1.1 million full-time jobs.
Whether we volunteer out of a desire to contribute to our communities or because we have personally been affected by a cause, the impact is profound. Recognizing the efforts of those who give back to our communities is important and can inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Canada’s Volunteer Awards are one way to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of volunteers. Nominations for the awards are now being accepted and will be open until June 15.
If you know a volunteer, young person, business, or not-for-profit organization that is making a difference, show your appreciation by nominating them. This year, in total, 21 awards will be presented at the award ceremony on International Volunteer Day, and those who are chosen will also have a chance to give back; regional award recipients are eligible to identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a $5,000 grant. The National Award recipient will be eligible to identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a $10,000 grant.
Here in the North, there are endless examples of community members and organizations that devote their time and energy to improving the lives of many. While they don’t seek recognition, they certainly deserve some acknowledgement for their contributions. There is no way to mention all of them, so I would like to highlight a few.
For instance, it’s a special year for the Lake of the Woods District Hospital Auxiliary. The auxiliary, made-up completely of volunteers, is celebrating their 50th anniversary this June. Perhaps best known for operating the hospital’s gift shop, these women have been a staple of volunteerism in the riding.
One of the major events during the height of the summer tourism season in Kenora is Harbourfest. It’s easy to forget that, for more than 25 years, this large scale operation has been planned and executed by a dedicated group of volunteers.
In Sioux Lookout, the Sioux Area Seniors Activity Centre (SASAC) has played an important role in the community for more than 30 years. Along with day-to-day classes and activities, volunteers allow the centre to hold health clinics and organize community projects, as well as fundraisers such as bake sales and teas, for those 55 and older.
The Meals on Wheels program is made possible through the hard work and dedication of volunteers. Coordinated through the Kenora District Home for the Aged, volunteers in Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, and Kenora make sure the elderly have warm meals delivered to them in the comfort of their own residence. In Dryden, the Dryden Regional Health Centre has their own wonderful volunteers who deliver Meals on Wheels for the area.
Not only do volunteers look after other people, they take care of animals in need as well. For example, the Second Chance Pet Network in Dryden takes in dogs and cats from all over Northwestern Ontario, including Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, Balmertown, Ear Falls, Vermilion Bay, Fort Frances, and Atikokan, as well as over 50 First Nations. In Kenora, another group of volunteers do a tremendous job operating ‘It’s a Dog’s Life Fostering Network.’
Volunteering is such a worthwhile endeavour. Beyond providing help and support to those in need, relationships are developed and communities brought together. There are so many wonderful people in our riding who do cherished work out of the generosity of their heart.
Thanks again to all of the volunteers for making our communities a better place to live in. Let’s show our gratitude by nominating the people and organizations who deserve a Canada Volunteer Award. Nominations can be submitted through Canada.ca/volunteer-awards<https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/volunteer-awards/nominate.html?utm_source=news&utm_medium=news_release&utm_campaign=cva16_17> up until June 15.