As we approach the winter season, it is always a good time to consider the thoughtful
contributions of community volunteers – those individuals who work hard to give back to the
community around us.

No matter how you volunteer, whether it be on a community association board, for your
children’s school parent council, for a charity like the Mustard Seed, or for a cause that you care
about, your time and energy is very valuable and helps to improve the lives of those around us
all. Statistics Canada surveyed Canadians in 2010 to better understand volunteering and found
that 1 in 2 Canadians aged fifteen or older volunteered at least once that year, and collectively
we volunteered more than 2 billion hours. That is roughly equivalent to 1 million full time
volunteer jobs!

Volunteering doesn’t have to be formal or flashy – it can be as simple as shoveling the driveway
of an elderly neighbour, or picking up your friend’s kids from school. The amount of
unreported acts of volunteerism in our community is enormous. It’s a great way to stay
healthy, make new connections, and have fun!

It’s also never too early to start volunteering, or take your children with you. Helping our young
people understand the idea of giving back to those less fortunate than us, or just to a cause
they care about is a very valuable thing to teach!

There are many volunteer organizations. I encourage you to make your new years resolution to
give back some time where you can!