Canada celebrates National Volunteer Week



    OTTAWA, April 16 /CNW Telbec/ - This week, April 15 to April 21, is
National Volunteer Week (NVW), a time set aside each year to pay tribute to
Canadian volunteers who give of themselves to better their communities and the
lives of others.
    "National Volunteer Week is the biggest celebration of volunteers and
volunteerism in the country," says Marlene Deboisbriand, President of
Volunteer Canada. "There are literally millions of volunteers in Canada who
contribute enormously to our quality of life. Canadian volunteers are on the
front lines of all our community services-they're on our playing fields and in
our hospital corridors, in our board rooms, our places of worship and our
schools. Volunteers are the everyday people who care about extending a helping
hand-ordinary people who dedicate their time and skills to make our
communities stronger and healthier places to live."
    Today, Canada boasts over 161,000 registered charitable organizations
within which volunteers play a key role. The 2004 Canada Survey of Giving,
Volunteering and Participating, the largest survey ever completed that
examines how Canadians support each other and their communities, shows that
over 12 million Canadians volunteer in some form every year. They contribute a
staggering two billion hours, the equivalent of one million full-time jobs.
Individually, Canadian volunteers contribute an average of 168 hours annually
to their communities, with most volunteer activity occurring in sports and
recreation, social services, education and research, and religious
organizations. While at first glance these numbers may seem impressive, they
are deceiving: only 11 percent of Canadians actively involved in volunteering
accomplish 77 per cent of the work that is done.
    "Unfortunately, volunteers are a precious resource under enormous strain
in Canada," says Deboisbriand. "Federal government cutbacks announced last
September have resulted in the loss of an estimated $200 million to the
sector. The implications of these cuts are enormous and include the loss of
funding for research on volunteering and volunteerism, testing of new and
innovative volunteer management practices, and the transfer and dissemination
of knowledge and support resources. Canada needs the investment of government
and interested groups and partners to move forward and help volunteerism
flourish in this country."

    Volunteer Canada promotes National Volunteer Week with the generous
support of Investors Group. An informational web site (volunteer.ca/nvw), as
well as free promotional materials are provided to support organizations as
they pay tribute to volunteers and celebrate their contributions.
    Volunteer Canada is a registered charitable organization and a national
leader with a mission to promote volunteerism in Canada. Working with
community organizations, Volunteer Centres, businesses, charities, governments
and municipalities across the country, Volunteer Canada recognizes and
promotes the role of volunteers, provides leadership to the Volunteer Centre
movement, enhances the capacity of organizations to involve volunteers, and
furthers the national dialogue on citizen engagement and civil society.
    For more information on Volunteer Canada and National Volunteer Week,
please visit www.volunteer.ca




For further information:

For further information: Karen Lambert, Communications Specialist,
Volunteer Canada, klambert@volunteer.ca


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