“Volunteers are the heartbeat of the charitable and nonprofit sector.”

Depending on who you speak to, the evolution of volunteering as a vital form of support for those in need (and marginalized communities) can be viewed as either a good or a bad thing. Or, if you’re more politically inclined, it can be viewed as a bit of both. Irrespective of how you view the former, there is no denying that “volunteers are the heartbeat of the charitable and non-profit sector. And, volunteers often play an important role in helping to enrich the well-bring of their local (and global) communities.

According to Imagine Canada, the “charitable and nonprofit sector contributes an average of 8.1% of total Canadian GDP, more than the retail trade industry and close to the value of the mining, oil and gas extraction industry”. This can be attributed – in no small part – to the contributions of the over 13 million charitable and non-profit sector volunteers. Further, according to Volunteer Toronto (one of Canada’s largest volunteer centres), “across Toronto, individuals of different ages, races and incomes are giving back to their communities in meaningful ways”. Each month the Volunteer Toronto website “receives over 30,000 visits from people looking for volunteer opportunities in the Toronto area”.

This National Volunteer Week, I would like to pause to thank the individuals making a positive difference in their communities, through volunteering. And, I would like to encourage those who do not currently volunteer, to consider it. Research shows that volunteering could be great for your health!

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