Have you ever wondered how events at the Edmonton Valley Zoo and programs at your favourite attractions facility go off without a hitch? How does litter disappear from neighbourhoods? Or how did your neighbour learn to compost?
Wonder no more because thousands of volunteers with the City of Edmonton make it happen. Volunteers make Edmonton a vibrant and sustainable place to live and grow!
December 5 is International Volunteer Day. Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers for the time and effort you have contributed to the City of Edmonton. Our programs and services would not be the same without your support and dedication. In their honour, the High Level Bridge will be lit tonight to show appreciation.
The City of Edmonton owes the success of many programs and events to over 14,000 registered volunteers, contributing more than 215,000 hours each year. Volunteers can get involved in planting trees, picking up litter, working various jobs at special events, educating citizens on waste reduction, sitting on a board or committee and much more. Volunteers play an important role in the following City programs and services:
- Capital City Clean Up
- Civic Agencies, Boards and Commissions
- Dogs Off Leash Ambassador Program
- Edmonton Police Service
- Edmonton Public Library
- Edmonton Valley Zoo
- Edmonton Youth Council
- Fort Edmonton Park
- Front Yards in Bloom
- John Janzen Nature Centre
- John Walter Museum
- Leaders in Training
- Master Composter Recyclers
- Muttart Conservatory
- Reuse Centre
- Root for Trees
Volunteers come from all walks of life. They were born-and-raised in Edmonton or are new to the city. They are young or old or in between. They are individuals, families or groups. They are diverse in faith, background, education and experience. Cathy Backewich, a long standing Capital City Clean Up volunteer, says, “Volunteering gives me purpose and ownership in my community and city as a whole. Volunteering also provides an opportunity for people to use abilities that they may not know they have and to gain experience in things they have never been involved with before.”
Volunteers of all ages selflessly give their time supporting programs, events and activities that they hold close to their hearts. “Over the years, we have witnessed the magic of volunteerism; the dedication and the pride that each and every volunteer brings,” says Susan Kankkunen, Corporate Volunteer Resource Coordinator.
“Excited volunteers are calling us up before the snow is even melted to get their supplies to head out into their communities and the River Valley to pick up litter! Their dedication truly make me proud of the amazing citizens who volunteer for the City of Edmonton,” says Tamara Brunelle, Capital City Clean Up Volunteer Coordinator.
“Master Composter Recyclers make a big difference for Edmonton’s waste system,” comments Sarah Snider with the Master Composter Recycler Program. “Our volunteers make a real impact on what their friends and neighbours do with their waste. They are champions of waste reduction and local sustainability.”
Vanessa Ostapchuk with the Reuse Centre adds, “The Reuse Centre offers some really wonderful volunteer experiences. Some of our volunteers gain skills with independent living and fundamental work experience. Meanwhile, we engage groups, corporations, and individuals that are incredibly creative.”
Laura Nichol, the Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator at Fort Edmonton Park depends on more than a 1000 volunteers annually to bring this history to life. “With volunteers from a few weeks old to nearly 100 years, from all backgrounds and cultures, we take pride in sharing Edmonton’s diverse stories together.”
Katelynne Webb from the Root for Trees Program says, “Through the hard work of dedicated volunteers in 2016, Edmonton now has over 39,000 new trees and shrubs. They help to make our city a more beautiful and green place to live and play!”
“Volunteering is really at the heart of living in Edmonton. Volunteers are a crucial link between civic governance and community engagement,” says Vickie Gunderson, Manager of Civic Agency Governance. “That’s where ‘citizens-at-large’ can play key roles on the City’s Agencies, Boards, and Committees.”
Lawrence Jansen, Volunteer Coordination with the Edmonton Police Service notes, “The impact of our volunteers is immeasurable when citizens have been affected by crime or other serious incidents. We couldn’t provide the level of service required without our volunteers who are there to assist, whether it’s taking an accident report at a community station or providing support to victims who have been affected by a traumatic event.”
Catherine Falk, Community Greening Coordinator, notes that there are also many opportunities for people to showcase their pride in the Edmonton or gain practical experience in an area they are passionate about. In fact, she says, “Volunteers have an enormous impact on numerous community programs to the point that they are truly the owners and directors of the program growth.”
Get involved today, we’d love to have you! Visit edmonton.ca/volunteers to learn about the exciting opportunities that await you!