Editorials: Salute to volunteers of South Okanagan

They are out there.

Often you don’t even know it, but they are out there, coaching, dishing out soup, sitting on boards or committees, shoveling snow, driving, or whatever else needs doing.

They are volunteers.

According to Statistics Canada, more than 13 million, or about 47 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and older, donated at least some time in the service of their communities with their only remuneration is the gratification that comes with doing good.

Canadian volunteers donated 2.07 billion hours of their time, equivalent to about 1.1 million full-time jobs.

That’s a lot of helping.

Regardless of the type of work done as a volunteer, it all helps make for a stronger community.

According to a 2011 UN report, volunteerism benefits not only society at large but also the individual volunteer by, “strengthening trust, solidarity and reciprocity among citizens, and by purposefully creating opportunities for participation.”

Many volunteers work in the shadows, not for recognition, but merely because something needs to be done.

Others, are front and centre with a smile, a shoulder, a hand, but they too shy away from recognition.

Today, the Western News begins a series of stories recognizing the efforts of local volunteers who have made a habit of helping in one way or another, and in doing so, have made the South Okanagan a better place to live.


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