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Author: Liz January 24, 2017 Appears in: Impact, Stories, Volunteering, Volunteering Opportunities

Celebrating Canada’s 150th: It’s Your Time to Shine

Canada150for150 is a volunteer challenge that asks Canadians to volunteer 150 hours this year in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

You may ask, “What kind of volunteering would I need to do for this challenge?” Their website volunteer150for150.ca makes it clear that any formal or informal volunteering counts – anything that’s done for your community without personal financial gain. We hope you will take the next step and search SPARK for one or many opportunities that fit your time, talent and interests AND enable you to join the challenge. The most important thing, however, is to find something that inspires you!

Help a Nonprofit Deliver On Their Mission

The phrase “formal volunteering” means you're connected with a nonprofit organization in a defined role. Helping the elderly feel cared for as a friendly visitor at a nursing home, furthering a cause you're passionate about by serving on their board of directors or taking a Saturday to help your local community centre at their annual clean-up are all examples of formal volunteering. These are the kinds of positions you can find on SPARK.

Many nonprofit organizations rely heavily on volunteers to deliver their programs and services so formal volunteering is essential to them. School breakfast programs, for instance, need people who will agree to help out on a set schedule so they can be sure the children who rely on their program receive a nutritious meal every day. Most public events including arts festivals, sporting events and fundraisers, offer formal volunteering opportunities because many people are needed to help organize, promote and deliver an event that is successful and well-attended.

Create Your Own Volunteering Adventure

So, how does ‘informal volunteering’ work? Informal volunteering is a way to help through activities you take on yourself. Shoveling your neighbour’s driveway, organizing your own spring clean-up in a local park or offering to help a newcomer practice their English are all kinds of volunteering activities that fall into the ‘informal’ category.

This is a great option if your life doesn’t allow you to make a steady time commitment or if you’re the creative type who would prefer to design your own way of making a difference. Since this way of giving is more flexible, you can customize your experience by choosing a time and place that works for you. You can also decide to volunteer alone or make your giving time a social experience, bringing friends and family along for the ride!

Be Part of Something Big

So, if you’ve never volunteered before or if you haven’t volunteered in a while, now’s the time to explore the many ways to volunteer and find one that you enjoy. If you're already volunteering, the Canada 150 challenge is a great way to track your hours and realize the impact you’re making with your time. Either way you'll get to be part of creating healthier and happpier communities all across Canada. 

Getting to 150 hours may seem daunting but once you start tracking them, they can really add up! Helping out just three hours per week for the year will get you to your 150 hour goal. Joining a committee to organize and deliver a community event will likely get you there too! No matter how you choose to participate, once you decide to go for it, you’ll be surprised how easily volunteering can fit into your life.

Share Your Story

Once you’ve tried on volunteering this year, we’d love for you to come back and share your story with us on SPARK. When you do something that lights you up, you’ll have lots to share about your experience that can inspire others. Taylor gained new skills and self-confidence while helping with wellness programs for women. Mandy’s volunteering experience led her to discover a career she was passionate about. Catherine regained her health by sharing her love of reading. For Sharon, it brought a new life purpose, for Harnoor he was able to meet his goal of improving the volunteering experience for immigrant youth. After being ‘voluntold’ to help out at his grandchildren’s school, Bob was surprised to discover how much he liked supporting kids’ learning and went on to do it for 12 more years and counting!

What will you discover on your volunteering journey? Find out by taking the Canada's 150 hour volunteer challenge. Celebrate Canada while making a difference in your community today! 

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