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Where have all the volunteers gone?

Community organizations struggling to keep events and fundraising alive due to lack of volunteers

Last week I talked with local organizers of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Dash, a run to raise funds for cancer research and prevention and support for people living with the disease right now. However, this year, due to lack of volunteers it is going virtual. There will be an online auction to raise money.

Last month, my coworker had a conversation with someone from the Bulkley Valley Smithers Softball association. Their season is in jeopardy due to the lack of people signing up to help out.

I got an email from my daughter’s soccer team, looking for coaches. What will happen if no one volunteers?

These stories are not unique. Organizations and non profit societies all through the Bulkley Valley are struggling to stay alive or perform at their best because of the lack of volunteers.

In high school, students are forced to volunteer to graduate. Being forced to volunteer sort of defeats the purpose of volunteering. It should be done out of passion and from your heart. However, maybe teaching young people the importance of volunteering, whether it is forced upon them or not is a good thing.

Volunteering is when someone spends unpaid time doing something to benefit others. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, or organizations in need. It also allows you to connect with your community.

I attend a lot of events for work and I often see the same people helping out at various places. It is usually the same people agreeing to lend a hand. But where is everyone else? Many hands make light work. People are burning out and non-profit societies, youth sports associations and the most vulnerable people and animals are the ones who are suffering.

Doing something new or putting yourself out there is hard. But getting involved is so rewarding. The community needs more people to say yes, come out and give a little of their time. There are so many roles that need to be filled.

So many people grumble on social media about the rise in crime in town. Smithers council recently created Select Committee on Community Safety and Well Being with the purpose to explore, evaluate, and recommend to Council actionable policies, programs, and initiatives aimed at reducing crime and fostering a sense of safety in the community.

The last I heard, only one person signed up. They need at least four to put their names forward.

There is also the newly reestablished Citizens on Patrol in Smithers. There is a group of people trying to get it back on to the streets, but they need more volunteers to sign up to help.

The community needs more people willing to help if we want to keep our town safe. Simply complaining won’t do the trick. Let’s get out of our comfort zones and say yes.

Find something you are passionate about and get involved. Finding something you love helps to make it feel less tiresome.

Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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