For many organizations, volunteers are a big part of its operations. Since National Volunteer Week is from April 16 to 22, two local organizations remind us there are plenty of choices available should you choose to join the millions nationwide who volunteer.
“It’s not all hard work; we do have fun as well,” says Kate Hamilton, board member with the Edmonton Tool Library. “But the more hands that we have on board, the lighter the load for everybody else.”
Offering a selection of hand and power tools available to members to borrow for up to a week, the Edmonton Tool Library is “entirely volunteer run. [We] have a board of directors that are all volunteers and then we also have volunteer tool librarians and volunteer tool doctors.”
The organization is currently recruiting board members, including a board chair/co-chair and a board secretary. Hamilton says that not all available positions require a considerable time commitment. “It depends on the role they’re taking on. For a volunteer tool librarian, it’s actually a very small amount of commitment…our shifts are either two or four hours [and the] minimum commitment is one shift per month.”
Echoing the need for volunteers, Morgan Wolf, Elmwood Park Community League’s president, notes that any time commitment is welcome.
“I was thinking about it today. I had to run down to the league and put up some letters on our [sign],” says Wolf. She explains that this is a task a volunteer could do. “You can get involved, but if you only want to do a little bit, that would just be so helpful towards the greater picture.”
Current league volunteer projects include the community garden, an Easter egg hunt, block parties, kids’ crafts, Muttstock (a dog-focused festival), paint nights, art classes, and an annual Christmas event.
Wolf notes that another budding project is the possibility of a greenhouse. “If we could get that off the ground, that would be fantastic,” she adds. “[We are] throwing out some things and seeing what sticks.”
Volunteering as a community league board member has added benefits, asserts Wolf, as these members can be a first point of contact with the City of Edmonton.
Wolf says that league board members have contact with the City through its Neighbourhood Resource Coordinator (NRC). The NRC’s communicate with the league and provide league feedback and information requests to the City. “A lot of people don’t think that, they just think a community league is someone who puts on bonfires every now and then and has a skating rink.”
If the act of becoming a volunteer seems daunting, Wolf ends with an encouraging statement that suggests the act may be more innate than we are prone to believe. “It’s the same reason why when you’re out shoveling and you see your neighbours aren’t done, you go and do it,” she says. “It’s being there for your community. What harm does it do, what does it cost you to take that one extra step?”
Edmonton Tool Library
7308 112 Ave
Wednesdays 6 – 8 pm, Saturdays 11 am -1 pm
Elmwood Park Community League
12505 75 St
Alberta Avenue Casino
June 20 & 21
Arts for social transformation
Festivals & coffeehouse