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Volunteer Calgary is a volunteer center based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The main role of this volunteer center is to provide service to the non-profit community in Calgary and help to promote and encourage volunteerism in the city.
History of volunteering in Calgary
The city of Calgary has a long history of volunteering, as a prairie settlement, volunteering was literally a matter of survival for the European settlers who came with dreams of settling the west. The spirit of community was evident in the lives of these early homesteaders as they quickly formed tight niches amongst each other. For those early settlers, volunteering was as simple as helping a neighbor build a house to donating food or supplies to those settlers that were struggling and as the community grew so did the spirit of Volunteering (i.e.)traditional barn raising events, church socials, volunteer fire brigades etc.
The first Volunteer Center in Canada was established in 1937 in Montreal to respond to the need for volunteers during the Second World War. The first volunteer center in Calgary was established in 1955 by the Junior League. During the 1960s and 1970s, Volunteer Centers were established across Canada in many urban areas, with intentions to promote and support effective volunteering.
Today there are over 200 Volunteer Centers across Canada these centers have developed significant expertise in the area of volunteerism through the development of programs, research, and training. The centers are committed to resolving issues influencing the way people volunteer in Canada by reducing the barriers and promoting safe and meaningful volunteer opportunities. Volunteer Centers support and promote a variety of new and emerging trends in volunteering. Areas of volunteering include such programs as: youth volunteerism, corporate volunteerism, mandatory volunteerism, community service orders, educational campaigns, and governmental legislation.
Since the early settlers, Calgary has grown to become a vibrant cosmopolitan city of over 1 million and the spirit of volunteering is becoming prominent due to the ongoing work of the local volunteer centers.
Statistics on volunteering in Calgary
- 71% of Calgarians Volunteer on average 15 hours per month. A 20% higher increment than the Provincial average
- Over 5,000 non-profit organizations exist in the Calgary area, most of which use volunteers
- 63% of volunteers in Calgary are female, 37% are over the age of 55, 46% are married, and 62% have a post secondary degree
- 65% of volunteers in Calgary are involved with activities surrounding youth and children, but many are also active with sports and recreation (44%), social services (42%), education/research (41%) and faith/religion (36%)
- 76% of volunteers in Calgary are driven by a desire to give back to their community, by an appreciation of volunteering as something of value for the social good, and the belief that volunteering helps volunteers feel good about themselves.
- 71% of Calgarians aged 12–18 have volunteered in the past year
- 63% of young volunteers are inspired by family members who also volunteer
There are currently over 400 organizations that benefit from the services of Volunteer Calgary. Members are a wide range of registered charities and non-profit organizations in Calgary and area, including The Salvation Army, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, Alberta Theatre Projects, Calgary Stampede, Calgary Public Library, Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta, EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, Girl Guides of Canada - Alberta, UNICEF Alberta, Habitat for Humanity - Calgary.
- 2008 Civic Census Summary
- 2004 Canada Survey of Giving,Volunteering and Participating(Ottawa: Published by authority of the Minister responsible for Statistics Canada-Minister of Industry,2006)
- Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, In Brief Issue #4, January 2008
- 2005, IPSOS Reid Survey, Calgary
- 2006, IPSOS Reid Survey, Calgary
- IPSOS Reid Survey on Youth Volunteering 2006, Calgary