The Vault Cultural Collective is hosting an expo to both celebrate and recruit volunteers within the local community during National Volunteer Week.

Every April, National Volunteer Week is recognized nationwide, and is an occasion lead by Volunteer Canada. This year, it will take place from April 14 to 20. 

“That is a focus week of celebrating volunteers, and so we are going to host a volunteer expo at the Travelodge (on Wednesday, April 19) from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.” said Donalda Ledene, vice chair of the Vault Cultural Collective. “(We want) to give the community at large an opportunity to see where we need and can use volunteers, and what organizations in the community are already volunteer led, where volunteers are putting a lot of time in, and to let the community see what would be missing from our community if we didn’t have volunteers doing these jobs.”

Ledene added the Vault was able to secure a grant in order to aid in facilitating the event, which was created with the idea in mind to help reinforce existing volunteer numbers, as well as to replace those who are no longer interested, or no longer able to be of service. 

Overall, she estimated a total of between 15 and 20 volunteer and nonprofit organizations will be present for the expo. 

“We are aware of many organizations whose volunteers are getting older and their membership is declining, and there are not younger people picking up the opportunities to be involved in the clubs,” she said. “If volunteers are not there, these things are not going to get done … we have reached out to all the nonprofit organizations and clubs in the community – people who operate fairly significant programs and services within the community.”

A separate entity, though also in the realm of supporting volunteers, is the virtual volunteer hub, launched in October 2022 as a partnership between the Town of Strathmore and VolunteerConnector.

The partnership offers access to a platform which is designed to actively engage and recruit local volunteers and connect them with opportunities to get involved. 

Additionally, the Strathmore Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) office is able to offer in-person support for both community members, as well as organizations.

“We would hope that any of the organizations that are a part of this (expo) will be able to attract interest in the community,” said Ledene. “We are very varied. We have everything from the hospital auxiliary, to the Lions Club, to the Vault itself, which has 10 different organizations that are a part of it. I think the measure of success will be how many people are actually willing to step up and volunteer at any one of these organizations.”

The expo will be free to attend for any who are curious and who are looking to gather information about local volunteer opportunities.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 04, 2024 at 11:20

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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