The Lowdown – Volunteer
The definition of a volunteer: “A person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task”.
Or in Airdrie, if we had our own dictionary you might find David Maffitt’s name as the first example.
Now truth be told, I can assure you Mr. Maffitt isn’t entirely comfortable with the above statement as I’ve come to know this incredibly kind and giving soul as a man of appreciation. Whenever I’ve spoken with Dave, his number one objective with regards to the topic of volunteers in Airdrie is an abundance of appreciation for the army of volunteers our city harbours. So, without a doubt I was thrilled at the opportunity to once again utilize the words of The Lowdown to share with all of you the incredible non profit organization right here in our home, Volunteer Airdrie.
It all came to be from the initiative of Volunteer Airdrie’s Youth Programming Coordinator Tiernan Neufeld who contacted me directly. She brought exactly what you’d expect from someone in a leadership role in our community doing what she can to bring our young people to the forefront of our admiration. Tiernan shared with me that Volunteer Airdrie will be celebrating National Volunteer Week which is basically a week to celebrate all that is remarkable where our volunteer community is concerned. Events will run through the week of April 7 through 13. Starting on Sunday with movies at the Roxy including Dumbo and Shazam, there will also be added fun including face painting! Then on April 10 it’s a moment for the adults when they run Wine Survivor! This too will happen at the Roxy Theatre and it’s open to all adults! To enter you must pay a $25 buy in accompanied by a bottle of wine. There is details to how it all unfolds which you can ask about when you enter however basically, everyone who enters will have a chance to be drawn and as I understand it, there is actually four winners! The fourth place gets ten percent of the prize, the third place gets fifteen, second gets twenty-five and the big prize is fifty percent of the wine! The same night they will be playing a film to be determined however I can tell you it will be either an Oscar winner or nominated film which should surely speak to a varied taste in movies. This exciting week of appreciation will also include on April 13 their Volunteer Fair and Appreciation Tea at the Town and Country. Check out more details at Eventbrite.ca.
What’s most incredible about Airdrie’s volunteer force is the enormity of the numbers. Over 400 are signed up in their database and they have another 130 plus openings available. Even more curious is a social assessment was compiled in Airdrie in 2014 where 32% of respondents claimed to have volunteered in their past. That’s a pretty intense number of willing and able souls committed to helping their neighbours when you consider the number of adults who call Airdrie home. Volunteering is a mainstay in our culture and is a very human thing. I’ve seen it nearly everywhere I’ve lived. Those who step up with the time comes. I recall during the Flood of the Century in 1997 when Winnipeg’s flood defenses that were designed to handle 60,000 cu f/s were actually pushed it to 63,000! (source Wikipedia) During that spring the people of Winnipeg became an army of volunteers. Everyone had a hand in it. I remember a lot about that time and the story is better for another day however people came from all directions with all skill sets; from the tradespeople who brought and maintained the Earth moving equipment to the colonies who arrived with hands to help and food for all. I get emotional sometimes when I recall this. It was powerful and we, the people of Manitoba were in serious trouble. And because of everyone’s effort, we stood a chance against an ocean of water.
The sacrifice of our volunteers is awe-inspiring when you consider what it means to be one, especially those who are a part of the database that with a moments notice could have their phone ringing asking them for their hand. I find it especially impressive when you have youth in our city, like Tiernan, who apply themselves to this piece of our culture. Giving time to others when we’re young is something all our youth volunteers should be especially proud of when you consider what life encompasses at that age. These young people are not afraid to put our city first and I for one think this is pretty commendable. Interestingly the more I sat and spoke with Tiernan the more I learned of her commitment. From Girl Guides of Canada, The Airdrie Food Bank and even Soap 4 Hope she has a history of volunteering which speaks to her value to Volunteer Airdrie today. It’s really no wonder she’s on the board and holds the position as Youth Coordinator.
If you are interested in being a part of Volunteer Airdrie reach out directly at volunteerairdrie.ca for more information. Also, be sure to visit volunteeralberta.ab.ca and join me in a bow of respect to all of those who drive the spirit of our Airdrie with their willingness to step up for our home.
Thanks again for reading The Lowdown! See you next week. T