Volunteers are essential to charitable organizations and thanks to Volunteer Airdrie, the community is not short of them.
The agency was established in 2010 to support the City of Airdrie and charitable groups and organizations in the community. It’s the go-to hub when looking for volunteers to help with events.
“Volunteer Airdrie exists to encourage people in the community to gather together and serve various events and functions that happen within our town,” says Jason Heer, director of community engagement and fund development for Volunteer Airdrie.
“People were looking for volunteer opportunities and they didn’t know how to go about that and so a group of people came together and wanted to form this agency to provide people with kind of like a hub to connect for those opportunities.”
Volunteer Airdrie services a variety of organizations, including Community Links, the Airdrie Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie and Stephen’s Backpacks. The agency also provides volunteers for events like the Santa Claus Parade and Airdrie Festival of Lights.
Volunteers take on all sorts of jobs, whether it’s collecting tickets at the Airdrie Pro Rodeo or making sure the grounds stay clean, navigating people and blocking off traffic at the Santa Claus Parade or collecting food bank donations at the Airdrie Festival of Lights and setting up or taking down the lights.
Approximately 1,000 volunteers make up Volunteer Airdrie. Opportunities are distributed through email or posted on the agency’s website. Heer says most volunteers are between the ages of 45 and 65. However, Volunteer Airdrie is also an affiliate of YVC Kansas City, being one of approximately 40 in North America and one of three in Canada.
The youth program started in Airdrie three years ago and there are now 165 youth aged 11 to 18 registered. Heer says they serve in various capacities three times a week.
Two youth volunteers were recently recognized at the YVC (Youth Volunteer Corps) annual event in Kansas City for having served more than 100 hours.
“Being able to connect and see young people actually get excited about serving the community and taking ownership within their community – and then seeing them want to continue to find new opportunities to serve – I think that’s the most rewarding part about the job,” says Heer. “We’re one of the fastest growing youth affiliates in North America and we were actually recognized in 2020 for being the new affiliate of the year because of our hard work.”
For more information or to get involved, visit volunteerairdrie.ca.