Banff, AB – More than 300 volunteers contributed nearly 5,000 hours to the Town of Banff’s social programs last year, indicating that volunteerism is strong and growing in the community.
April 13 to 17 is National Volunteer Week and the Town, along with its partners, are honouring all Banff volunteers with a barbecue at Town Hall (110 Bear Street) on Friday, April 17, from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m.
“Strong volunteerism is a sign of a healthy community,” said Mayor Karen Sorensen. “We are fortunate to have so many dedicated and giving residents in Banff who lend a helping hand.”
“Volunteers are the cornerstone to the success of many of our programs,” said Christine LaRocque who helps coordinate the volunteer program for the Town’s FCSS department in addition to her role as BanffLIFE programmer. “Bow Valley Mentors, BanffLIFE, income tax preparation for seniors, and many events would not be possible without their help.”
Volunteer opportunities abound in Banff, she added, whatever your interest, from animal welfare and wildlife protection to gardening to children to sports to health. Opportunities are posted on the website, banff.ca/volunteer, as well as published in local newspapers through the sponsorship of LaFarge, and on Mountain FM radio. Volunteerism is promoted through the Volunteer While You’re Here initiative, encouraging new, temporary, and permanent residents to get involved.
“Volunteering is a rewarding way to meet new friends, build confidence, advance your career, and improve your physical and mental health,” said LaRocque. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease and combat loneliness and depression.
“If you’re new to the community,” she added, “it’s a great way to learn about all the resources available, and build a new support network. If you’ve been here forever, volunteering is a great way to give back.
“Volunteerism makes Banff the great place it is.”