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Let's applaud hard-working volunteers
05 December 2006
by Christopher Cutler

International Volunteer Day takes place Dec.5 each year and is officially recognized by the United Nations. It is a day on which volunteers in all countries are celebrated for their contributions and dedication.

Volunteering is the lifeblood of our community. It lets us nurture our environment, bring people together in hospitals, in schools, on playing fields and in board rooms for good reasons and common purposes.

It develops an understanding of people who are different -- people with disabilities or in financial distress, children or the elderly. It allows us to give of ourselves, share our wealth, and express our human values of community and caring while finding solutions to shared challenges. It helps us build better, stronger, healthier communities. Our city needs them now more than ever.

Where would we be without volunteers?

Imagine a community where volunteers went on strike. Think what would happen to our schools, hospitals, sports teams, nonprofit services, programs for children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Of course, volunteers are the last people you'll see withholding services.

In Hamilton, we are fortunate to have over 130,000 people volunteering each year.

Volunteers read, cook, mentor, train. They donate, chair, befriend, lend a helping hand. They plant, feed, soothe, visit, sew, plan, co-ordinate, paint, clean, sort, prepare and are essential to the democratic process.

They are young, old and in between. They are everywhere in our city. I encourage everyone to join with us in celebrating and paying tribute to all our volunteers on International Volunteer Day tomorrow.