Volunteerism is not just an act of kindness; it can also be a catalyst for positive change.
Volunteer Manitoba is the leader and motivator for engaging people in volunteerism in our province.
"We help to connect folks who are looking to volunteer with opportunities that are available to them," said Ashley Seymour, executive director for Volunteer Manitoba. "We also provide a lot of support to the nonprofit sector, not only in helping with their volunteer recruitment efforts, but we do a lot of capacity building support with them as well by offering like professional development opportunities, resources and just general supports to help them do the work that they need to do in the community."
Seymour says volunteerism is very important in the community for so many reasons.
"I live in a small rural community outside of Winnipeg and can see first-hand the benefits that volunteers have on communities. They help to support programs and initiatives that are taking place."
She says there are also personal benefits when it comes to volunteering.
"Depending on who you are and where you're at in your life, we work with youth and schools a lot to advocate for youth to get involved in their community, to develop skills, you know, maybe explore possible career opportunities," said Seymour. "We work a lot with newcomers to Manitoba, raising awareness of how you can get to know your community."
Volunteer Manitoba also connects with older adults and seniors across Manitoba, who have historically been one of the populations that volunteer most.
"There's a lot of benefits there for them, to reduce isolation, remain physically active, and just that sense of pride, of being involved and giving back to the community is just so very important."
Getting started can be challenging for many, but Ashley says they have numerous resources on their website to help get the process going.
"We have a whole page dedicated to posting volunteer opportunities that are available all across the province," said Ashley. "There are hundreds of posts on there right now, which is probably the highest we've ever seen."
She says whether you're looking to give one hour a week or two, three or four times a month with a group, you're able to filter through and find something that works for you.
"We certainly encourage people as a starting point to go there and check it out, see if you find something that interests you."
For those looking for something more in-person, Volunteer Manitoba is hosting a recruitment fair on April 4 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Viscount Gort Hotel.
Listen to the full interview below.