Building vibrant communities is complicated work. It relies on cooperation, participation, inclusion, and diversity. This means people from all walks of life, in all areas including business, government, community, and nonprofit organizations, must work together.
Volunteerism, in particular, has the power to transform your life, the lives of others, and entire communities. As nonprofit professionals, we know volunteers are the roots of our communities and our work depends on them!
When people, like you, come together, at home, in your job, or as a volunteer, positive impact can be made. Volunteerism creates vibrant communities.
Next week is National Volunteer Week (April 10-16), and, to celebrate, Volunteer Alberta has created a short, informative video. This video not only tells the story of how a single person makes a difference, it also introduces some complex ideas that we are exploring about system change through combined and collective efforts.
Last fall Volunteer Alberta explored these idea when we hosted, interCHANGE, a unique one-day conference (learn more about it here). We brought dynamic players from government, business, and nonprofit sectors together to explore how to tackle complex challenges that affect people’s quality-of-life.
interCHANGE was a step forward in a collective attempt to answer the question: “What relationships need to exist in order to create the conditions to make a positive impact in Alberta’s communities?”.
Together we explored how boundaries between sectors and service delivery are blurring. If we embrace these areas of overlap, we can create opportunities for dynamic collaborations and social innovation.
We learned challenges in today’s society require adaptive responses in order to have positive results – and that adaptive responses have three components:
- Participatory – you have to be involved to make changes
- Systemic – the issues and solutions are interconnected
- Experimental – we need to be willing to try different and new approaches
(Did you know: We regularly post articles on systems change like this one on systems thinking, and this one on systems learning, and we’ll continue to dive deeper into our findings from interCHANGE in the future.)
Let’s consider participatory action and look at it through the lens of volunteerism.
Volunteerism provides an opportunity for us to get involved, experiment in our community, and learn about the experiences of different people who lead different lives, aka. the ‘other’. Volunteering provides the opportunity for everyone involved to develop newfound understanding and empathy for the ‘other’.
The video, Vibrant Communities and You, highlights the role volunteers play in creating vibrant communities and is our gift to you for National Volunteer Week. Please share it on social media, pass it along, or even play it at your National Volunteer Week event.
Volunteer Alberta supports community-service learning, when students gain experience and develop their skills by contributing to nonprofits. We are proud to have worked with the students and faculty at Pixel Blue College to create the animation in this video and grateful for their hard work.