Our experiences with nonprofits are varied: we may work or volunteer in the sector, or donate to our favourite organizations. Some of us find a sense of community through cultural and religious expression, or enjoy sports, arts, and entertainment through the sector. Our education is often provided by the sector. Perhaps most importantly, the sector offers support, health, wellness, and relief for those of us struggling or in need of care. Regardless, the nonprofit sector is central to many of our lives.
With so many means of interacting with the sector, it is hard to capture all of the ways nonprofit organizations impact and shape each of us on a personal level. For this reason, I wanted to share five nonprofit organizations that are important in my life:
- The Edmonton Humane Society is where my partner and I found our good friend (and housecat), Gulliver. I am so grateful for the work the volunteers and staff do to provide shelter, care, and love to animals in need. EHS also provided us with information, vet connections, and appropriate screening before we took our kitten home. My pet is my family and we wouldn’t have found him without this amazing organization!
- Volunteering is where I find community and purpose, and my favourite volunteer experience so far has been at CJSR, Edmonton’s campus and community radio station. Like other community radio stations across the country, CJSR is volunteer-made radio. For me, it is where I discovered a deep love for working on radio, developed a whole new skillset, and met many like-minded friends.
- As an avid crafter, the Reuse Centre has been an affordable and environmentally-friendly way for me to stockpile everything from fabric to old magazines. The Centre collects unused home, office, and craft materials, and for only five dollars, people are welcome to take as much as they want. The Centre offers me a great way to support my hobby, while keeping unused supplies out of the landfill and my money in my community.
- Following the death of a friend, The Support Network provided free Suicide Bereavement Support Services to those of us who knew her. The Support Network staff offered compassion, care, and information, as well as an opportunity to build community around tragedy. The Support Network services were a crucial part of a healthy healing process for me, as well as a starting point for new friendships.
- Santas Anonymous is my absolute favourite organization to donate to, because I have so much fun doing it. Usually I donate because I think it is important to put my money to good use; however, buying toys every Christmas for Santas Anonymous goes far beyond good intentions. The little kid inside me thinks picking out whatever I want at a toy store is pretty much the best thing ever!
These five organizations are only a few of the many nonprofits that are important in my life – after all, the nonprofit sector also includes my workplace (Volunteer Alberta!), my university, and the hospital where I was born. What organizations mean a lot to you? Please share in the comments!
Sam Kriviak, Program Coordinator