May 25th, 2019

Special day honours local volunteers

By Bobinec, Greg on December 6, 2018.

Diana Sim, executive director of Volunteer Lethbridge, celebrates International Volunteer Day by acknowledging the thousands of people in the community who volunteer regularly. Herald photo by Greg Bobinec @GBobinecHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

Volunteer Lethbridge gathered with community members to celebrate all of the work that has been done through volunteerism, for International Volunteer Day.

Originally designated by the United Nations in 1985, International Volunteer Day, Dec. 5, was an international observance day to celebrate the power and potential of volunteerism within communities. This year’s theme was Volunteers Build Resilient Communities which helped acknowledge the thousands of volunteers who add to the health and vibrance of the city.

“Volunteerism is vital to our community. Last year we had an economic value of over $15 million worth of volunteer activity, so it really impacts the change that the opportunities that we can provide to our community,” says Diana Sim, executive director at Volunteer Lethbridge. “The work that we do, the support that we give people, and really that reaching out and helping people for what they do and what they contribute. We couldn’t be the community we are without our volunteers.”

Sisters of St. Martha were honoured for their work and dedication in assisting and aiding the community since 1929. The Sisters live a life dedicated to volunteerism and serving those in need in the St. Michael’s Hospital and the Martha Retreat Centre, for the last 50 years.

“Today we wanted to take the time to honour the Sisters that are here in Lethbridge and as a symbol of recognizing the Sisters past and present,” says Sim. “We felt that it was a good time to recognize their life with volunteerism and helping others. Today is recognizing the special gift that they have given to our community and ultimately to the world.”

The Sisters were recognized for the thousands of people they have helped in Lethbridge and surrounding areas through teaching, nursing, pastoral care, visiting poor families, delivering food and clothing to those in need, and accompanying those in need of someone.

“It feels a little bit much, it is overwhelming because we go about doing our service and we don’t expect people to notice it that much,” says Sister Theresa Parker. “It is hard to have a society without volunteerism. The other side is it is just so much a part of one’s life for wanting to experience how wonderful it is to volunteer and help someone else.”

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