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The Information and Volunteer Centre for Strathcona County has officially launched is 150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge, in collaboration with the project sponsor Suncor. Celebrating the energy and contributions of volunteers from across Strathcona County, the project will run for the entire year, and will allow volunteers to register their hours towards the ultimate goal of reaching 150 volunteer hours during Canada’s 150th birthday. Volunteering for this challenge can take many forms, from formal associations with one of the over 100 organizations within the County or more casual moments shoveling snow or picking up garbage in a park or green space. For individuals reaching this milestone, a commemorative 150 Challenge pin will be presented by IVC in collaboration with a local organization, when appropriate.
“The concept is relatively simple,” explains Pam Goliath, one of the coordinators of the program at IVC. “Volunteer from any organization in the County can register for the 150 program, which then allows them to start tracking their volunteer hours for 2017. Once a person hits the 150-hour mark, they will be recognized with the locally designed pin and signed certificates as well as some other items we are currently putting the final touches on.”
IVC’s 150 for 150 initiative also includes a school-focused program (with certificates going to schools that reach the 150-hour milestone) as well as an integrated storytelling platform that allows for successes to be shared as part of the legacy of volunteerism that will come from this special year. Talks are also underway around some exciting additions to this program, all of which will be announced over the coming months, so watch this space for news as it becomes available.
One particularly important aspect of the 150 Challenge that will roll out in the coming weeks, too, is tracking of community-wide totals on the IVC website. A custom set of icons representing various landmarks of a healthy community (playgrounds, hospitals, churches) will be highlighted prominently on IVC’s 150 webpage. As hours accumulate every month, the icons will turn from grey to bright colours, signifying the illuminating power of volunteers within our community. As the year progresses, more and more of the icons will brighten the page. Given that Canadians volunteer an average of 154 hours per year, IVC hopes to use this initiative to celebrate those who already give back and to inspire those who might be considering volunteering for the first time.
A second measure will convert the accumulated volunteer hours from across the community into an ever-growing dollar value so that visitors can also see the economic impact of volunteers across the County. This is an important and often under-represented number in the not-for-profit sector: the economic value of volunteer within a community. By calculating and highlighting this number, IVC hopes to underscore that volunteerism can and should be appreciated as an economic as well as social and cultural driver within a community.
For more information on the 150 Challenge, or to register your hours, click here or contact Pam Goliath at 780-464-4242.
Published originally in the Sherwood Park News on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.