EDITORIAL: Volunteerism a backbone to healthy communities

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I’ve blown this trumpet more than once in this space during the past few years, but it’s a note that has to be kept playing in our region.

Each and every one of our seven communities relies on the good hearts of people to volunteer every once and awhile so various youth and elder programs, sports programs and competitions and events such as hamlet days and the Christmas games can keep on being delivered.

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Other great ventures that help their community also depend on volunteers to keep in operation, such as the Abluqta Society and the wonderful work it’s been doing in Baker Lake.

I’ve become quite a fan of the Abluqta Society and what it has managed to accomplish in a relatively short period of time in Baker with its thrift store, and helping to distribute food to those in the community who can use a helping hand from time to time.

And, the long and the short of the matter is, the society could not exist if it weren’t for the volunteers making the enterprise thrive and grow.

I’m sure every hamlet office in the region and every non-profit and/or charitable organization from Naujaat to Arviat would like to be able to pay a stipend to everyone who helps out with one of their programs.

Unfortunately, that’s just not reality these days when every budget is maxed out, every position filled. and just not enough manpower to go around to keep every program running efficiently.

Although there’s no paycheque involved, volunteerism has many, many rewards that are just as enriching to the soul as money is to the pocketbook.

Let’s be honest. What price do you put on the sound of kids laughter while taking part in extracurricular activities, or the sense of accomplishment on the faces of youth who have just learned a traditional skill and are better prepared to provide for their own families in the years to come?

What would be the hourly wage to see kids having a full, nutritious meal at home that, if it weren’t for the caring and generosity of others, they would be doing without?

Volunteerism helps to create stronger and healthier communities and directly contributes to the development of youth in the community by giving them evenings and weekends of positive activities to participate in and learn from.

As adults, we all know the alternative scenario when the youth of a community have nothing constructive to fill their evenings with.

Idle hands are, indeed, the devil’s workshop.

And, when an entire community chips-in and shares the volunteering load, you don’t see productive and successful programs come to a crashing end when the person or persons running it leave the community or simply burnout from carrying the load themselves.

Anyway you slice the tuktu, every community benefits from a strong volunteer base and every community is weakened that does not have such a base.

And, yes, it is true that more should be done to acknowledge the efforts of our region’s volunteers and what they mean to programming, especially youth programming.

But until that day arrives, take heart in knowing volunteerism really does come with its own rewards.

Not convinced? Give it a shot. You just might just be surprised.

Food for thought.

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