Volunteers: Key Players in Community Success

In honour of International Volunteer Week, CEDEC sat down with Board Chair, Leslie Acs, to ask him about the important role of volunteers in communities across the country, the impact of their contributions, and what he’s gained from his own volunteer experiences.  

Q: How does your volunteer role as CEDEC’s Board Chair provide you with a sense of community purpose?

I have always been motivated by roles that involved helping improve people’s lives. Joining CEDEC provided the opportunity to be a part of a remarkable organisation dedicated to helping make life better for entire communities by improving the quality of life and achieving lasting economic success. 

As a member of the board of volunteer directors, I am fortunate to be working closely with an impressive group of professionals equally dedicated to CEDEC’s mission.  It is an extremely rewarding feeling to witness the positive impact of CEDEC’s engagement with our communities.   

As the pandemic plunges us into greater economic uncertainty, CEDEC’s communitycentered strategy to drive innovation, labour force development and investment by harnessing the collaborative potential of the public, private and civil society sectors, has become an even more important component of our communities’ survival and recovery strategies.

Q: This year’s National Volunteer Week theme is The Value of One, The Power of Many. What does this mean to you?

“The Value of One” represents the positive effect that one volunteer can have while “The Power of Many” represents the potential impact of many volunteers working together towards a common goal.  In other words, we can all play a part, no matter how great or small.   

From the individuals contributing to the wellbeing of people in need in our health care institutions, to the volunteers lending their time and expertise to organisations, to the army of volunteers that lend a helping hand during natural disasters, we can all play an important role. 

One cannot underestimate the importance of our volunteers and their contribution to society.  We depend so much on them. Their kindness and generosity is a representation of all that is good in humanity. 

Q: What is an overlooked benefit of volunteering that many people might not realize?

One of the overlooked benefits of volunteering would be the opportunity for personal growth. Though most volunteers are not in it for personal gain, the personal benefits are many and may include: meeting new and interesting people; acquiring a renewed sense of purpose and fulfillment; gaining self confidence; feeling appreciated; and a feeling of being a contributing member of society. 

For those in between jobs or looking to enter or return to the job market, volunteering provides an excellent opportunity for updating or learning new skills, networking, and gaining experience in a new field. Sometimes, volunteering might simply increase your mental wellbeing or sense of happiness.  Either way, by volunteering, you are not only contributing to society’s wellbeing but also to yours.

For over 20 years, CEDEC has worked with communities to help them achieve lasting economic success by leveraging their strongest opportunities for growth. In that time, we have witnessed the immense impact dedicated volunteers have on driving economic growth and development. CEDEC’s success as an expert in collaborative economic development is due in no small part to the role volunteers play within our organization. Volunteers are indispensable, helping us to create jobs, upskill and place workers, increase wages and revenues, build and grow businesses, and increase investments in communities across the country. We recognize and thank volunteers for their contributions not just during this National Volunteer Week, but every week of the year.
John Buck
President and CEO