There’s no denying that it feels good to give back. Finding the time to do it, though, is a whole other story.
TELUS wanted to learn more about Canadian’s attitudes towards volunteering and how to encourage more people to give back where they can. In conducting a national survey, TELUS discovered that Albertans cite a lack of time as the biggest barrier to volunteering.
Luckily, there are tons of ways to give back without giving up your evenings and weekends. Here are five ways to volunteer in the city of Edmonton on your lunch break (because let’s be honest, you’re probably spending it at your desk anyway).
Stuff bags for Santa’s Anonymous
It’s hard to think of a better way to get in the holiday spirit than putting gift bags together for less fortunate families.
Santa’s Anonymous makes workday volunteering a breeze. Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday until December 14, the charity hosts drop-in volunteer days where there are no set shifts — just show up when you can, prep some gifts for families and leave when you have to get back on the clock.
Get in the hot seat with U School
The University of Alberta’s U School exposes elementary and junior high students from vulnerable communities to innovative research on campus, and the opportunities that come from getting a degree. Anyone can get involved with U School, as long as you have some connection to the University — for example, if you’re a current student, alumnus or staff member.
Volunteering as an interviewee is the easiest way to get involved with U School, especially if you work on campus or if your office is close to an LRT line. As an interviewee, you’ll sit down with a U School student who will ask about your connection to the university, and where your degree has led you. There’s no minimum commitment; you just volunteer for as much or as little time fits in your schedule.
Be a lunch hour mentor
In Edmonton’s Bigs in Schools program, adult volunteers act as positive role models for a student one hour each week. The hour is spent getting to know each other, working on homework, decompressing and letting you make a real difference in a young person’s life, even if you don’t have a lot of free time.
Hit the pavement for Oliver
Oliver Community League is just one local organization where you can put your professional and creative skills to work without traveling too far. This not-for-profit association makes an important contribution to the vitality of the Oliver community and is entirely managed by volunteers.
If you work in the Oliver area, get some workday steps in by putting up posters at local businesses to promote upcoming events. You can also distribute the community magazine, the Yards, or lend your writing and graphic design skills to contribute to their website.
Clean house at the Pride Centre
From providing sexual health testing to hosting social events, the Pride Centre of Edmonton is a multipurpose space dedicated to enriching the lives of the city’s LGBTQ community. If you have a couple of hours to spare during the week, sign up to be an office volunteer and help out with administrative tasks including preparing for events or light maintenance such as cleaning, organizing or sorting. Volunteer hours are flexible, allowing you to pop in whenever you have the time.
If you’re thinking of volunteering this holiday season, there are plenty of opportunities in Edmonton that won’t require taking time away from your evenings or weekends to give back. In need of a little more inspiration or ideas? Check out telus.com/millionhours to see how Canadians from coast to coast are giving back, and share your own story on social media using #millionhours.
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