April 19, 2010
ST. STEPHEN (CNB) - Creative ideas and incentives for volunteers can reap rewards for non-profit groups, Minister of State for Seniors Brian Kenny, who is also minister responsible for Community Non-Profit Organizations, said today
"Sometimes all you need is a fun and interesting idea to bring new volunteers into an organization," Kenny said. "With people as busy as they are in today's society, potential volunteers may need a little encouragement to become involved. Once they do, they quickly see the value of volunteer work and the benefits to the community. It's a good feeling to know you have made a difference."
In St. Stephen, the Volunteer Centre of Charlotte County Inc. recently adopted the Give-A-Day, Get-A-Disney-Day program in partnership with Volunteer Canada and Disney World.
"Our centre had 80 new volunteers register as a result of the Disney program," said Donna Linton, centre co-ordinator. "Some families drove for hours from other places to volunteer through the centre and to donate food and money. The response was quite amazing."
Linton said the new recruits gave a day of their time to help with various undertakings such as community food drives, bottle redemption, or grocery shopping, stocking shelves and packing food hampers for the local food bank.
"The opportunity with Disney helped us reach out and educate more people about the services provided by non-profit organizations and the need for volunteers in the community," Linton said. "Many children took part in the program, so we are hopeful that a new generation of giving citizens has been inspired to be volunteers."
The Give-A-Day, Get-A-Disney-Day program offered one ticket per person for free admission to Disney World in Florida. The tickets were valued at $125 each. Participants were required to complete a day of verified volunteer service with a participating non-profit organization.
The program was open to adults and children. One million free passes were presented by Disney to volunteers across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada in two months in 2010, fulfilling the goal of the program for this year.
"A lot of people who were already planning family vacations saw the chance to realize some savings for their trip," Linton noted. "The one million free passes were scooped up pretty quickly. I hope Disney offers the program again because it worked great for us."
The Volunteer Centre of Charlotte County, established in 1982, encourages volunteerism and the sharing of information about community needs. Much of the centre's work focuses on helping low-income families through services offered by the countywide food bank. About 100 volunteers are registered with the centre.
Volunteer centres also operate on the Acadian Peninsula and in Moncton, Saint John and Miramichi. They offer volunteer opportunities in various community-based services to improve quality of life. The Saint John Volunteer Centre also promoted the Give-A-Day, Get-A-Disney-Day program.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer may contact a centre in his or her area by calling 506-727-1860 in Caraquet; 506-869-6977 in Moncton; 506-658-1555 in Saint John; 506-622-6565 in Miramichi; or 506-466-4995 in St. Stephen.
The Community Non-Profit Organizations Secretariat regularly brings volunteer groups together to collaborate.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Judy Cole, communications, Community Non-Profit Organizations Secretariat, 506-444-3522; Donna Linton, co-ordinator, Volunteer Centre of Charlotte County Inc., 506-466-4995.