The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a volunteer as "one who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest" and "a person who does work without getting paid to do it."
There's far more to it than that, though, as can be seen from an exceptional year of volunteerism at the Foundation.
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Hundreds of volunteers enhance, develop and complement every aspect of the Foundation's work. We gratefully lean on them to sustain most of our daily operations. They also support us with research and public engagement, both in-office and in the community. They drive initiatives in their own communities as ambassadors with the Homegrown National Park, Ocean Keepers and Queen of Green coaches program. Like the Suzuki Elders, they also self-organize and enrich our common interests and values.
The past eight months also saw the launch of the nation-wide Blue Dot movement, kick-started by the Blue Dot Tour. More than 400 cross-country volunteers supported the Blue Dot Tour, and the Blue Dot movement has grown to over 15,000 volunteers, some as young as 10. These people are driving a movement that has seen 37 municipalities and counting adopt municipal declarations for the right to a healthy environment.
Beyond the dictionary definition of a volunteer, the Foundation's 15,000-plus volunteers are undertaking much more than a transaction. We all share great concerns and common interests. As for compensation, that comes with achieving the goal of living in a country where every Canadian, no matter who they are or where they live, feels a sense of connection with their community, is connected with nature and ultimately enjoys a constitutional right to clean air, water and soil.
This National Volunteer Week, The David Suzuki Foundation offers a sincere thank you to all our volunteers across the country. Without you, our great work would just be ambitious ideas.