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National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate volunteers. Join Volunteer Canada and Investors Group from April 15 to 21 to recognize the efforts of Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers in building confidence, competence, connections and community. This year’s theme focuses on the value of volunteering.

The magic of volunteering is that it creates value for all, from individuals and families to organizations and communities.

Volunteers themselves benefit from giving their time, by developing new skills, building connections, advocating for causes they care about and learning from others. Many volunteers will tell you that they get more than they give – and they give a lot.

In 2013, Canadian volunteers gave nearly two billion hours to their communities, fundraising, organizing events, sitting on committees and boards, teaching, coaching, counselling and more. Their efforts are the equivalent of nearly 1 million full-time jobs.

Volunteer involvement is vital for strong and connected communities. The effects of volunteering are diverse, reaching both near and far.

This year, we’re asking Canadians to reflect on the impact volunteers have on their quality of life. Celebrate National Volunteer Week by thanking a volunteer who has made a difference to you and your community.

Volunteer Canada has released an online campaign kit to help you start planning your volunteer appreciation events.  The kit includes templates and tips for social media, government and media relations, event planning and various graphics, including a poster, thank you card and recognition certificate. You can also visit the National Volunteer Week online gift store to purchase posters, thank you cards and other recognition items.