Volunteers are an integral part of building vibrant communities. Without the dedication and the self-sacrifice of these individuals, our city would be a much different, and less welcoming place to live.
Crescentwood resident Keith Macpherson, half of the Winnipeg country-pop Keith and Renee, has understood the power of volunteering for many years.
"I spent two summers volunteering in Kenya, Africa with Free the Children/Me to We and I came home with a with a new perspective on life," MacPherson says.
"Seeing the simplicity of life in Kenya helped me redefine what is truly important in my own life. Volunteering in the community has become a very important aspect of my work ."
People volunteer for any number of reasons— they believe in a cause, they want to make a difference, or they want to improve skills.
"One of major reasons I volunteer is to bring people together and share love with those around me. To invest love, passion and time into volunteering is one of the most fulfilling ways to stay in alignment and connected to what is important."
This year Keith and Renee are Volunteer Manitoba ambassadors.
"This is a real honour, to be partnered up with Volunteer Manitoba," he says.
Although most volunteers prefer to operate behind the scenes, their efforts deserve recognition.
Volunteer Manitoba, an organization whose goal is connect volunteers with opportunities, is now accepting nominations for the 2013 Volunteer Awards.
"The annual Volunteer Awards are one small way to express our appreciation for the wonderful work that is done tirelessly and compassionately every day by our volunteers," says Dennis Dyck, executive director of Volunteer Manitoba.
Nominations are being accepted in several categories including: the Investors Group Arts & Culture Award for Volunteer Excellence, the Manitoba Real Estate Associations Quality of Life Award, and the Lieutenant Governor’s Make a Difference Community Award.
Volunteer Manitoba has changed the name of its top honour. The award formerly known as the Volunteer Manitoba Award for Outstanding Community Leadership will now be called the William Norrie Award for Outstanding Community Leadership, in honour of the late Bill Norrie — longtime former mayor of Winnipeg and founder and former honorary chair of the Volunteer Awards.
"Bill Norrie was a true champion of volunteerism and the Volunteer Awards would not be possible without his dedication, leadership and passion. We are thrilled that his family has agreed to allow us to honour him in this way," Dyck says.
If you know someone making a difference in your community, city or province, nominate them so they can be recognized for their incredible efforts at this truly spectacular event.
Nominations are being accepted until Feb. 22, 2013. Full criteria and nominations forms can be found at www.volunteermanitoba.ca.
Carolyne Braid is a community correspondent for Crescentwood. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.