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Volunteering Has Such High Value

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Hundreds of CIA members regularly volunteer for the Institute's committees and task forces. Setting aside some of your time can have enormous benefits, both for you and the actuarial profession in general.

But there are many other groups that can benefit from the volunteering spirit of those willing to give up their spare time to help others. Among them are those organizations working to help the environment in Canada and around the world.
According to Environment Canada, volunteers can do a great deal:
  • Rehabilitate and protect habitats;
  • Engage in clean-up activities;
  • Spread the word about the state of the environment to others;
  • Educate others about various aspects of the environment; and
  • Raise and donate money for environmental projects.
One survey found that 46 percent of the Canadian population aged 15 or over volunteered during one 12-month period, equivalent to close to 1.1 million full-time jobs. Many of those who took part in voluntary activities said they wanted to make a contribution to the community, use skills and experiences, explore strengths, or network with or meet people. The most common benefits were said to be the development of interpersonal skills, communications skills and organizational or managerial skills.
If you do want to join the ranks of environmental volunteers, where can you go? There are many online resources to point the way to green groups seeking support:
  • Volunteer/Bénévoles Canada features a network of volunteer centres across the country which is searchable by province or territory. Such centres encourage volunteerism across the board, and they can also connect would-be volunteers with community agencies.
  • The Canadian Environmental Network hosts hundreds of volunteer opportunities, such as the Kids' World of Energy Festival in Toronto and helping at an eco resort in the Bahamas.
  • The Nature Conservancy Canada's Conservation Volunteers urge people to sign up for a list of frequent green events.
  • PlanetVolunteer.net is packed with opportunities in Canada and elsewhere.
  • Ontario Nature's Volunteer for Nature program allows people to play a part in protecting the province's wild spaces and wild species. Although it has no events scheduled yet for 2011, volunteers can stay up to date via an e-newsletter.
  • Those keen to get their hands dirty are invited to become WWOOFers: volunteers with Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. The organization arranges for volunteers to stay with families while working on their hosts' organic farms. Participants need a genuine interest in learning about organic growing, country living or ecologically sound lifestyles, and must be willing to help their hosts with daily tasks for an agreed number of hours.

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