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“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it, there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all the lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”

  • J.R.R.Tolkein, The Fellowship of the Ring

With February 2021 upon the horizon, we are all taking a moment to breathe, to re-affirm that 2020 is very much behind us, that as best as possible, we have pulled through. Although the world is still in turmoil, between the global pandemic, political tensions, and environmental crisis, there is still much to be thankful for.

The impacts of Covid-19 cannot be overstated, it’s rippling consequences will be felt for quite some time. It has thrown our lives upside down, changing everything we have known and how we go about our daily lives. However, through the fear, the chaos, and maelstrom of anxiety, the most amazing blooms of hope have been seeded.

Like many, I watched the world and its people from a place of anxiousness and swirling thoughts, a place where questions of the future and a desire for ‘normalcy’ stood in constant conflict with each other. As time carried on, I was able to observe how people began to change. They became a little more aware of themselves, their families, their priorities, and their community. This heralded a shift, not only in how they socialized, but how they decided to live their lives.

I found strength in how people came together as a community, checking in on one another taking extra care of those that needed a little extra support, and going out of their way to perform little acts of kindness in the hopes of bringing a touch of joy to someone’s day. This collective movement, this rising passion to help others through these challenging times, needed to be done in a way that it had never been delivered before. New ways to connect and reach out needed to be developed, unique ways in not only people but also how organizations operate needed to happen.

This desire to help, to be a part of something greater in the midst of adversity, this very human element is what makes up the core, the essence, of the word ‘volunteer’. Most have a general sense of what a volunteer is, but did you know that the word comes from Latin ‘voluntaris’, which means ‘willing, or of one’s own choice’. Even further this Latin verb originated from the Latin noun, ‘voluntas’ which represents ‘will or desire’.
With that in mind, the very word volunteer connects to how we are all working together with a united desire, we are all champions of the people and our community, either through formal or an informal sense. While the global pandemic has added numerous strains to families and communities, it has also impacted one’s capacity to volunteer in the traditional sense. Even still, people who are facing their struggles, still have the strength to lend to others and that should not go unnoticed.

In the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day lives it is sometimes the little things, those small acts of kindness and love that help others find the strength within themselves. The visible squint of someone’s eyes as a mask hides a genuine smile, a muffled ‘good morning’ from a stranger at the grocery store, or the glee from a young child that is out on a walk with their family. It is these little moments that give me hope, kindling the fire within me to step out and support another. It is a kind of inspiration that is communicable. We are all united in our desire, a joined passion to support our communities and no matter which way you decided to give you are an essential element to creating a better tomorrow.

Kasheen Helstrom
Communication Services Coordinator

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