Canadians in midlife (aged 35 to 44-years-old) are often called “the sandwich generation” because they shoulder the simultaneous responsibilities of raising children and taking care of aging parents.
Nonetheless, after adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24-years-old, middle-aged adults, are the most likely to volunteer.
“This age group has a tendency to volunteer with activities related to their children’s activities, such as coaching a team or guiding a group,” says President and CEO, Volunteer Canada, Paula Speevak.
Darren McNeice, 40, is a teacher in Caledonia and falls into that category. He coaches his son’s soccer team the Caledonia Celtics. It’s a brand new team this year, so McNeice had to organize all of the paperwork and finances — he’s essentially the president, coach and secretary. Overall, he puts in a significant amount of volunteer time with the Celtic’s team, approximately 300 hours per year; whereas the national yearly average for volunteer hours is 166 hours.
He acknowledges that life can get busy with volunteering. “But, coaching gives me the opportunity to give back to the community that I live in,” says McNeice. He appreciates the feeling of accomplishment he gets when he sees the team compete and grow. “It also gives me the chance to spend more time with my son,” he adds.
McNeice doesn’t expect anything in return for his services. However, Speevak points out that impact statements are the current trend in the volunteer world when it comes to volunteer recognition. “Many organizations are writing them now because the best recognition is knowing the impact of your time,” she says.
Simply counting hours doesn’t illustrate the effect one volunteer has on a group of people, an entire program and subsequently the community. These statements can highlight the volunteer’s real impact such as raising a child’s self-esteem or helping develop skills. And that’s what matters to most volunteers, including McNeice.
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