Each year for its Evening of Recognition, SWR produces a report celebrating the positive environmental achievements of the people and organizations in its broad network. Now, I’ll admit, annual reports do not always make for exhilarating reading, but I love this one. For me, the cumulative effect of all the statistical charts and great original photos is a heart-swelling excitement that great stuff is happening in the Region because good people care. And by far my favourite page of the report – usually it’s two full pages– is where all the volunteers and supporters of SWR are listed.
As someone who has been involved with SWR since it was only a concept shared by a handful of people, I am awestruck by the number and range of people responsible each year for making all the great stuff happen. SWR has a wonderful, talented, dedicated staff. But it is the collective energy and effort of our ever growing, ever evolving volunteer corps that really defines and distinguishes the organization. SWR is its volunteers.
In 2017 alone, 84 individual volunteers devoted their time and energy to the cause and action of SWR, which more than 10 times the number of paid staff. That’s incredible! Every board meeting we have a ‘volunteer spotlight’ on the agenda where we get to chat with and thank some of these great people.
Their reasons vary for engaging with SWR: some are experienced professionals who are looking for more purposeful work than they find in their day jobs, others are current students or new grads who had heard that SWR was a great place to get real experience working on real change. The thing they all have in common is they are all talented people committed to building a better world, and they have chosen SWR as a place to convert their commitment to action. We can all be very grateful for that.
As we kick off National Volunteer Week, on behalf of the SWR Board of Directors, I’d like to thank each of these volunteers for their many contributions to the work that we do and the organization’s impact.
– Barry Colbert, Chairman of the Board