Vancouver Volunteers: Lending a Hand at the Walk for Reconciliation

By: Reconciliation Canada

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As summer ends and fall begins, there are many incredible opportunities to stay connected to the community, meet new people and have a great time, all while supporting an amazing cause. This month, Reconciliation Canada and the City of Vancouver are hosting the Walk for Reconciliation and Reconciliation Expo on September 24th.

Similar to the Walk for Reconciliation held in 2013, this year’s event is expected to draw tens of thousands of people from the Vancouver area and beyond, all in support of revitalizing relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. What better way to be a part of a monumental event and to support a good cause than by participating as a volunteer?

Given the scale of the Walk for Reconciliation and the Reconciliation Expo that will take place in Strathcona Park following the Walk, volunteers are crucial to making these inspiring events a reality. “Like so many events, volunteers are essential to the running of the Walk for Reconciliation,” said Brad Beattie, CEO of POP. The People Agency, which specializes in volunteer engagement and has been working with Reconciliation Canada for the Walk for Reconciliation. “The event would not and cannot go ahead without the support of our champions.”

According to Beattie, volunteering for events like the upcoming Walk for Reconciliation is not only an enjoyable experience but also a deeply meaningful one: “The difference you are making will be reflected in the eyes of those participating: the elders who experienced residential school, their families and children who continue to be impacted, and the many others who come together from various other communities in our city to show their support and commitment [to reconciliation].”

Volunteers for the Walk and the Expo can expect a fun, rewarding and meaningful team experience alongside the Reconciliation Canada team and other volunteers. There are many roles available to suit everyone’s interests and skills, from marshalling the walk to posting content to social media. “It’s an easy event to volunteer [for in] that it is not overly demanding of your time,” said Beattie. “All volunteers will receive full training in the form of a General Orientation starting September 15 and a briefing on the morning of the event.” Exclusive souvenir t-shirts and refreshments will also be provided.

For long-time volunteers like Jessica Morrison, who signed up in 2013, volunteering has a lot of benefits not only for the community but also on an individual level. “Volunteering is not a burden or an extra ‘to-do’ in my schedule. It’s a thing that gives back to the community, but also to me,” said Morrison. “Knowing that I have something to contribute is a great feeling.”

Morrison got involved after hearing about the first Walk for Reconciliation. Since then, she’s remained an active volunteer with Reconciliation Canada. “There is a lot of complacency built into our social media-driven lives. We scroll, we click, we share, we’re shocked, we’re outraged. But what do we actually do in our lives to make real change as a result of what we read or see?” said Morrison. “It’s easy to get focused inward in daily life but volunteering reminds me to look outside of myself, to think bigger.”

For more information on the Walk for Reconciliation and the Reconciliation Expo, including volunteer opportunities, please visit WalkforReconciliation.ca

The Walk for Reconciliation is part of Reconciliation in Action: A National Engagement Strategy, a Canada 150 Signature Project, and is funded in part by the Government of Canada. The Walk for Reconciliation is a Canada 150+ Signature Event and the event is being delivered in partnership between the City of Vancouver and Reconciliation Canada.

Walk for Reconciliation
Sunday, September 24th | 9:30am
Cambie St. & Georgia St (Vancouver, BC)

Reconciliation Expo
Sunday, September 24th | 10:30am – 3:00pm
Strathcona Park, 857 Malkin Ave. (Vancouver, BC)