Give Before You Get: Volunteering and the Case of the Unemployed Millennials

If you’re young, say 18-24 years old, getting a job is hard. Actually, it’s beyond hard. More like landing a rover on Mars hard.

If you’re a recent secondary or postsecondary graduate, the odds are you’ve already learned this fact for yourself.

According to the most recent statistics, Ontario’s youth unemployment rate has spiked to 17.1%, while the rest of Canada’s youth unemployment rate has come in at about 14.5%. The alarming news is that this doesn’t seem to be due to a lack of jobs. In fact, out of 1,425 students and youth surveyed, only 37% cited a lack of jobs as the perceived reason for their unemployment.

To read the rest of this article, which was originally published on Charity Village, please click here.



Charity Highlight |Ontario Volunteer Centre Network

Welcome to our weekly charity and non-profit highlight. Each week we will be shining the spotlight on a different charity or non-profit, who, in our humble opinion, deserves some extra recognition for the work that they do.

This week we would like to bring attention to the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN), an informal network of 26 Volunteer Centres in Ontario.

If you’re already a volunteer , chances are you are familiar with a Volunteer Centre in your region. If not, then you might be surprised to find out that there are non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting volunteerism and helping connect organizations with volunteers and volunteers with opportunities.

The OVCN seeks to bring these VC’s together in order to achieve not only their own goals, but the goals of the non-profit sector as a whole within Ontario. The idea being that together their synergy will achieve more than the sum of them as separate parties.

Most recently, the OVCN was a huge part of recruiting volunteers for the Pan Am/Parapan Am games held in Toronto. The games would not have been possible without the hard work of all of their volunteers, according to the games’ organizers.

In coordination with the Pan/Parapan Am Games, the OVCN has coordinated the implementation of PREB-Ontario, which is a system set up to recognize volunteers for the skills they demonstrated while volunteering by creating PREB-Ontario certificates. These certificates outline in detail the tasks and activities, based upon the National Occupation Classification, and also details key aspects of a volunteer’s experience, such as hours of volunteering completed, activities performed, special achievements or training obtained and special comments by supervisors. PREB-Ontario is part of the Volunteer Legacy initiative from the Pan/Parapan Am Games and has been made possible through funding support from the Government of Ontario.

Recently completing its 8th year, the OVCN’s Change The World – Ontario Youth Volunteer Challenge saw 42,000 youth contribute 225,000 hours through volunteering. This year’s goal was 37,000 volunteers and 111,000 hours volunteered. This initiative continues to surpass its goals. Find out how you can get involved right here.

Their Vision:

The Ontario Volunteer Centre Network envisions healthy, resilient and engaged communities where we provide a collective voice for Volunteer Centres and volunteerism.

The OVCN’s goals are to:

  •  Achieve sustainability for Ontario’s Volunteer Centres and the OVCN
  •  Assist Volunteer Centres to enhance their capacity to deliver quality programs and services
  •  Influence social policy as it relates to Volunteer Centres and volunteerism
  •  Increase public awareness of the value and impact of volunteerism

If you’re looking to get involved, you can locate your closest Volunteer Centre right here.

Thanks to the OVCN and their member organizations for all the work they do in raising the profile of volunteerism in Ontario.

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Charity Highlight | Canadian Mental Health Association

Welcome to our weekly charity and non-profit highlight. Each week we will be shining the spotlight on a different charity or non-profit, who, in our humble opinion, deserves some extra recognition for the work that they do.

This week we are highlighting the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in light of the one year anniversary of Robin Williams succumbing to his mental illness and committing suicide and the millions of others who suffer from mental illness.

The CMHA boasts some impressive numbers, helping over “…100,000 Canadians through the combined efforts of more than 10,000 volunteers and staff across Canada in 120 communities.” These are numbers that give hope to the millions of Canadians coping with or helping someone live with mental health struggles.

Most of us know someone who has had or is currently living with mental illness(es). This is due to a combination of factors such as genetic, biological, personality, and environmental factors.

The thing about mental illness is that it truly does not discriminate. Your income or education level can not guarantee positive mental health throughout your life. In fact, 20% of Canadians will personally experience mental illness in their lifetime.

The CMHA advocates for mentally well people in a healthy society, and that is something that is currently in dire need. We still have a long way to travel before arriving at a place where all Canadians are receiving the support they need.

Some staggering statistics about mental health (from CMHA’s website):

  • In Canada, only 1 in 5 children who need mental health services receive them
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death in 15-24 year old Canadians; 4,000 lives are ended prematurely in Canada due to suicide every year
  • Men are 4x more likely to commit suicide than women
  • in 1998, the total cost of mental illness was $7.9 billion with an additional $6.3 billion in time off work for depression or distress not treated by the healthcare system

The CMHA helps in so many ways, recently by hosting “Ride Don’t Hide“, a Father’s Day charity bike ride that raised $1.1 million for mental health. There are also other initiatives the CMHA leads, such as advocating for changes in government policy or providing training to individuals and workplaces to effectively support those living with mental illness.

Mental illness is not something that can be turned off. The same way you can’t just ignore cancer or Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a mental illness is not something to be downplayed and treated in a way that it is not a real issue.

As Canadians move toward a future where mental illness becomes destigmatized and our friends and loved ones receive the support they need, we should always remember that it’s organizations like the CMHA we have to thank.

To learn more about how you can donate your time or money, visit their website here.

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