Volunteerism still strong in Chilliwack, study finds

An overall finding from the 2014 survey was that respondents still consider Chilliwack to be a less complicated place to live.

Altruism is not dead. Nor is volunteerism.

The Chilliwack Social Research and Planning Council has been concerned about both matters. In the 2014 Quality of Life research, the findings of which were recently released by the Council, there continues to be a fairly strong commitment to volunteerism. In fact, 45% of respondents reported volunteering in the last year. That number may not capture the myriad of small ways people contribute, but more importantly, the number has not decreased since 2004 when the survey was first instituted. When asked why they volunteer, the most prominent reason was “to improve the community.” That reasoning has stayed the same in the survey in 2004, 2009 and now 2014.

An overall finding from the 2014 survey was that respondents still consider Chilliwack to be a less complicated place to live, retaining some of its pastoral/rural feel, although it is evident this is receding. Volunteering can play a significant role in maintaining and advancing the feeling of living in a less complicated and less stressful environment.

Here’s the logic. Volunteerism is related to a sense of contribution. Contribution is related to a sense of belonging. When we feel that we belong somewhere, we usually are more motivated to care for it and, ultimately, to feel safe. When we feel safe, we experience less stress. There’s no need to be on guard all the time. Volunteering is an opportunity to meet people and build a greater sense of community. There is a phrase coined in community psychology literature that speaks to this: place attachment.

Fostering a sense of place attachment isn’t the responsibility of the welcome wagon, the City or any particular agency. Instead, it’s something we can all build through our volunteerism. Essentially, whether you’re working with Big Brothers, Community Services, your faith community, amateur sports or Ann Davis Transition Services,  it’s all for the common good. Volunteering and altruism make us feel like we belong, but they also create a more welcoming and generous social space for everyone.

Former City Councillor and one-time School Administrator Mel Folkman told a story, the gist of which goes like this: As a new principal, he noticed that the school was being vandalized and the likely suspects were older kids, waiting for the bus to the secondary school. Mel wisely made a point to get to school early, and befriend and welcome these older students in. The vandalism stopped. Mel’s going above and beyond to welcome these students obviously had an impact on their sense of place. The school now mattered to them because they had a sense that they mattered to it.

There’s an old adage – “When you volunteer, you can get more than you give.”  This concept is living on in a growing body of psychological literature on the value of giving to others. Giving creates biological and psychological changes that improve our state of wellbeing. If you aren’t already volunteering, use your courage to reach out, find a service opportunity in the community, and try it. It may be one of the best things you ever did!

 

Dr. Robert Lees, R.Psych is the Community Psychologist for the Ministry of Children and Family Development in Chilliwack.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ashley Durance, seen here on Nov. 25, 2020 with her four-year-old daughter Hazel, recently released The Adventures of Mabel Mouse. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack cancer patient writes children’s book inspired by daughter with medical complexities

Ashley Durance released ‘The Adventures of Mabel Mouse’ the day before her daughter’s fourth birthday

LEFT: Krista Macinnis, with a red handprint across her face that symbolizes the silencing of First Nations people, displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
RIGHT: Abbotsford School District Kevin Godden says the district takes responsibility for the harm the assignment caused.
Abbotsford school district must make amends for harmful residential school assignment: superintendent

‘The first step is to unreservedly apologize for the harm … caused to our community’: Kevin Godden

A new Sardis secondary school logo designed by a former student, Jason Roberts. (Facebook photo)
Chilliwack’s Sardis secondary unveils new logo done in Coast Salish style

The new-look Falcon is meant strengthen connections between Indigenous students and their school

Elissa McLaren broke her left elbow in the Sept. 20, 2020 collision. (Submitted)
Victims of fatal crash on Prest Road in Chilliwack asking for help leading up to Christmas

‘This accident has taken a larger toll financially, mentally and physically than originally intended’

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld (left) and former BCTF president Glen Hansman (right).
BC Court of Appeal left to walk tightrope of freedom of expression in Neufeld-Hansman case

Is defamation lawsuit aimed at stifling free expression or does the defamation hinder free speech?

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Despite rumours, Surrey RCMP say they are not issuing tickets to people if they are driving in a vehicle with others from a different household. (File photo)
COVID-19 tickets: No, RCMP aren’t checking vehicle occupancies, restaurant tables

Enforcement about education, not punishment says Surrey RCMP Cpl. Joanie Sidhu

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Most Read