By Susanne Laperle – Special to SUNonline/Orillia
Residents of Orillia and the surrounding region are deservedly well-known for their community spirit. There is always an emphasis on supporting those across our community who are struggling to feed their families or who (in too many cases) are challenged to keep a roof over their heads. These causes are high priority, particularly at this time of year, and it’s heartening to know how responsive our community continues to be on their behalf.
Food and shelter security are very much a part of the overall sustainability agenda. If our physiological needs (food and shelter) are not met, then broader, more collective goals such as combatting climate change will be left unaddressed. Attaining sustainability encompasses social, economic and environmental aspects; they are important, interconnected pieces of a bigger puzzle. Sustainable Orillia believes all of Orillia’s volunteer efforts to build a better and sustainable future overlap and we can make a greater difference when working collaboratively, side-by-side. Many Sustainable Orillia volunteers play active and leadership roles in other local organizations, ranging from supporting the arts community ,Couchiching Conservancy and to housing and food security, with many points in between. As volunteers, we are limited only by our own choices and capacity.
As the New Year begins, we hope you will consider volunteering for Sustainable Orillia. Our initiatives support our vision of achieving net-zero emissions and long-term sustainability. Now, well into our fifth year of operations, the organization continues to build its portfolio of projects and is open to all who may be interested in joining this critical movement.
Volunteering offers opportunities for like-minded citizens to work together on meaningful projects and events. It’s an opportunity to contribute fresh-thinking and energy that will ultimately make a difference to the quality of life and long-term sustainability of our community. There is lots to learn and lots to do, and, in many cases, just giving a few hours a couple of times a year is more than enough to keep this movement moving forward.
SO projects for 2024 include our premiere event – the 5th edition of Sustainable Orillia’s All Electric Vehicle Event, which gets bigger every year. Other ongoing events and projects include the very popular Urban Walks, an annual Student Art Contest, a bike rally, a booth at the Mariposa Folk Festival, educational programs, communication deliverables and more – all of which need support and fresh energy.
You may have your own sustainability projects and priorities in mind, projects that will fit within the Sustainable Orillia mandate and which may benefit from SO funding, communications and resourcing. All of these activities need and benefit from volunteers. Roles may include project management, communications, logistics (set-up/take-down), on-site greeting and oversight, 50/50 draws and so on. Many hands make light work and there is always something that will benefit from a volunteer’s touch.
If you would like to join the Sustainable Orillia team as a volunteer, please email email@example.com. A volunteer get-together is being planned for mid-February for volunteers new and old. It promises to be a relaxed event, designed to welcome new recruits while providing an overview of our 2024 projects. Refreshments will be served, and the session will give everyone an opportunity to explore options and confirm where their interest and support lies for 2024.
Please let us know that you are interested in participating as an SO Volunteer and include your contact info. A member of the Sustainable Orillia board team will get back to you with your invitation to our Volunteers Get Together and will answer any questions you may have. Thank you for considering this important work. We hope to see you soon.