I want to thank all the volunteers in my life. It is National Volunteer Week, after all!

Every day of my life, I get to collaborate alongside people raising funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto, organizing events for CAMH, growing professional networks for the Black Talent Initiative community and advising our team at Park Street Education.

Every day.

If I had written this blog a few years ago, I would have talked of the football coaches in my life, the robotics coaches in our younger son’s life, the rugby coaches in our older son’s life, etc.

Volunteers lead the world to a better place and conduct rescue efforts when it is not so good. They understand they have a skill set and capacity that many organizations cannot access. Yet, inside many volunteers exists a pain point that gnaws away at them daily unless they get out and do something about it.

In short, the best volunteers are making the world, your world, a better place to live.

Take the time this week to salute the volunteers in your community. Please give them a gold star or buy them a Starbucks. Share their story on social because they are likely not apt to. Tell them to thank you in as many words as it takes—the better.

It is also time for you to remind those that don’t volunteer that it is their turn. Time pressure, personal finances, or perceived ability are irrelevant. Many opportunities to engage without it being a precursor to a significant donation or an unwieldy time commitment. If you can’t commit fully, buddy up, or Bonny up, on a role. You’re needed, wanted, and valued.

The world does not have enough volunteers. It has too many critics. The idiots who used to scream at my youth football coaching decisions but never offered a hand even to set up the bench. The climate protesters who don’t think about getting involved in a rideshare to help transport those without cars. The person at work thinks it is the receptionist’s job to unload the staff dishwasher or the social poster with lots to say about what other people are doing wrong.

Wow, this post took a dark turn, didn’t it?

But there are indeed more critics than contributors out there. So please celebrate the latter this week. I encourage you to find someone in your neighbourhood in your company in your circle of friends and surprise them with your own National Volunteer Week award. Need ideas? Check out the site Volunteer.ca. Need Inspiration – ask any of my friends who volunteer.

Need motivation? Just look outside. The world needs you!