Healthy Living

YMCA volunteers are heroes in their communities

Three YMCA volunteers smiling in front of a wooden backdrop.

Are superheroes real? We think that they are and we celebrated their hard work at the 2017 YMCA Annual Professional Development and Recognition Conference on Saturday, October 21.


At the YMCA of Greater Toronto, we are incredibly proud of the contributions of our volunteers. Last year, 5,268 volunteers contributed 258,223 hours supporting programs in Health & Fitness, Employment & Immigrant Services, Child Care, Summer Camps, and Youth Programs. Many also served on boards, or provided support virtually. Whatever their role, each hour they contributed serving others helped to build a brighter future for their communities.


“Volunteering is a way of sharing your time and expertise,” says Luis, a conference attendant and volunteer at the Central YMCA Newcomer Information Centre and Language Assessment centre. Though he has a busy schedule, he thinks it is worthwhile to take the time to give advice to newcomers and train other volunteers. “You give positive energy and attitude and you receive this back,” he says. “You can see the difference you make in a smile.”


People volunteer at the Y for many reasons, but one thing that unites our volunteers is a belief in the Association’s mission, and the willingness to go the extra mile to help our members, families, and participants. For YMCA of Greater Toronto Board of Directors Chair Martine Irman, that’s what making a community a better place is all about. “You make a statement every day about the kind of community you want to live in,” she said during her address to volunteers. “You come to this YMCA with the belief that working with us, you can make things better. It is the ultimate exercise in democracy.”


But how are heroes made? Sometimes volunteering means stepping out of your comfort zone. When volunteers take risks, they become leaders and contribute to building healthier communities. “Some days are tough.” Says Luis. “But don’t give up…be the difference.”


Unleash your inner superhero! Check out our volunteer opportunities page to see positions currently being offered.