Pride launches volunteer drive for weekend festivities
People take part in the annual Pride Parade in Toronto on Sunday, July 3, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Tuesday, May 29, 2012 10:03AM EDT
Volunteers working for one of Toronto's biggest summer festivals say they indeed are full of pride.
After all, volunteers are the backbone of the jam-packed Pride festivities that happen each year during the last weekend of June.
More than 1,200 people are involved in making sure it all goes off without a hitch and this year, officials with Pride say they're looking for a few more good men and women to sign up for the job.
The three days include two marches, a huge parade and a ton of parties over 12 city blocks. About 1.5 million people from across North America come to Toronto to take part in the celebration.
David Hutchison, Pride's weekend volunteer team leader, said there are quite a few benefits of donating your time to Pride.
"Because there are so many different events at Pride, we can offer a wide variety of roles that meet almost all volunteer preferences," Hutchison told CP24.com. "We've got opportunities to meet different interests like working with artists at the Arts & Culture stages, facilitating activities with children at Family Pride, helping provide services that make the festival more accessible and many more."
Aside from using the volunteer experience to build up a resume, Hutchison said the festival is a proven way to meet new people.
"Most of the roles have volunteers working in teams," he said. "We invite volunteers to attend an orientation session where they meet the people they are going to be working with and even after the festival, volunteers are invited back to attend a volunteer appreciation party."
Each year, volunteers are given a questionnaire and are asked to report on how they felt about their experience. By and large, they hail their time with Pride as a positive, fun-filled weekend.
For one mom, she said the most satisfying part of her volunteer experience was "being part of something where everyone is comfortable being themselves."
"I have a lesbian daughter who now lives in Victoria so I went to Pride without her this year," she wrote in the questionnaire. "My husband joined and one of our daughter's friends for dinner and drinks after my shift. Awesome experience!"
But aside from a good time, volunteering at Pride is also a chance to spread awareness to the general public and to immerse yourself in a supportive environment where individuality is protected and celebrated.
Click here for more information on how you can help make a difference.