Why We Volunteer

Sep 12, 2019

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  – Margaret Mead

I was raised in a family of volunteers, it's the rural way of living as deep as any tradition; family, community and volunteering. Giving is the backbone of Canadian life, especially in our rural communities.

4H ShelleyYou don't volunteer for the thanks or accolades, but Rotarians have a tradition of supporting the community by honoring those who give back. This past May, my husband Brian and I were honoured to receive the Paul Harris Fellow from the Wiarton Rotary Club for our community work with the 4-H program. The Paul Harris Fellow acknowledges individuals who contribute to The Rotary Foundation. It is one of the highest honours Rotary can bestow upon a person.

“Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.”
- Rotary International


4-H is a non-profit youth development organization that spans 70 countries and 10 Canadian provinces. For over a century, 4-H Ontario has been working to build youth as leaders within their communities. We volunteer with 4-H on all possible levels; locally in our county, provincially and nationally. Brian and I lead local clubs, chaperone teams and organize events and competitions. We have sat on association boards locally and provincially as well.  We truly love working with our members, seeing their personal growth and becoming leaders in their lives and communities is so rewarding.

"4-H is an organization for youth, but as leaders we also have the opportunity to learn and grow as citizens right along with our Members. It’s truly a program for everyone to succeed."

While there is a significant personal commitment of time, effort, and sometimes even finances - the benefits to volunteering are beyond measure.

As with anything you undertake, it is what you make it. REIC Members and volunteers dedicate countless hours and resources to make the Institute the well-respected organization it is today. This not only benefits our professional community, but the industry as a whole. Because of my own volunteer work and that of my family, I can truly appreciate the contributions made by engaged individuals who shape their communities. Thank you for your dedication to this organization.


Shelley Barfoot-O'Neill

Written by Shelley Barfoot-O'Neill

Shelley is the Manager of Membership Services at the Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC). Because of her dedication to volunteerism, Shelley was awarded the 2017 BMO Woman of Excellence in Agriculture Award sponsored by Federated Women’s Institute of Ontario and BMO.