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This is a special time of year for giving, but BC’s retired teachers give of themselves to a remarkable degree all year round.

A comprehensive survey of more than 1,000 retired teachers across BC reveals a deep commitment to volunteerism which creates an economic benefit equivalent to $110 million, if the retirees’ time is calculated at a minimum wage of just $10 per hour.

“Our study shows that retired teachers make a phenomenal contribution to the well-being and sustainability of communities across our province,” said JoAnn Lauber, chair of the Retired Teachers’ Association Volunteerism Committee. “We were amazed to learn the huge value of the work done by teacher volunteers, and the wide range of activities in which they’re involved.”

She said the study found that retired teachers in BC devote an average of 31 hours per month to volunteer work: more than double the amount of time contributed by Canadians described as “top volunteers” in a survey done by Statistics Canada in 2007.

With a focus on community organizations, care-giving, education, arts and culture, and health and hospitals, retired teachers provide important social and human services that touch the lives of children, teens, adults, and seniors across the province.

“Throughout their working lives, teachers are dedicated to the children and youth in their communities, so it’s no surprise that their altruistic and compassionate spirit of involvement carries on in retirement,” BCTF President Susan Lambert said. “Because teachers tend to have such good people skills, they’re actively recruited by many organizations and they respond enthusiastically.”

Lauber noted that the large sample size (1,036 respondents) makes the findings highly reliable. Respondents also made over 1,200 written comments, including this one:

“Volunteering is wonderful, keeps us young, keeps brain cells dancing, and makes us realize just how many skills have been attained through a teaching career. Volunteering not only fills the hours but provides an opportunity to serve others in a meaningful way, to make community stronger, to give back to society the benefit we get from living in a democratic country.”

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For more information, contact Nancy Knickerbocker, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).