1 February 2021A
A Note from John-Frederick Cameron, CEO of Katimavik
Dear friends, Participants, colleagues, partners, and stakeholders,
As I reflect on a challenging year we weathered – a year like no other, a year that has brought us an unbelievable amount of change and uncertainty, one is clear – the pandemic impacted every one of us, every Canadian family and every community.
When the pandemic hit, Katimavik took a brave and decisive step forward – we advanced with Katimavik’s National Experience Program. We did so in spite of the pandemic, aware of the increased need that communities and non-profit organizations would face as a result of the pandemic, but cognizant of the impact that our Participants could have on helping those in need.
We took the decision to continue the National Experience very seriously, showing solidarity, strength of mind, and, most importantly, remaining steadfast in our collective sense of responsibility to all our Participants and with their safety always top of mind.
I remain in awe and I so very much admire the resilience, bravery, and dedication of Canadian youth.
Over the past year, Katimavik’s National Experience has received a record number of applications, 4 applications for every available placement.
I am immensely proud of our youth participants, who came together, as activist and caring citizens and successfully transformed their desire to help those who need it into myriads of good deeds for communities across Canada.
Throughout 2020, Katimavik National Experience Participants spent 6600 hours serving local communities: we worked in the food banks and shelters in Québec City, Nanaimo, and Peterborough. We engaged directly with people suffering from solitude and loneliness. We produced protective masks, assembled hundreds of care and food boxes in Winnipeg and delivered them to vulnerable communities. Across all Katimavik project communities, our youth took the initiative to support the elderly, who were unable to get groceries, food, medicine, or access other needed services. We continue to raise youth awareness on Truth and Reconciliation, on mental health, and on the ongoing fight for equality and equity.
The National Experience continues to navigate through this crisis. And, in fact, thrive through it. A couple of days ago we launched 6 new projects across Canada. We are tirelessly working to expand our presence, to do even more and serve more communities.
We are supported by both national and local governments, we cooperate with all municipal, provincial, and federal authorities through adherence to all COVID-19 health, hygiene, and safety guidelines, instructions, and protocols.
I am sure that as Canadians and all those who live in our great country, we will all remain strong, supported by our collective solidarity responsibility and generosity with and for one another. Together, we will weather this storm.
Katimavik Chief Executive Officer
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
Will the program still take place, despite coronavirus restrictions?
Yes! Charities and non-profits need the help of volunteers now more than ever. It is undeniable that these are challenging times for everyone. The good news is that YOU can still make a difference! Joining our program means participating in an educational and meaningful experience while proactively helping communities face the challenges of the pandemic.
Will the volunteer placements still be in person?
Mostly. Part of what makes the National Experience so special is its fully immersive aspect. For this reason, we prefer on-site assignments. However, to adapt to the current reality, part of the work may be done online to address the needs and characteristics of each placement.
Am I at risk of contracting the coronavirus by participating? How will you ensure the safety of participants during the National Experience?
Yes, volunteering comes with risks and we do not take this fact lightly. The National Experience is a community service learning program and as such you and/or members of your group will be engaging in frontline work. All our partners will follow the best practices of COVID-19 safety procedures, such as providing masks, other protective equipment, and social distancing. Moreover, as part of your orientation your group will create a group contract for communal living, which will include COVID-19 safety procedures. We all have different comfort-levels and risk-appetites, as well as our individual physical and mental health needs so reflect on whether this is the right time for you to be taking part in the National Experience. If you have concerns or questions about this, please make sure to discuss these with the Katimavik office. We recognize the immeasurable value of our volunteers, and your safety is our top priority. We will do everything we can to make the Katimavik Experience a memorable one.
What will a typical placement look like?
Every Katimavik experience is unique! Here is a sneak peek of what your day-to-day might look like:
• Answering COVID-19 response needs, for example, putting together meal packages for people in need or delivering groceries to seniors in lockdown.
• Environmental initiatives such as park clean ups or working in community gardens.
• Communications work (public relations, fundraising, promotional activities).
• Manual labour, for example sorting clothes, renovations, maintenance.
• Office work which could include receptionist or administrative duties.
• Assistance or counselling to specific groups or individuals.