Dear Katimavik Volunteer,
When you applied to become a Katimavik volunteer during the application process, we asked you if you were ‘brave enough’. What we meant was were you brave enough to go on a journey of self-discovery; brave enough to volunteer in communities across our great country and help those who needed help; brave enough to challenge yourself and to overcome barriers. You answered the call and said ‘Yes’…and became a Katimavik volunteer. Thank you for demonstrating that courage and bravery!
Today we face a very unique challenge with COVID-19. And perhaps it is simply the beginning of many more similar challenges throughout your lifetime. Later in life, I am sure you will remember where you were and what you did during this very difficult global crisis.
It would be easy for us to simply shut down Katimavik’s programming and send all volunteers home. But some of you may want to stay and contribute in different ways other than what we had originally planned. And we don’t want to deprive you of that opportunity. So, if you wish to continue to make a contribution in the communities where you are currently placed, Katimavik wants to walk that road with you and allow you to make that choice. But this should be your choice and your decision.
Therefore, should you want to return home, please let your PL know and we will begin to make travel plans so you can return at the earliest convenience. We would ask that you be patient, however, as flight schedules have been reduced, but we will get you a flight home. In addition, if you choose to leave the Program now and return home, you may return for a future cohort. You must re-apply but you will be approved. It may be some time before we launch another Program depending on what progress is made against COVID-19. But we will welcome you back once we relaunch, hopefully in the months ahead.
For those of you who wish to stay, it may mean we have to merge some houses and move you to another community that is close to where you are currently. In order to protect your safety and avoid COVID-19 exposure, should have you have to travel to another Katimavik house, that will be done with the use of a rented Katimavik vehicle. Public transportation will not be used to move you to an alternate house. You can choose to stay and volunteer in new ways. We will need some time to find those new opportunities but if there are a sufficient number of you who would like to stay with the Program, we are committed to trying our best to find those volunteer opportunities for you. If a sufficient number of you choose not to stay and a clear majority of you return home, then we may not be able to sustain the Program further. Obviously, when you return home, we will make flight arrangements for you, too. However, should we have to shut down the Program in the weeks or months ahead, you too will be permitted to re-apply and return when we launch a new Program, hopefully in the months ahead.
Your PL will discuss or may have discussed these options with you. Whatever you decide, on behalf of all of us at Katimavik, we wish you best wishes. Stay safe.