Katimavik volunteers are planning a national day of action on Saturday, June 23 to promote volunteerism and protest the government's decision to end the program's funding.
Former volunteers that have gone through the program will help out at KINA Spirit Day in Burnaby on June 23, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Great Bear Pub parking lot, at 5665 Kingsway.
KINA Spirit Day is hosted by the Kingsway Imperial Neighbourhood Association to bring the community together for a day of family fun. The event includes a show-and-shine car display, a bouncy castle, face painting, a bike parade with a prize for the best-decorated bike, bike engraving by Burnaby RCMP auxiliary members, and much more.
The Katimavik alumni will be helping with the event and manning an info table for the program. Katimavik sends groups of 11 volunteers, aged 17 to 21, to work full-time for six months in several communities across Canada. The program has been around for 35 years, and more than 300,000 young Canadians have participated. The federal government effectively announced the end of the Katimavik program with the release of the latest budget on March 29.
Burnaby resident Justin Chen said his experience with the program was fantastic.
"Before Katimavik, I had no direction," said Chen. "As a UBC student, I felt lost and just followed my peers. After my six month journey to Manitoba and north Quebec, I gained valuable professional and social skills, learned French and a little Cree, became capable of organizing events and projects and discovered how vast and amazing our country of Canada really is."
Chen said it was a shame the program is ending. "I've seen the impact it has for the community and young people," he said. "I've seen people who've changed as they went though the program. They've discovered what their life is about."