Protest through volunteerism / Protestation par le bénévolat
Organization: Saving Katimavik Alumni Committee
On Saturday, June 23, 2012 more than one hundred former Katimavik volunteers and supporters will provide 600 hours of labour to community organizations across Canada. Their action will emphasize the loss of Katimavik’s tremendous contribution to over 50 communities and 500 not-for-profit organizations in every Canadian Province and Territory. The ill advised and premature termination of Katimavik funding by the Federal Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH) not only hurts young Canadians but also represents an attack on Canadian communities. The cut puts at risk the services provided by Community Partner organizations. Therefore, these volunteers are calling for the immediate restoration of Katimavik funding.
In Winnipeg and Vancouver, groups of volunteers are banding together to increase the impact of their efforts on Saturday. Others are working individually, both nationally and internationally.
John Miedema, one of Saturday’s volunteers, says of his time in Katimavik:
“This experience was the foundation of my lifelong participation in Canadian communities and cultural life. On Saturday June 23 I will volunteer my IT skills to build the volunteer coordination website of the Wakefield Public Library.”
A 2010 PCH “Summative Evaluation of the Katimavik Program” report demonstrates Katimavik volunteers contributed “650,000 to 740,000 hours a year, or an average of approximately 660 to 770 hours per volunteer”. Not only was this work beneficial for the youth but 85% of the Katimavik Community Partners indicated “they were very satisfied overall with the projects carried out by the Katimavik volunteers.” Projects may not have been started, or may have been completed with delays or reduced in scope without these volunteers.
The cut is further incomprehensible as the same report finds the “…objectives of the Katimavik program support and mirror the government’s priorities… Katimavik is a good fit with the Government of Canada’s youth programming. It also ties in with and complements other federal programs.”
Katimavik contributes to Canadian society in countless ways and the termination of full-time volunteer services by the program cannot be replaced with occasional, part time volunteers. The affected not-for-profit organizations must now spend valuable resources to attract and retain new volunteers. One day of labour will not replace Katimavik’s contribution but highlights the harm this cut has inflicted on Canadian communities.
The Saving Katimavik Alumni Committee is an informal association of Katimavik Alumni and supporters. They are not associated with Katimavik-OPCAN Corporation.
Department of Canadian Heritage Summative Evaluation of the Katimavik Program