Katimavik in Support of Legislated Youth Service Program

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For the last 30 years, hundreds of communities across Canada have benefited from the volunteers of Katimavik, Canada's leading national youth service program. The internationally celebrated organization has facilitated the sometimes-difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood for more than 27,000 Canadians ages 17 to 21. It is no surprise then that Katimavik is in support of Canada adopting a legislated national youth service policy.

For the last 30 years, hundreds of communities across Canada have benefited from the volunteers of Katimavik, Canada's leading national youth service program. The internationally celebrated organization has facilitated the sometimes-difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood for more than 27,000 Canadians ages 17 to 21. It is no surprise then that Katimavik is in support of Canada adopting a legislated national youth service policy.

"The establishment of a legislated national youth service policy would demonstrate Canada's commitment to youth and the role they can play in social and economic development," says Jean-Guy Bigeau, executive director of Katimavik. "A national youth service policy, backed up by adequate funding, would make a bold public statement about the value Canadians place on the future of our youth as the country's leaders of tomorrow."

The young Katimavik do-gooders serve as volunteers in communities coast-to-coast, giving their time to a wide variety of local causes throughout the nine-month program. Founded in 1977 by senator Jacques Hebert with the help of his good friend Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Katimavik was created to offer Canadian youth the possibility to engage in volunteer service while discovering their country.

A recent national study conducted by Malatest & Associates concluded that each dollar invested in Katimavik generates an average return of $2.20 to Canadian society. For the 2005/2006-program year, this represented a total economic return of $16,138,331 in 105 communities across Canada.

"This study shows what people across Canada have always known about Katimavik and other worthwhile youth volunteer programs," says Pamela Lang, Communications and Development Manager, Katimavik, BC and Yukon. "Volunteering works and communities across Canada are benefiting from them on so many levels."

Katimavik's personal benefits for youth include increased employability, improved academic performance, higher participation rates in civic activities, as well as a high return rate to post-secondary education. Additionally, they are given the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of a second language, which many young Canadians are desperately seeking.

"A national youth service policy would emphasize affirmative action for youth as a strategy of participation and empowerment," says Bigeau. "Our youth deserve no less, and as a matter of fact, neither do we."

ABOUT KATIMAVIK

For 30 years Katimavik has offered more than 27,000 young Canadians ages 17 to 21 a unique opportunity to volunteer on community and environmental projects, build friendships, acquire valuable skills and make a difference in hundreds of Canadian communities across the country. Divided in teams of 11, Katimavik youth travel across Canada from one community to the next in order to accomplish projects for non-profit organizations while discovering more about Canada's cultural diversity. The numerous projects on which they work are diverse and stimulating - building hiking trails, organizing a festival, accompanying senior citizens on outings, teaching children to read and working for a community radio station, among others.

The Katimavik experience is available to young Canadians ages 17 to 21. This year, the programs commence in September 2007 (a nine-month program) and January 2008 (an eight-month program).

For more information on the Katimavik experience, visit: http://www.katimavik.org.

Reference:

Lisa Schwartz
Curve Communications
T: 604.684.3170 ext. 104
C: 778.231.3128

Erin Smith
Curve Communications
T: 604.684.3170 ext. 118
C: 778.231.3128

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LIsa Schwartz
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