Jessica Westergaard will shortly be heading for Nanaimo and then Winnipeg as part of Katimavik, a countrywide charity dedicated to improving civic engagement and developing the youth of the country. Westergaard will be volunteering within both communities for three months for 30 hours a week while improving her life skills. Patrick Davies photo.

Lakecity youth receives a place in Katimavik

A lakecity woman is ready for six months of volunteering through the Katimavik National Experience

A young lakecity woman is ready for six months of intensive volunteering through the relaunched Katimavik National Experience.

Katimavik, which means gathering together or meeting place in Inuktitut, was first started back in 1977 with a goal to foster civic engagement and develop the youth of the community through volunteer service. That first year they mobilized around a 1,000 volunteers but since then has become a nationally funded charitable program that has had over 30,000 youth volunteer in communities across the country.

This year, one of these youths will be 21 year old Jessica Westergaard, who moved to the lakecity after a house fire last July in her hometown of Fort St. John. Her grandmother was born and raised in Springhouse, however, giving her and her family deep Cariboo roots.

Westergaard applied for Katimavik because she likes to travel but also wants to help people and when she heard that she’d be doing that in two different locations in Canada, she jumped at the opportunity.

Most people who know about it, she’s found, are older people as it lost funding back in 2008 and had to postpone its nationwide program. With it being brought back in 2018, however, she’s confident younger generations will start to recognize it as well.

Read More: MP Harris defends Bill C-38

“It’s a six-month volunteer program to two communities, one French and one English. I’ll be working for a non-profit, 30 hours a week and with Truth and Reconciliation along with that,” Westergaard said. “It’s sort of like speed dating but for a job and that’s what we’ll be doing until we find a non-profit that works for us.”

She’ll be going first to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island this summer and then to Winnipeg, Manitoba in the fall where she’ll be living and working with 10 other young adults from the ages of 17 to 25 and one program leader.

Getting to know the different cultures from the area over the three months she will be spending in both communities is what excites her the most. While she doesn’t know exactly what she plans to do after the program ends, Westergaard said she’s sure she’ll know what she wants after experiencing all the program has to offer.

One of the things the program requires her to do before leaving, however, is to raise a $1,000 for additional unforeseen costs such as travel expenses to remote Indigenous communities, funds for events they plan and anything else they require. As of this interview, Westergaard had raised $150 of the $1,000 needed and said she’s open to any donations the community would like to provide. Those interested in doing so can contact her in person or via email at or by phone at 250-793-1671.

“(Programs like this) help them learn and experience things they might not already know and (build) life skills as well,” Westergaard said. “It’d be a really good opportunity for any (young) people to go and learn how to be a part of the real world.”

Westergaard intends to take in the experience in full, use it to better herself and develop every life skill she can.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Ryan Fritz coming to play at Longhouse Sept. 28

Williams Lake will be very fortunate to have Cowboy and Western Folk singer Ryan Fritz perform

Salvation Army kitchen garden a growing contribution for Williams Lake

An initiative to grow vegetables for the Salvation Army has been a huge success

Williams Lake Film Club begins 2019-2020 season with The Biggest Little Farm

A family-friendly farming flick with rave reviews will be sure to delight lakecity audiences

Homeless situation ‘heartbreaking’: Temple

Temple has been a street nurse for three years and has seen poverty increase in the Cariboo

Fire claims two historic buildings in downtown Williams Lake

Several other businesses damaged by water used to fight the blaze

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Most Read