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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trail cleanup begins at Scout Island Nature Centre after flood waters recede in Williams Lake

More cleanup work will continue in the coming weeks and months as water levels continue to go down

It’s a go: Williams Lake Garden Club prepares for summer garden tour

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some measures are in place for this year’s garden tour

B.C. First Nation owned solar farm connected to the grid

Construction was completed by the Tsilhqot’in Nation last year

CRD library to offer curbside pick up in Williams Lake beginning June 9

Due to COVID-19 the library has been closed to the public since March 17

Williams Lake mayor, doctors, tourism, chamber to provide updates at June tailgate event

A maximum of 30 vehicles can attend, event will be livestreamed

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Williams Lake Tribune continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

‘Great Regional Air Hug’ being organized by the Vanderhoof International Airshow Society

A multi-aircraft flyover over the region is being planned for August 15.

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

Most Read