October 14, 2009 14:00 ET

Katimavik to Receive Multi-Year Funding From the Federal Government

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Oct. 14, 2009) - Today, the Department of Canadian Heritage announced that it would provide stable funding to Canada's leading national youth service program for 3 years starting in 2010 for a total investment of 45 million dollars. This decision follows several months of discussions between Canadian Heritage and senior Katimavik officials. For the last three years Katimavik had been operating on an annual funding basis.

"We are very pleased to have secured a long term partnership with the government of Canada," says Jean-Guy Bigeau, Executive Director of Katimavik. "Such an investment in our national volunteer service program will help provide thousands of youth the opportunity to participate in a meaningful way to nation-building while providing useful community service in hundreds of communities across the country. Engaging youth in full time volunteer service can have a very profound effect especially in light of the current economic crisis. This funding will enable thousands of Canadians to benefit from Katimavik in the years ahead, Bigeau concluded."

Katimavik will undergo several structural and operational changes in order to maximize the number of youth who join the program. Starting in the fall of 2009 Katimavik offers three new specialized 6-month program options that focus on the specific themes of its structured learning model. These include Cultural Discovery and Civic Engagement, Eco-citizenship and Active Living as well as Second Language and Cultural Diversity.

"Our plan is to diversify both our funding and our program model to meet the needs and growing demands of today's youth and to ensure that we continue to offer relevant and innovative programs," says Robert Giroux, Chair of Katimavik's Board of Directors. "Katimavik's time-tested 9-month program will remain the cornerstone of our service-leaning model for young people interested in engaging in a longer term of active community service."

Such new programming coupled with a multi-year funding will allow Katimavik to expand the program to an even greater number of communities across the country. Specifically, Katimavik plans to develop programs in Canada's far north that meet the social, cultural and economic realities of the arctic region. "Operating on an annual basis was very challenging because it hindered the long term planning process," says David Atkinson, Chair of the Katimavik Foundation. "With a multi-year agreement now in place, we can embark on a comprehensive funding diversification strategy that will allow Katimavik to reach more youth and communities and increase the number of programs we deliver."

About Katimavik

Katimavik promotes civic engagement and fosters sustainable communities through challenging national youth service programs. Since 1977, Katimavik has enabled nearly 30,000 Canadians to be involved in more than 2,000 communities throughout Canada. Participants between the ages of 17 and 21 live with 10 other youth from across the country in 2 or 3 communities. They commit to 6 or 9 month programs where they volunteer 28 to 35 hours a week for a variety of non-profit organizations. Youth also benefit from Katimavik's structured learning program focused on civic engagement, leadership, official languages, the environment, cultural diversity and healthy lifestyle.

For further information on Katimavik please visit www.katimavik.org or visit our blog at www.gokatimavik.com

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