People in Kamloops can pay respects to Katherine McParland at a vigil, today until 5pm.
It will be at the Kamloops Alliance Church on the North Shore, at 200 Leigh Road, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, December 8.
A Way Home Kamloops Society board chair Louise Richards says McParland had dedicated her life to advocate for the care of vulnerable youth.
“We cannot express the depth of the loss to the community, and to the A Way Home Kamloops organization. Katherine lived her work, created new pathways to end youth homelessness, and inspired many others to join her in this critical work.”
McParland was homeless as a young person. She built A Way Home Kamloops from the ground up, earned a Masters Degree in Social Work, and advocated for homeless youth at provincial and federal tables.
“So I think her defining legacy is really that we are all much more aware of the harm that’s caused by youth homelessness, and the extent of it in this country.”
Richards also says the annual Camp Out to End Youth Homelessness will carry on with heavy hearts on Friday night.
Because of COVID-19, this year’s version will be virtual, with people camping in their own yards and taking part by Zoom, featuring virtual events that people can take part in.
Richards says it was not a tough decision to decide to carry on, saying it is a way to carry on McParland’s vision and legacy.
“The board is working on our next steps and we are absolutely committed to supporting the youth staff and continuing the work that Katherine spearheaded.”
The entire agenda for the camp out can be found here. Also, Richards is encouraging people to donate to the A Way Home Kamloops, which McParland led to where it is today, growing it from a grassroots organization to a registered charity. A link to donate can be found here.