News

February 8, 2013

Canada World Youth and Guests Gather in Saskatoon to Explore the Impact of International Youth Volunteering

Montreal, February 8, 2013 – Two former Canada World Youth (CWY) program volunteers, host families and partners – all residents of Saskatoon – got together last night at the SCYAP Art Gallery to discuss, with potential recruits, how their CWY experience set the tone for the rest of their lives. They were joined by CWY volunteers from Canada and Nicaragua, currently based in Saskatoon, who are giving their time to various organizations all over the city, as well as MLA David Forbes.

“This event is part of a series called CWY Talks which takes place in different cities across Canada as a way to promote the impact of international youth volunteering through the stories of Canadians who are part of CWY’s history”, explains CWY’s Alumni and Volunteer Coordinator Katrie Gagné.

Marlene Larocque, a dynamic Saskatoon resident, claims that “CWY helps you to visualize and realize your potential. That’s really important in setting you on a path and having a strategy for where you are going”. CWY took her on a program to Bolivia in 1986, which she says had a big influence on her life. She is now a program officer for the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies and she has remained actively involved with CWY as a project supervisor in Poland and Ecuador and, more recently, as a facilitator for workshops on Aboriginal peoples and cultures.

One of the current volunteers who attended yesterday’s event, Rico Manitok, an 18-year old young man from Nunavut, also shared his inspirational thoughts about the value of CWY programs: “Having been away from my community and my country for over 5 months now, I realize how unique my own culture is. I want to go back and work in my own community to promote my culture, learn my language, and help break the stereotypes that people have of my culture”. Rico spent the first three months of his program in Nicaragua and is now volunteering in Saskatoon, with the other 17 members of his Canadian and Nicaraguan teammates, until early March.

Marieke Knight did a CWY program in 1998, where she spent three months in Uruguay and three months in Saskatchewan. During her presentation Marieke mentioned that “her CWY experience gave her confidence in herself and, at the same time, thought her to be humble”. Upon graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies, Marieke worked for both the Human Rights Commission and the municipal government in Belize. Following her return to Canada, she continued to pursue opportunities to work with youth and to promote volunteerism and anti-violence. She currently works for the City of Saskatoon’s Community Development Branch and continues to volunteer with CWY: “My involvement with CWY has never stopped”. Over the years, she provided volunteer work opportunities for CWY youth volunteers who came to Saskatchewan, she assisted with participant selection, and she even became a host family for groups who came to Saskatoon. Marieke currently acts as an alumni expert to the CWY alumni committee of the board, as a recruitment officer and as a community resource person.

Everyone enjoyed networking after these inspiring presentations, and several guests expressed interest in getting involved with CWY. The next CWY Talks will take place in Vancouver on February 11, 2013.

CWY Programs
CWY offers two-week to six-month international volunteer programs which encourage participants to develop leadership, communication and other life skills through active engagement within a host community. The programs, established in partnership with organizations in Canada and abroad, bring together youth from Canada and other countries to contribute to sustainable community development projects, to live together and to learn from each other.

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About Canada World Youth

Canada World Youth is dedicated to enriching the lives of youth aged up to 35 who want to become informed and active global citizens. CWY offers international transformative learning experiences focused on building knowledge, leadership and skills through participation in sustainable community-driven projects. For more than 40 years, 38,000 youth and 12,000 host families have participated in CWY programs, in Canada and abroad.

CWY is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency as a charitable organization (#118973999RR0001).

Source : Mary McGee, Communications Officer, Canada World Youth, 514 931-3526 # 336, mmcgee@cwy-jcm.org.

Interviews and information (photos available):

Mary McGee
1 800 605-3526 #336
514 931-3526 # 336
mmcgee@cwy-jcm.org