Virtual memorial being held to honour A Way Home Kamloops founder Katherine McParland | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Virtual memorial being held to honour A Way Home Kamloops founder Katherine McParland

An online memorial will be held Dec. 16 for Katherine McParland, who passed away unexpectedly last week.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Katherine McParland
December 11, 2020 - 1:46 PM

Anyone who knew Katherine McParland, the founder of A Way Home Kamloops, will have an opportunity to share their memories next week at an online memorial.

The Thompson Nicola Branch of the B.C. Association of Social Workers will host a virtual memorial for Katherine McParland. Not long before her death on Dec. 4, McParland was honoured by the association with the Heart of the Grasslands Award.

"It was pretty much unanimous support for Katherine," association president Michael Crawford said.

READ MORE: Kamloops youth homelessness prevention advocate Katherine McParland passes away

It is unusual to give someone this award so early in their career, but she'd earned it, he said.

"She was awarded for her community service and contributions to the profession for what she had done, and for the potential that we saw in her," Crawford said.

McParland inspired many with her remarkable story, an example of overcoming disadvantage early in life. After aging out of foster care at 19, she ended up living on the streets for some time, Crawford said. With the help of a few key people in her life, she was able to return to school to earn her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Social Work.

"Her Masters thesis was really the report that she co-authored with the Representative of Children and Youth in B.C. Jennifer Charlesworth," he said.

It was a remarkable report that advocated for youth experiencing homelessness, he said, based on McParland's own philosophy and passion. 

"That was Katherine’s influence on others and her influence on government: hearing the voices of young people and not just thinking that we know what young people need," Crawford said. "Work alongside young people to ensure that no young person has to be out on the street because there isn’t a bed for them somewhere. That was Katherine’s passion, and that’s why we’re recognizing her next Wednesday."

Speakers who knew McParland through her work have been invited to share their stories. There will be an open mic portion of the memorial where others can share their experiences too.

"It’ll be a collection of people who cared very deeply about Katherine and now are very sorrowful, very saddened by her passing," he said. 

Resources are available for those dealing with grief. You can call the Interior Health Crisis Line at 1-888-353-2273, or find more resources here.

The memorial will take place at 6 p.m. Dec. 16. To register click the Zoom link here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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