Home » TheSWEducator » Remembering Katherine: Vichnaya Pamjat’.

Remembering Katherine: Vichnaya Pamjat’.

Dr. Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov

Vichanya Pamjat’ (Eternal Memory) to the social worker, activist, advocate, trailblazer, humanitarian, caring, sharing and loving human being, executive director of the A Way Home Kamloops: Katherine McParland, BSW, MSW.

Katherine is a human being that once you meet, you will never be able to forget her smile, laughter, drive, vision, and passion for social justice to end youth homelessness. I had the honour to connect on distance with Katherine during the TRU 2016 Convocation Ceremony, where I took the picture shared in this post. School of Social Work and Human Service faculty members sitting near me said Katherine is one of our Hero students.  In the next four years, I realize what the word Hero meant though seeing Katherine’s growth in A Way Home Kamloops, completing MSW degree at the University of Calgary and becoming a field instructor for many TRU Social Work students. In our field liaison-field instructor relationship, I learn more about Katherine’s supervision style, her incredible passion for social justice and love, care and share and special Katherine’s hug when our student completed the practicum requirement. We planned our next field visit in March, just before the pandemic started, and unfortunately, our connection will continue on distance. Katherine passed away in December 2020. The previous sentence is very hard to write as Katherine has been transforming Kamloops daily with a caring Facebook post where everyone who visited A Way Home Kamloops shared their love, generosity to end youth homelessness in the city.

I will miss Katherine a lot. As a social worker and social policy educator, Katherine did everything that social policy and advocacy activists needed to know. Katherine’s motto “rooted in action” is a passion that I want all my students to develop. I shared Katherine’s story in class. Katherine made her passion for social work visible and voiced. One can find Katherine’s Ted Talk Standing in Your Truth to End Youth Homelessness, Social Advertisement A Way Home – The Katherine Mcparland Story – Storyhive Pitch, Report From Marginalized to Magnified: Youth Homelessness Solutions From Those With Lived Expertise, Presentation at Kamloops Rotary Club, Professional Website A Way Home Kamloops, Social Media Facebook and Instagram, Advocacy Campaign Kamloops Youth Homelessness Count, Annual Fundraising and Awareness Raising Community Action Campout to End Youth Homelessness, Policy Concern Article CBC news Count reveals hidden problem of youth homelessness in Kamloops, Photos: A Way Home Kamloops on track to hit $50K after successful youth camp out, TV interview CFJC Midday – Support Kamloops youth!  Omega Student newspaper, multiple job postings for youth employment, Day of Caring at A Way Home Kamloops’ New Office etc. Katherine used all the available tools to change social policy and end youth homelessness. Recently Katherine was featured in the new Social Work Practice in Canada Book by Jackie Stokes as a Social Worker Exemplar in Chapter 8 on Promoting Community Sustainability.

For her work, Katherine has been awarded the Heart of the Grasslands award, which is given each year by the Thompson Nicola branch of the BC Association of Social Workers. The annual award recognizes exemplary contributions to the community. Katehrine is also a recipient of the 2017 YMCA Peace Medal that is awarded to individuals or groups who, without any special resources, status, wealth or position, demonstrate a commitment to the values of P-E-A-C-E through contributions made within their local, national or global community.

Kamloops community is mourning. Katherine legacy will continue to live in everyone who has been touched by Katherine’s presence. The outpouring of love, care and share is now all over social media to remember Katherine. You can read loving words shared by many. They are captured through various media outlets: Castanet, Vernon Matters, Radio NL,  Armchairmayor.ca,  TrailTimes, The Williams Lake Tribune, Kamloops Now, CFJC Today , The Tyee.

The words of love are also shared by the First Nations Leadership Council, BC Housing Board, Ministry of Attorney General and responsible for Housing and many other organizations that supported A Way Home Kamloops movement.

Katherine’s work continues: A virtual annual fundraiser will keep going as scheduled. Kamloops Alliance Church held the vigil on December 7 and 8 to honour Katherine.  McParland’s friends are also organizing a memorial walk, currently scheduled for Dec. 16, beginning at A Way Home on Victoria Street at 11 a.m. and ending at the pier in Riverside Park. A gofundme campaign to remember Katherine is one of the many ways you can contribute to ending youth homelessness.

Eternal Memory Katherine McParland, BSW, MSW. In Ukrainian, I say Vichnaya Pamyat’ Katherine!

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