Canada World Youth (CWY) is back on the Sunshine Coast looking for host families and volunteer work placements for 18 South African and Canadian participants.
Project supervisor and Albertan Kelly Hazlett has been on the Coast the past two weeks. She said she was given a good list of local contacts from the previous five years that the program ran here, but is still trying to drum up placements and housing.
"Part of the program, whether it's a family of seven or a same sex couple, is to integrate them into a Sunshine Coast family," she said. "We're really inclusive of all family groups."
Host families have one Canadian and one South African volunteer living with them, receive a stipend of $168 per week and are not liable for the youth who live with them. Many participants do not have much money, so families are asked to be sensitive and creative about what activities they include the volunteers in on.
The participants, ages 18 to 23, will billet with families from Sept. 12 through Nov. 30. They also spend three months in South Africa to complete the program.
Hazlett said she is looking for full-time, volunteer work placements for pairs of youth Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to promote health and gender issues in the community.
Thursdays and Fridays are for the 18 youth, Hazlett and her male South African counterpart to volunteer en masse or go on educational field trips that the youth design.
"I give them the foundation and they take it and run with it," Hazlett said. "If anyone has any good ideas about community events that we can get involved in that would be great."
CWY offers international, educational programs for youth aged 15 to 25. They work in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. CWY advocates learning by doing, a model in which volunteers learn by getting involved in communities in Canada and in another country. Since 1971, close to 31,000 people from Canada and around the world have participated in CWY programs in 67 countries.
Hazlett is also looking for a donation or lending of bicycles for the volunteers to use for the three months they are here. Contact Hazlett at 604-740-2583 for more details on how to get involved in this year's exchange.