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Statement from Executive Director Sarah Stewart on the passing of Katherine McParland

December 7, 2020

It was heartbreaking to hear about Katherine McParland’s passing over the weekend. I was blessed to be in a role as co-chair with Katherine for the BC Coalition to End Youth Homelessness (BCEYH) for the past few months. On behalf of the Coalition members and the staff and young folks connected to Aunt Leah’s, we send our condolences to A Way Home Kamloops, the community of Kamloops and to Katherine’s closest circle.

Katherine was a strong powerful advocate for youth. Her vision and passion brought organizations and individuals with lived experience together to create the BC Coalition to End Youth Homelessness. I was often racing to keep up as she worked tirelessly and with huge compassion. Katherine’s ability to put the young people’s voice and perspective at the forefront of our work was inspirational. She continually made sure that youth’s voice was heard by government and policy makers. Her passing will leave a huge gap for the community of youth with lived experience. She was a mentor and a leader for so many.

Katherine would want us to continue on with her work, and part of that includes connecting and supporting each other with our grief. For the young people connected and comfortable with Aunt Leah’s Place staff, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for support, for grief counselling support please reach out to our partnering agency Tom or Kathryn at Dan’s or call 604-999-9136.

Katherine impact on our work was far reaching and so will her passing. Whether you knew her deeply or from afar, and are feeling loss, please don’t hesitate to call.

I will miss Katherine’s passion for social justice, her desire and passion around continued learning, and her deep kindness and appreciation. Every call with Katherine ended with her saying “I appreciate you”. Katherine- I appreciate you and will continue our work to end youth homelessness.


Sarah Stewart

Executive Director