SAIT grad challenges fellow alumni to give back
Often SAIT alumni who establish student awards were themselves past recipients who decide to pay it forward. Not Jason Klatt (EMT '02). His decision to contribute to the success of future students is based partially on the fact that he didn't receive an award.
"I wasn't a top academic and I wasn't in dire need of financial assistance. I realize now I could have used some help back then but I didn't apply." He adds, "In hindsight I probably should have."
A message for graduates
Klatt's experience at SAIT plus his encounters with many young paramedics who are also SAIT alumni inspired him to establish a student award, and he has a message for all SAIT graduates.
"I want to encourage them to do this too. It's a great way to contribute back to their community."
Klatt says he loved his time at SAIT and the skills he learned in the Emergency Medical Technology, Paramedic program served him well. "SAIT has been a great vehicle to launch an excellent career where I feel personal satisfaction and growth," he says.
Klatt rose up through the ranks and is currently the Central Alberta Zone Manager of Quality and Patient Safety for Alberta Health Services.
Honouring a loved one
As Klatt advanced, he met young paramedics and realized many of them were probably in the same boat as he was when they were students. They could have benefited from financial support and a pat on the back. On top of that, it was always in Klatt's heart to honour the memory of his father who died suddenly when Klatt was 18 years old.
On the 20th anniversary of his father's passing he made the big decision to establish a memorial student award.
"I contacted SAIT Alumni and Development explaining I wanted to start up an award and asked, 'What do I do?' and they walked me through the process.
Klatt was going to fund the award with an annual donation but, when he told friends and family about his plans, something happened that he didn't expect. They offered to contribute. Klatt says he was surprised and overwhelmed by all the people who donated. In fact, the Richard Klatt Memorial award is endowed, which means the award comes out of the interest and the principal remains untouched.
He adds, "Scholarships are a great way to honour loved ones. It allows you to support the characteristics and values your loved one may have displayed. It perpetuates their spirit and their character. Students who receive our award experience the joy of being chosen and know that someone believes in what they're doing and supports their accomplishments. And of course they put the money to use. School is expensive these days."