This craft fair season lakecity residents may have noticed booths set up by Columneetza students of the Be the Change Club raising money for a Me to We Trip in the spring of 2021.
The Me to We Foundation is a social enterprise founded in 2008 that is part of the broader WE Charity, formerly known as Free the Children, that seeks to invest in communities around the world while empowering youth. In addition to enriching the lives of those who receive the developmental charity, it provides the youth of countries like Canada a chance to see more of the world and gain some added perspective of how differently many people live on this planet.
That’s why a delegation of lakecity students is raising just over $5,000 each over the next year to fly to Kenya during the Spring. One of these students is Shaelynn Dyck who was selling baked goods and Tupperware at Cataline’s Christmas Craft Fair.
Dyck said that their teacher, Mike Wilson, leads these types of trips every two years to various parts of the globe to help build facilities or provide services for the local community. In 2021 they will be heading to Kenya, she said, to help finish a school, build a water system and take part in ‘water walks’ where they carry two, four-litre jugs of water for two hours to see how locals walk each day to get water.
“When I was in Grade 5 we were learning about the world and I just kind of had a thing about helping others,” Dyck said. “So when I joined Be the Change, it was all about showing what you’re passionate about and helping people. So then when there was a build I was like I’ll go on that.”
She said that she tried to get into last year’s Ecuador trip but was too late and decided instead to wait for the Kenya trip. All told she said there are about seven to 10 people going on the trip from Williams Lake and around 20 coming from a school they’ve partnered up with in Prince George. They’ll be gone for about 11 days around Spring Break of 2021, Dyck said.
“They say (this trip) is lifechanging so I’m excited to get to go see how other people live and how we can help them with clean water and it’s just going to be cool to interact with the communities down there,” Dyck said. “I hope that (when I get back) I then understand how good we have it here (from) our access to clean water to our schooling.”
Before they can go on this trip, however, Dyck and her fellow students need to raise the required funds and thus far, in addition to Cataline, they’ve sold Rafiki bracelets at Hobby Con and have also entered into a partnership with Top Tier Lawn Maintenance to mow lawns for them from time to time. So far she said many of them have raised about one-fifth of the money they need. Each of them also has had a fundraising page set up by their parents where community members can donate if they wish to support the trip.
Every $50 they raise, Dyck said, will help put a Kenyan student through school from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Wilson said the Be the Change Club focuses on giving back to their school, the lakecity community and the world in general through a variety of initiatives and projects. He said that trips like these are “pretty eye-opening experiences” even for adults, especially when you learn the value of clean drinking water.
For the Kenya trip he said that he and the students will be visiting the Maasai Mara region where in addition to helping the locals, students will have a chance to go on safaris to see giraffes and other African wildlife. They’ll also get the chance to meet some of the women who make the Rafiki bracelets they sell in the lakecity.
“It’s going to be a pretty powerful learning opportunity,” Wilson observed.
Anyone interested in donating to this trip or joining it, before December of 2020, can do so by e-mailing Wilson at email@example.com for more information.