Lake2Lake riders for Rwanda include Dave Dickson (left)

Lake2Lake riders for Rwanda include Dave Dickson (left)

Lakecity team rides for Rwanda

A Williams Lake cycling team of Mark and Tracey Thiessen, Tamara Smith, Elmer Thiessen, Dave Dickson and Ken Brown will ride 220 kilometres Oct. 1 and 2 to raise funds for Rwanda.

A Williams Lake cycling team of Mark and Tracey Thiessen, Tamara Smith, Elmer Thiessen, Dave Dickson and Ken Brown will ride 220 kilometres Oct. 1 and 2 to raise funds for Rwanda.

Their Lake2Lake ride will raise funds for the Wellspring Foundation education program in Rwanda.

In February, teacher Mark and nurse Tracey returned to Williams Lake from Rwanda, where Mark had been the program director for the Wellspring Foundation for Education, and Tracey volunteered on local health care projects.

Mark and Tracey learned firsthand the work that Wellspring is doing to transform Rwandan schools with the School Development Program that currently works in 41 public schools and impacts over 50,000 children.

Wellspring has worked with twelve Rwandan teacher trainers over the last three years, and these trainers now go out to work with the teachers in the schools.  Most recently, the Rwandan government has invited Wellspring’s teacher trainers to train all the school inspectors throughout the country. Mark says the Lake2Lake Ride for Rwanda was launched in memory of Ben Farrant, best friend of Wellspring’s executive director, Richard Taylor, who was killed in 2006 while training for a ride to  raise funds for Wellspring. The team’s Lake2Lake ride will begin on the shores of Kalamalka Lake near Vernon, stop for a night on the shores of Shuswap Lake 20 kilometres outside of Salmon Arm, and then circle back to Kalamalka via Silver Creek and the O’Keefe Ranch. Mark and Tracey are pleased that other Williams Lake friends and family have joined them.

“Dave Dickson is fresh off his 800-kilometre Cops for Cancer ride in September and Ken Brown just rode in the Tour de Cariboo raising money for Big Brothers and Big Sisters,” says Tracey. “We are so glad that they are willing to ride in support of another worthy cause.”

Mark’s dad, Dr. Elmer Thiessen, and sister, Tamara Smith, were the first to sign up to join the Williams Lake team. “None of the four of us are very experienced cyclists, but the hours of training are nothing compared to the conditions that Wellspring’s Rwandan teacher trainers deal with every day on the job in their home nation,” Mark says.

“It’s also really fun to train with other members of a team.”

It has been 17 years since the 1994 genocide decimated the entire country of Rwanda including its education system, political stability and health care. The genocide has been compared to three 9/11s every day for 100 days. Since 2004, The Wellspring Foundation for Education has been working with Rwandans to empower a new generation of leaders through education that transforms lives.

“Many children learn in overcrowded classrooms with 60 to 100 students,” Mark says. “Teachers lack certification, ongoing training, resources, and adequate pay. Morale is low and absenteeism is rampant. It’s an overwhelming situation, but there is hope.”

 

To learn more about the initiatives visit www.thewellspringfoundation.com. To sponsor one of the Williams Lake riders, visit www.lake2lake.org to find out more. Supporters are also invited to attend a fundraising barbecue on Sunday, Sept. 25 12:30 p.m. at the Thiessen’s home at 631 Gibbon St. to enjoy a hot dog or hamburger and hear more about Wellspring’s work or the ride itself, Mark says.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

Williams Lake RCMP are asking the public for assistance locating Marion Louise Billy. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake RCMP seek woman wanted for theft, weapon possession

RCMP released the information Thursday, May 6

Audrey McKinnon was officially named the NDP nominee for the federal riding of Cariboo-Prince George. (Twitter)
Audrey McKinnon confirmed as Cariboo Prince-George federal NDP nominee

The nomination comes during speculation the federal government

Gibraltar Mine general manager and community sports coach Ben Pierce moved to Williams Lake in 2008 for a career, and has fallen in love with the area while raising his family in the Cariboo. (Photo submitted)
OUR HOMETOWN: Mine manager on solid ground

Juggling academics, sports and a family was a challenge, but Pierce said he and Liselle made it work

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Most Read