This Saturday I will be participating in St. Aiden's Variety Show. This event is a fundraiser to help support their youth group's service/learning trip to Nicaragua.
I had the opportunity to ask program facilitator Lucy Reid, some questions to learn more about this project:
Would you mind telling me a little bit more about the youth group? How long has it been in existence?
At St Aidan's our youth don't have regular meetings, but we do periodic special activities with them, and the big one is the service/learning trip to Nicaragua. In 2013 we did this for the first time (although I'd led other groups), so our 2015 trip will be our second venture.
What is the mission/vision of the trip?
The goal is to help our youth learn about another culture and contribute in some way by serving the needs outlined by the host community. It isn't a mission in the traditional sense, because we're going to learn and serve, and we'll be receiving as much as we give.
How many youth will be a part of the project this year?
8 young people will be going aged 13 to 24. They will be accompanied by four adults.
Why was Nicaragua chosen for this project?
We're going to Nicaragua because of the organization that works there, Companeros. It's based in Managua, though its founder is a Canadian. Its philosophy of fair trade service and learning based on respectful collaboration with local communities is a great model for teaching youth about cross-cultural partnerships and volunteer service.
What activities will the youth be a part of while there?
After a couple of days of orientation we'll spend 5 days living on a coffee farm, working with the local people to improve their school building and community space. Poverty forces families to put their children to work picking coffee beans in the harvest season, but with decent school facilities they can at least continue their education and break the cycle of poverty.
How can someone get involved?
The best way for people to get involved at this stage is by supporting our fundraising efforts! We depend on a wide circle of support from those who help us with our fundraising, so that no potential youth participant is excluding for financial reasons.
The Companeros website is at companeros.ca, and gives lots of details about the organization and the sorts of projects it facilitates.
Thank you Lucy for helping us to understand more about this endeavor.