City high school planning voluntours to build schools in African country
© Geraldine Brophy
Alysha Pelley will joining 24 other current and former students, teachers and parents on an EF Voluntour to Kenya to build a school in the African country in July 2014. Shawn Bradbury, a social studies teacher at the high school, is one of the organizers of the trip.
CORNER BROOK — Alysha Pelley was all set to spend her Easter 2014 vacation touring Europe, until she heard that a group at Corner Brook Regional High was planning a trip to Kenya.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Kenya, or a place like Kenya, but I never thought it was really possible,” said Pelley, 15, who will be entering Level 2 at the school next month.
With the distance and cost, she said it was something she didn’t think her whole family would be able to do.
So, instead she signed on for the Europe trip, but when her sister Jessica, 16, who will be going to Level 3 told her there was also a Kenya trip, Pelley went right to her mom, Sharon Pelley.
She recalls saying to her mother "mom can I switch, can I try to switch."
With mom’s OK, Pelley found out it was really quite easy to make the switch.
“This is a dream trip,” said her mother, who was not surprised by her daughter’s request.
And it’s a dream that will be shared with the rest of the family. Mom, dad Darren and Jessica have also signed up for the trip.
But the Corner Brook to Kenya trip, scheduled for July 2014, won’t be your ordinary family vacation.
The Pelleys will be joining 24 other current and former students, teachers and parents on an EF Voluntour to build a school in the African country.
Pelley admits she’s a little nervous about the work that lies ahead.
“It’s going to be really different.”
But she feels it’s a trip she has to make.
“I will never get this option, so I definitely have to do it.
“Just helping out people is something I’ve always wanted to do. And finding out that we can build schools to help people and other things to help people is something I’ve dreamed of doing,” she said.
“A lot of the time we take education for granted, like people that have it, and then you go over (to other) places and they would do anything to have a school. And to help out it will surely make a difference for their lives.”
Shawn Bradbury, a social studies teacher at the high school, is one of the organizers of the trip.
He’s taken students on trips in the past, but mostly ones with a more educational or conference focus.
“It was something that I hadn’t anticipated doing, I’ll tell you the truth,” said Bradbury while sitting in a classroom at the school on Monday. “Even though I was always impressed with the level of interest the students had for humanitarian and social justice projects.”
Bradbury said through conferences, like the national We Day one that students at the school have attended for the last five years, students have been introduced to the idea of going to places like Kenya or Ecuador to participate in international development projects.
A Kenya trip is something that had been discussed in the past, but he said this past year the interest really grew.
“So I’ve been sort of feeding off the energy,” he said. “It’s something that’s taken on a life of it’s own.”
In fact, Bradbury said the response from people interested in taking part has been so phenomenal the school is actually planning two trips, the July 2014 one the Pelleys will be part of and another in July 2015. Right now 25 people have signed on for the 2015 trip, but Bradbury expects that number to grow to about 60 once the new influx of Grade 9 students hit the school and learn of the opportunity.
Bradbury said planning for the trip is still in the early stages.
“Later down the road we’ll be assigned a community and we’ll find out the details of the school.”
Besides the build, the students will take part in tree plantings, a well project, visits with local artisans and entrepreneurs and participate in a water walk.
The trip will cost each of the participants about $5,000, and that includes travel, accommodations, meals and the materials needed for the build. Bradbury said the cost will be covered either by the individuals paying for it themselves, through fundraising or a combination of both.
He said the group is just about to start some major fundraising projects.
“We’ve got a lot of chocolate on the way,” he said drawing a laugh from Pelley and her mom.”
Weblink: Follow the group on Twitter at @CBtoKenya