‘An eye-opener’: Central Saanich secondary students will be making a difference in Costa Rica

'An eye-opener': Central Saanich secondary students will be making a difference in Costa Rica

A group of Stelly’s Secondary School grade 12 students in Central Saanich are getting ready to make a big difference.

“The Global Gala is the biggest fundraiser that we do at Stelly’s,” grade 12 student Amren Kareer says. “It’s all for a giant humanitarian project.”

It’s part of the school’s global perspectives class, which goes to a developing country each spring break to help people.

“This year, we’re going to Costa Rica, and we’re going to be working alongside farmers doing an agricultural project, just helping them on their farm and volunteering,” explains grade 12 student Megan Farkas.

For more than two decades, Stelly’s students have volunteered in countries all over the world, including Tanzania, India, Fiji and Nepal, where they helped build a women’s shelter.

“We’ve done light construction, we’ve had some painting projects, we’ve taught English,” global perspectives teacher Chris McDonald says.

“They really vary from year to year. We try and make sure there’s a project that the community actually wants, so what the community wants dictates what we’re going to help with.”

Global Perspectives is a two-year program that starts in grade 11 with students learning about local issues and volunteering in the community.

“Volunteering at Our Place, it really just puts a different perspective on how people live in our community,” says grade 12 student Leah Densmore.

“We live in like a very wealthy area and like a very wealthy country, and we’re so privileged that we have resources.”

“It definitely is like an eye-opener, you know, when you see all the problems that are happening, you know, you want to do something about it,” Amren adds.

In grade 12, the program takes a global focus — not just looking at problems, but how to help.

“I’ve always been really passionate about helping people, and sometimes, a lot of classes we do here, it’s hard to find ways to do that,” Megan says. “And it just opened up a lot of opportunities to volunteer and help in the community and on a global scale.”

“There’s like a special feeling that you get from volunteering where you know like you made a difference, and you really might have made somebody’s day. It’s just a really good feeling,” Leah adds.

The Global Gala is Nov. 23, and students are hoping to raise at least $12,000. Tickets are $15 and available at the door.

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