Every other year, Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School in Orillia, ON, Canda sends a group of senior high school students to a country in need of help. This year, the students went to Ecuador to help build a cafeteria for a school in the rural community of Los Rios in the Amazon Basin. They were working with We Charity under their Adopt a Village model. The students’ leader, Brett Carron, had led trips like this before and was very excited to lead an amazing group of students this year.
One our Cat Footwear retailers, Art’s Clothing and Shoes, took notice of the trip and contacted the Cat Footwear headquarters about donating 32 pairs of Cat boots to the students and teachers that would be embarking on the trip. Since Carron had done similar trips to the area before, he recognized the double value in this donation. At the end of the trip, the students passed on the $6,000 worth of boots to the local construction workers to keep.
The students were grateful for the boots, and the support of the local community on their trip. After preparing and fundraising for the past year, they expressed their thanks and that the boot donation was something they could leave behind to help the locals, along with the new classroom they would be building.
A student on the trip, Madeline MacNeal, said, “One thing that really stuck out to me was even though these people had so little, they were so full of happiness. I learned that you do not need very much to be happy. They had each other and that was enough. This was such a humbling experience and made me so much more grateful for everything and everyone I have.”
Student Joseph Healy was struck by the locals open hearts and kindness, saying, ” It was overwhelming how they opened up their homes to us, and shared what little they had.”
We talked to another student, Eden McFadden after the trip, and he let us know his time there was definitely rewarding.
“I was a little nervous going to Ecuador as I had never been exposed to poverty like this before, but after arriving I was overwhelmed with not only how kind the people were, but how happy and supportive they were of all the students coming to work in their community”, he said.
This trip was a great way for students to get a global perspective on issues of poverty and it helped transform them into young leaders. McFadden also added, “This trip was something that cannot be shared as it needs to be experienced in order to understand the impact it can have on an individual. I am so extremely blessed to be able to say that I participated in a Service Learning trip and hope to inspire others to do the same.”
McFadden, along with the 27 other students that joined her on the trip, gained an experience and view on the world that will last a lifetime.