The dream is finally becoming a reality for the students and teachers of Wemindji Rocks Nicaragua. After months of planning, hard work and tireless fundraising, the team of 15 ambitious youth from Wemindji have reached their goal.
The students and five chaperones will leave Wemindji July 6, starting their 26-hour journey to Nicaragua. Working in collaboration with social-change organizations Education First and Me to We, the students will be volunteering in the western town of El Trapiche where they will take part in the building of either a school or youth centre for a community in need.
Secondary 3 student Cheryl Danyluk said she hopes to inspire others to do more volunteer work.
“You can’t be shy, you have to be a leader,” Danyluk said. “You have to take it upon yourself to make changes, to become more aware.”
Trip organizer and teacher Carmen Plank says the group is pumped up over having met their $90,000 financial goal. Plank stressed that while this idea was rooted in education, it is not a school trip as such. The students had to take initiative and go into the community outside of school hours to raise awareness and reach their goals.
Frank Atsynia, Deputy Chief of the Cree Nation of Wemindji and a wholehearted supporter since the beginning, lauded the effort and commitment the students put forth.
“My hope is that these students will continue on in their lives and accomplish even greater things. They should believe that whatever they set their minds to, they can accomplish,” said Atsynia.
The team has also been the beneficiaries of large and generous donations from a number of entities. Without these donations there would be no trip, so the Nicaragua team wishes to make their thanks known to the following corporations and organizations:
• Wemindji Fundraising Committee
• Cree National Government
• Tawich Development Corporation
• Tawich RTN
• Wemindji Youth Council
• Wemindji Band Council
• Wemindji Economic Development
• Cree Nation Youth Department
• Cree Nation Rental Housing
• KEPA Transport
• VCC Massenor
• Kookums and Friends
• Wemindji Wellness Centre
• Wemindji Awesome 80’s Club
• Quality Inn, Montreal
• Air Creebec
• All private donors and community contributions to raffle, penny social, bake sale, spaghetti dinners, comedy night, concert and alumni hockey game events.