Heading way south for summer – Hay River student to help build schools in Ecuador

Kieran Patterson will be heading to South America to take part in a youth volunteer mission in Ecuador. He will be fund-raising until his departure.

It’s an experience common to many Northern students and teachers – heading south during the summer.

Diamond Jenness Secondary School student Kieran Patterson may set this year’s record for farthest travelled directly south. The 15-year-old will be travelling to Ecuador in July and August to help build schools and provide education to children in rural areas of the equatorial country.

As other students are starting to relax as summer nears, Patterson will be gearing up to raise the funds needed for his trip – approximately $4,000. He’s currently selling fair-trade items and will be holding a garage sale on May 26. That is all part of the preparation for the youth, who has never ventured so far south.

“I’ve been to Mexico before and had the chance to go there to volunteer,” he said. “I decided I wanted to go to Ecuador because there will be more opportunity for me to help.”

The adventure takes place from July 21 to Aug. 8.

Aside from the travel and interest in learning from a new culture, Patterson is excited to volunteer and push himself out of his comfort zone.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” he said. “I’ve volunteered for little things here and there, but never for anything like this. I think it’s important to do this kind of thing because of how lucky we are to live in Canada. You don’t have to make money to feel like you’ve done something good.”

Patterson will be travelling with the Me-to-We organization, which is partnered with Free the Children charity in Toronto.