By Ancelene MacKinnon/Journal Pioneer
Students across P.E.I. will have the opportunity to capture a new perspective on life with a Farmers Helping Farmers trip to Kenya.
© Carolyn Francis
Farmers Helping Farmers volunteer and student teacher at UPEI, Meagan Harris, teaches at a school outside of Meru, Kenya, this year.
In July 2015, 17 students and three adult chaperones will travel to Meru, Kenya, to do volunteer work and be involved in other experiences. Students between the ages of 16 and 22 are eligible to apply for the program.
Farmers Helping Farmers is an Island-based organization, and the educational journey will be in honour of its 35th anniversary.
Tammy Craig is a teacher at Three Oaks High School and one of the chaperones who will be taking part in the 2015 trip.
Craig said it is for students who are interested in making a difference.
"It's an educational trip where you're volunteering and developing global awareness," she said.
Students will be working at a high school, with the Muchui women's group, and at an orphanage. In addition, they will be going to an elephant orphanage outside of Nairobi and will get to go on safari.
Craig and another chaperone for the upcoming trip, Cara DeCoste, have taken students to Ecuador twice to volunteer with the Free the Children organization.
The experience changed the students' lives for the better, she said.
"It really raises their awareness of what people's lives are like outside of P.E.I. and Canada."
Craig said they talked a lot about gratitude and to be thankful for what they have.
"We found they really grew as individuals. That's why we wanted to do it again."
DeCoste is the guidance counselor at Kinkora Regional High School, and said she is looking forward to chaperoning for the third time.
It's a different culture and way of living, but the students will notice similarities between themselves and the people they are helping, said DeCoste.
"Students get awakened to life outside of their normal."
She said she enjoys taking them on these trips because they get to experience something entirely new.
"They gain a better perspective. You can have that time to meet them on a personal level."
DeCoste thinks the trips are beneficial because life can be the classroom.
"It's not something you're just reading in a book. You get to experience it firsthand and it means more."
Amanda Rundle volunteered in Ecuador in 2011 when she was at TOSH.
Rundle said she always had an interest in travelling, but it was more about the helping aspect.
She said it's valuable to contribute to local projects, but it also feels good to make a positive difference outside of your regular surroundings.
"When you get a chance to do it on a big scale, it's really important."
An information session will be taking place at Kinkora Regional High School on May 22 at 6:30 p.m. for further details.
DeCoste can be contacted at 902-439-6788 for questions, and Craig at 902-439-9187.