A dream turned into a reality for LCVI teacher Kristy Gordon when she found out she had been chosen to participate in a trip to Ecuador as a part of Me to We’s Professional Learning Tour scheduled for the summer of 2017.

Kristy Gordon has been teaching a variety of English and Media courses at LCVI since 1993 and is the school’s Me to We representative. Although she has never travelled to Ecuador, she is no stranger to South America. For two years, she taught English to children in Medellin, Colombia and fell in love with international travel. While in the third-world country, it was a wake-up call for her as she realized that their way of living was much different than hers.

“For the first time, I saw true poverty,” she recalls. “However, international travel is a great way to expand your world views. You meet new people, eat new foods, see new sights, and you return enriched.”

Gordon learned one of life’s most important lessons when she was a high school student at Fenelon Falls SS, where her teachers encouraged her to support the developing world. She claims she has always been service-oriented and believes that service enhances your own life. She has had a heart for volunteerism ever since.

“Service work helps us see that everyone can help and everyone can receive help,” says Gordon. “It bonds communities together and humbles people.” Her advice to students is to take the opportunity to help a senior citizen, or a young child. She believes a tiny act can make a huge difference in someone else’s life.

Gordon has led LCVI’s Me to We club since 2012 and she believes that it’s an essential group for both the school and the community. Me to We is an amazing opportunity to make a difference and encourages others to make an impact in their own neighbourhood.

At We Day 2016, Gordon applied for a chance to win a spot on the educator trip because she knew what an amazing opportunity it would be. Yet, she never thought she would actually be chosen. Several weeks later, she received an email from Me to We, informing her that she was one of the few educators selected for the trip. Initially, she was shocked and had to read the email twice. The LCVI teacher, in the middle of her yearbook class, realized the magnitude of what she had won and began to jump around – making so much noise that the class next door thought her class was banging on the walls. Gordon is ecstatic that she has the opportunity to return to the service field and is honoured that she was one of the 15 teachers selected across North America to participate in the trip.

Gordon believes that the experience will enhance her teaching practice, as well as other areas of her life. The LCVI teacher is excited to meet new people who also have a heart for helping others, and believes that seeing how other children are educated around the world will change her own classroom instruction. Rather than a souvenir, she hopes to bring back enthusiasm and a new understanding of international needs.

Me to We runs excursions through We Charity, an organization of 20 years. Trips are made possible by volunteers of all ages that are willing to make a difference in the world. Destinations for service trips, dependent upon age category, include Ecuador, Kenya, Amazon, India, Rural China, Dominican Republic, Arizona, Nicaragua, and Tanzania. There are different categories such as youth, university, adult and family, school and group, and corporate trips, to ensure you will be travelling with like-minded individuals. We Charity also conducts featured trips that focus on urgent issues, such as women’s empowerment.

To find out more about Me to We and We Charity, please visit www.we.org.

Article by Koral Lambert.