-What do you want to be when you grow up?
-When I grow up, I want to be a famous actress!
Constantly immersed in theatre as a kid and a teen, my dreams were big. I wanted to be a successful actress in film and on stage. Upon completing grade 12, I auditioned for many universities, and got accepted to some. However, the one school I had my heart set on wait-listed me. At the same time, I was offered a full scholarship to study at a university in my hometown. I decided to leave my decision in the hands of destiny. If I suddenly got a call letting me know I had been accepted to my chosen theatre school, I would go. If not, I would accept the scholarship. Continue reading →
Prior to my 14 months of full-time travels, as a teacher I was only able to travel on school holidays. Each summer I would travel to a new destination, often backpacking my way around the country. Each trip that I took, I tried to find an opportunity to volunteer while in that country. I felt it was the best way to get a feel of that place, by getting in with the locals. In Texas I volunteered at a soup kitchen, in Nicaragua I planted community gardens, in Honduras I built wells, in the Dominican Republic I volunteered at an orphanage, in Guyana I taught teachers, but my volunteer experience in Mexico was by far the most impactful–I volunteered at a dump.
In 2010, I traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and volunteered at the Children Center of Hope Orphanage and the School of Champions through Feed the Children Vallarta (formerly known as Children of the Dump). Most of my time was spent at the School of Champions volunteering at the summer camp. I had an amazing time teaching English and facilitating games and crafts to the many innocent, sweet, and joyful children who live in and around the dump. Approximately 200 families lived at the dump in the past and, through education and support from Feed the Children Vallarta, fewer and fewer families are depending on the dump for their livelihood. Continue reading →
It was a somber rainy day when I visited Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany. The willow trees on the property seemed to weep with me as I walked amongst the fenced-in grounds with the grey clouds hanging heavy above my head, just like my heart. Walking alone through the camp made me feel like I was the only soul in Dachau hearing the cries of the past being muffled by the wind. The massive camp holds secrets and history of the past. Truth, reality, redemption, honour, pride, and memory. Continue reading →
Month 4 Update: 4 Months In and Never Been Happier
My top 2013 bucket list item was graduating with my MEd! I can now say that I have received my MEd in Curriculum & Instruction/Administration, while also attaining my principal’s certificate and teaching certificate upgrade! I finished my Master’s in June 2013, but did not walk across the stage to receive my MEd until October 24th, 2013. It feels so good to have accomplished one of my greatest goals and to have done it so quickly. I started my Master’s in April of 2012 and finished only 14 months later. I completed the majority of my Master’s while also teaching middle school English full time. I don’t know how I did it. I just did it. I wanted it done and I made it happen. It feels good to see my MEd certificate framed in my house and to know I have an MEd. Continue reading →
I admire Erin Gruwell for everything she has accomplished. Most people have heard of her from the Hollywood film Freedom Writers. Erin’s story fascinated me from the moment I heard about the Freedom Writers. Erin helped 150 students, who were not destined to graduate, receive their high school diploma. Many went off to university. She engaged, enlightened, and empowered her students who were nominally deemed as “unteachable”, “rejects”, or “too stupid” to believe in themselves and their ability to succeed. Erin’s students followed in the footsteps of the ‘Freedom Riders’ and are known as the Freedom Writers after they published the book The Freedom Writers Diary in 1999. They were writing for change and educating the world through their stories of how a group of “throw-outs” and rival gangs can come together, co-exists in harmony, and teach each other regardless of colour, race, religion, or socioeconomic status. Continue reading →