Before the pandemic, they used to travel to Mexico and other countries to help build homes.
This year, a group of grades 10-12 students at Immaculata Regional High School are learning to help those in their own community.
“The silver lining in COVID for us is that Mamas for Mamas is this great organization that does wonderful things right here in our own city. It turns out we don’t have to get on a plane to go serve [those in] poverty,” explains teacher and program coordinator Rhonda Sali.
“We’re super happy to be working with them and all the good things they do."
Students were busy last week building chicken coops, cleaning up the garden, doing some planting, moving mulch, cleaning out sheds and painting stakes to go in the vegetable garden.
This was the first year being part of the mission team for Nigel McFee and Chance Dreyer, who are both in Grade 10.
“We’ve been doing it over the week, working at the farm and warehouses and different places and it’s been really fun. I’ve been really enjoying it,” said Chance.
Grade 12 student Kiera Freire has travelled to Mexico on previous missions. Working with Mamas for Mamas is giving her a new perspective on her own city.
“In the past, I would see poverty outside of Kelowna, whereas in Kelowna I am experiencing my community and what it needs and how I’m able to help," Freire said.
Sali calls it an amazing immersion experience.
“This is awesome for me and for them. That we get to get out of the classroom and learn about some real-life things," she said.
“You can have your academics and your sports, and of course, that’s ultra important. But what are you going to do with that when you get into adulthood? How are you going to be a well-rounded individual and how are you going to give back to your society?”
Each year, Immaculata students are required to perform a minimum of 30 hours of general community service.
Freire said going out and working in the community helped her realize just how much poverty there is in Kelowna.