Several local residents are beginning to prepare for the experience of a lifetime to make a difference in another country.

Students from Kindersley Composite School (KCS) will be travelling to the Dominican Republic during February break to help build a school. This will be the third time in as many years students will fly to the eastern half of the island of Hispaniola to do volunteer work in a selected community.

14 students and 5 adults will be flying to the Caribbean nation bright and early on February 18th. The adults consist of Westberry Elementary School Vice-Principal Kathy Friesen, her husband Bob Friesen, and three parents.  Initially, all 14 students attended KCS at the start of the 2016-2017 school year. One of the students moved to Warman during the school year, but will still be participating in the experience.

The teenagers, ranging from grades 9 to 12, have already collected funds and began bonding from events to make this adventure possible. “The kids have just started to build a sense of a group just by doing fundraisers and learning to trust each other,” said Kathy Friesen, who is one of the main organizers for the trips the last couple years. “Once they are there, they will form an even tighter group because they will have a concentrated goal in mind.”

The group will be visiting a community on the northern side of the country named El Batey de la Union, a 30-minute drive from the city they will be staying in named Sosúa. They will arrive on February 18th, check-in to the accomodations, and prepare for their activities and itinerary for the next nine days. The trip is in partnership with for-profit social enterprise Me to We, a company which offers volunteer adventures such as this Dominican Republic trip for the students.

While the volunteers will immerse themselves into a completely different environment, culture, and climate - they will have the chance to learn about them too. Besides assisting in building the school, the teenagers will have the opportunity to learn valuable skills such as teamwork, cooking, and even lessons on basic Spanish. Friesen is positive the journey will be an experience the students will not soon forget.

"I think the kids will come back feeling very priviledged and empowered from that priviledge to go out and make a difference," added Friesen. "I'm excited to share [the trip] with the kids and share their joy."