Kristen Gunter, Brianne Grimard and Peyton Rindal are a few of the many Prince Albert students attending We Day next week in Saskatoon. Herald photo by Eric Bell.
Prince Albert high school students Peyton Rindal, Kristen Gunter and Brianne Grimard are just a few of the many Prince Albert students who have earned tickets to “We Day” next week in Saskatoon.
The event is held in cities across Canada and is put on by Free the Children. The event is a reward to celebrate the volunteer efforts of youth across the province.
We Day features guest speakers and performers including Magic Johnson, Shawn Desman, and Free The Children co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger. The only way to gain admission to the event is by participating in volunteer work throughout the year.
“To get to We Day you have to volunteer at a local event and a worldwide event, so you have to earn your ticket,” Peyton Rindal explained.
Rindal, Gunter and Grimard all earned their tickets by travelling to Ecuador this past April as part of Free the Children’s “Me to We” youth volunteer program.
Rindal’s Father, Bryan, travelled with the girls as their mentor.
“We were in the jungle in the Amazon basin,” Bryan said. “None of us had been to a jungle before, so the first step was getting used to everything. It was interesting, to say the least.”
Over eight days, the girls helped renovate a school in a small village and taught English to Ecuadorian students.
Grimard said that it was an unforgettable experience.
“There’s so many things we had to overcome, and we had to do it as a group which was very supportive, said Grimard, noting that before the Equator trip she had never even been on a plane. “I was sad to leave. You just felt like part of a family. The community welcomed us like we had been there our whole lives.”
All the girls agreed that the experience made them realize the things people in developed countries like Canada take for granted.
“The playground at the school there was just a cement pad with a tin roof over it,” Bryan said. “And that’s what they played soccer on. Here, were getting a fancy new gym at Carlton, and there they are playing on a cement pad.”
Bryan Rindal says that he and the girls hope to one day return to Ecuador and visit the village school they worked at.
“We all had an action plan when we went,” Bryan said. “Mine was to mentor the girls, but also one of the things we wanted to do was to go back and see if we made an impact, and see how the people in the village had changed and grown since our visit.”
Bryan said that events like We Day are important to recognize the work of youth like Rindal, Gunter and Grimard.
“I was really proud to say that I was with these girls,” Bryan said. ”There’s so much negativity towards our youth about their work ethic and stuff. I think when we have young people like this that want to be involved, everything is going to be okay.”