Green light for youth trip to Peru

By Miriam Ostermann, Associate Editor

Applause and cheering erupted last weekend when families were told the Youth Club of Strathmore’s fundraising efforts raked in enough cash to cover the main cost of all participating youths heading on a leadership humanitarian trip to Peru next week.
With the help of fundraisers and numerous local corporate donors, the club was able to secure a total of $44, 289.53 to date – just shy of their $50,000 goal.
The club will still need to come up with the remaining funds to cover the cost of day trips and activities, the $400 program fees, plane tickets and accommodation for 17 high needs and financially struggling youth.
“It’s been a long sell, so it’s hard when you’re looking at that big of an amount; seems daunting,” said Shannon Zieman, program director for the Youth Club of Strathmore.
“It has been hard. We’ve seen that there’s a lot of groups fundraising. The community has been very generous but for the amount we need … we found a lot of corporations were at the end of their budgets.”
In November, with donations only at $15,000, staff and youth began approaching businesses. Over the last two-and-a-half months, 22 local businesses donated $11,750 with more corporate donations currently pending. The club also hosted 21 formal fundraisers since last May, including a car smash, garage sales, babysitting nights, a Jelly Bean Dance, bottle drive, Sobeys 90-second shopping spree and a wine glass paint night. Most recently, an event featuring medium Jennie Ogilvie sold out, and together with 50/50 and raffle tickets raised $4,000. The club also held other 50/50 draws, raffles and bake sales.
As a result, 17 youth – aged 13 to 17 years – and 10 adults will be heading to the airport next week to fly to South America where they will take part in a youth shelter renovation project. The Youth Club of Strathmore is already collecting donations they plan on stuffing in their second carry-on bag to disperse to the youths in Cusco, Peru.
“A lot of these kids have never been able to have an opportunity to go to a country like that and will probably never get it again,” said Hannah Magee, program coordinator and outreach for the Youth Club of Strathmore. “So just for them to really see the differences what we have in Canada and what they don’t have, to really appreciate what they have and what they’re going to gain there … hopefully lights a fire under them for when they come back here. That they’re then excited to give back to our community.”
While in the country, the group will participate in a work week from Feb. 19-23 and will spend a couple of days to tour around the city – including a trip to Machu Picchu.
The club is still looking for donation items such as children’s vitamins, prenatal vitamins, adult vitamins, school supplies, craft supplies, children’s clothing, hygiene items, basic medical supplies, anti-lice shampoo and anthelmintic medication (medications used to eradicate parasitic worms from the human body). Items can be dropped off at the Youth Club of Strathmore located at 170 Brent Blvd. by Feb. 12.