Students Redirect Mission Trip Funds to Local Community

Students Redirect Mission Trip Funds to Local Community
Posted on 07/08/2020

JULY 8, 2020 - ORILLIA, ON: Over the course of a decade, close to 2,000 students and staff from Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB) have participated in mission trips to developing countries. It provides an incredible opportunity for students to gain important life-changing insights and to help those in need in countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Ecuador. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the mission trips planned for high schools across the Board were cancelled. Although disappointing, this cancellation didn’t stop the students at Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School in Orillia from creating a new opportunity to serve their local community. 

The students in the Service Learning Leadership Program at Patrick Fogarty would normally be fundraising to cover their travel expenses to Kenya, where they would be working on initiatives like school building, water projects, and agricultural work. When their trip was cancelled due to COVID-19, the students, with support from their sponsors, decided to use their fundraising money to contribute to local, national, and global charities. They have committed to donating $21,000: $10,000 split between five local organizations, including the Orillia Youth Centre and Building Hope Orillia; another $10,000 between four national charities, such as the Pikangikum Clean Water Project and True North Aid. 

“Being a part of the Kenya Mission was a great opportunity and I was very fortunate to be a part of it. When we first started fundraising to go to Kenya, our local community really supported us and helped us raise money for our trip. Unfortunately, COVID-19 started to take over and this ended our hopes of going to Kenya,” explained Grade 12 student Liam McCrimmon. “Although this was sad, it opened up the opportunity to give back to our local community. The issues and problems going on around the world were regularly taught to us in class, whether they were happening locally, provincially, or globally. In the end, I believe these teachings have made me more aware and passionate about the events that go on right under our own noses, and how we can help to alleviate these issues.”

Lynn Thomas, the Development Coordinator of the Building Hope Campaign in Orillia, expressed her admiration for the students: "It was my pleasure to speak to The Kenya Leadership team and mission team at Patrick Fogarty earlier in the school year and see their passion and genuine concern for the vulnerable people we serve at The Lighthouse. Two students from this team have been a part of our "Student Hope Ambassadors" raising funds with Twin Lakes SS and Orillia SS to name a youth room in our new facility, The Lighthouse Community Services Hub. These students are our future volunteers, staff members and ambassadors to educate the community about the serious issues facing those experiencing homelessness. We appreciate their generosity and partnership to provide a future for our charity.” 

Media Contact: Pauline Stevenson, Communications Manager 705.722.3555 ext., 229  [email protected]