Local student wins Ecuador trip
Liam Kachkar gets big prize during Me to We conference last week
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013 02:30 pm
Learning about service to the world became a lucky lottery day for one St. Albert teenager.
Liam Kachkar, a Grade 10 student at Paul Kane High School, was in Calgary with a school group for a We Day event last Thursday. Among all of the presentations and activities, there was a special draw. Out of the 18,000 people in attendance, Kachkar won a trip to Ecuador for him, a teacher, and three of his friends.
“It’s really cool!” he exclaimed, adding that this is the first trip that he’s ever won. “On the way back, all my friends on the bus were saying, ‘so Liam, who are you going to pick?’”
The ten-day, all-inclusive trip leaves next July 1. The group will first travel to Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the capital city of the equatorial South American country. They will spend a few days learning about the culture, taking guided tours and getting an orientation from a Me to We facilitator.
They will also make a special visit to Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, an area north of Quito that is claimed to lie right on 0 degrees latitude or the middle of the world. It has a museum about the country’s indigenous ethnography and there is also a 30-metre tall monument that was erected 30 years ago to commemorate the first Geodesic Mission of the French Academy of Sciences.
From there, they will go south to the Free the Children community in the Chimborazo province. They will help with community building projects while on site in the Amazonian region.
They will also get Spanish lessons, visit a local shaman, learn about chocolate making from a group of cacao farmers, have a traditional cooking class, hike in the jungle and experience a boat ride on the Amazon River.
Kachkar will be accompanied by Candice Jwasko, the teacher who helps co-ordinate Paul Kane’s Social Justice Club. As for the three students who would come along too, Kachkar has already made his choices.
About Me to We
The for-profit organization was started five years ago by Craig and Marc Kielburger. It works to offer sales of socially responsible products and services, half the proceeds of which go to Free the Children, the international charity and youth movement that Craig started in 1995 when he was only 12 years old.
Me to We also organizes We Day conferences across the country every year. It sees tens of thousands of school-aged children and youths hear educational and promotional talks about philanthropy, youth empowerment, and social consciousness. Both of the Kielburger brothers were there at Calgary’s Saddledome to talk to the attendees.
Among the other celebrities and humanitarians who made presentations during the day-long slate of activities included Martin Luther King III (the oldest son of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), AIDS activist and former basketball great Magic Johnson, Amanda Lindhout, Spencer West (the double amputee who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro on his hands and in his wheelchair last year), and singers Kardinal Offishall, Shawn Desman and Nelly Furtado.
This was Kachkar’s second year of attendance at the special event.
“Because I had such a good time and because it was so inspiring, I thought that it would be cool if I could go again this year.”
He said that Magic Johnson’s speech was one of the most powerful of the bunch. Kachkar intends to take his renewed sense of purpose back to school and the Social Justice Club. He’s looking forward to a food drive for the St. Albert Food Bank and to helping out the Mustard Seed Church in downtown Edmonton.