In the Amazon rainforest, six students from Squamish will be helping a community in Ecuador this March.
Learning Expeditions teacher Daniel Rapoport told The Chief the idea was first hatched last year when some of the students attended WE Day, a conference that encourages youth to make a difference.
Some of the students going on the volunteer trip already have experience with similar projects, including helping build the farm infrastructure and winterizing the greenhouses at their school.
"Everything that we do there, in terms of the service we're providing, mirrors a lot of the stuff we're doing here already," Rapoport said. "The project will likely have to do with building sustainable farming infrastructure or providing access to clean water, which is exactly what we've been doing with the farm here for the last two years. It is also an awesome opportunity for them to get out of the Lower Mainland."
Grade 10 student Parker Gray helped with the school's garden boxes and harvesting from the greenhouse. On the trip, he said he hopes they'll be able to help the local community in a way that fits their needs.
"We thought it would be cool to go see how they're living," Grade 8 student Ciahni Marreiros said.
Rapoport said he previously spent four years travelling and gained a lot from it.
"It was the biggest learning experience of my whole life — a huge, transformative period.... Hopefully, this being a kick-off point for everyone who's coming to realize there's so much going on in the world, so many options and things to do and people to learn from."
Marreiros, and fellow Grade 8 student Georgia Eccles, both said they're looking forward to every part of the trip.
Students have been largely in charge of research associated with accommodations, including a lodge they're looking forward to staying in.
They'll make their way to Ecuador on March 16 and spend nine days there.
Until then, they've been actively fundraising.
They've done bottle drives, written letters for donations and have an event Learning Expeditions goes to Ecuador - Wine Raffle Fundraiser on Facebook.
Anyone interested in helping out can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.