By Joshua Estabrooks
For 18-year-old valley resident, Katie Milligen, the thought of heading straight into a university program this fall was not as exciting as it should have been. Although she was enrolled in the international studies program at Simon Fraser University, a combination of being wait-listed for her desired courses and an invitation to work overseas have changed her mind and she is now heading to Nicaragua for three months to do humanitarian work.
Katie will be a part of the Canada World Youth Program, which teams her up with a youth from Nicaragua for a three-month stint in that country, followed by three months in Saskatoon, where they will both experience a Canadian winter in all of its cold, snowy glory.
Katie found out about the program on the Internet — a program which is designed to build the power of youth volunteering around the world. There are a variety of types of work that participants in the program can choose to engage in, including teaching and environmental projects, but for Katie, the health-care field was her area of interest.
“I could be doing anything from leading an H.I.V. workshop, to working in orphanages and hospitals,”she added. “We’ll get some training in Toronto on the 12th of September. We go there for a few days, meet up with everyone else in the program and we are briefed on what to expect.”
On the 17th of September, the group will fly down to Nicaragua and begin their work. Katie said she doesn’t feel intimidated by the approaching trip, but is more excited to experience something new.
“I didn’t want to go right back into school this year and it seems like a great thing to do instead of just working,” she said. “ I am interested in pursuing humanitarian work as a career, potentially in the health field. I think it’s going to persuade me on what I could study next year in school.”
In preparation for the trip, Katie is obligated to raise as much of the money for the program from donations as possible, to help raise the profile of Canada World Youth. She said she is looking to get together a minimum of $2,800, and is willing to do presentations, blogs or anything that would secure her some funding from interested individuals or organizations.
If anyone would like to assist Katie financially, she asks that they call 250-688-7417, or e-mail email@example.com.