Bow Valley students aid refugees in San Diego

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A Group of 20 students and four Bow Valley High School advisers took a trip of a lifetime to serve in San Diego, California.

This group of young philanthropists decided to use their spring break to serve the refugee and homeless population in San Diego.

Students and teachers both agreed on how incredibly unique the opportunity was.

“Having such a trip provided for us was amazing as I have always wanted to serve internationally but have also always found it overwhelming to plan myself,” said Grade 11 student Taylor Krawec.

Day one of the trip was an eye-opening experience as students and teachers set out to learn about the City Heights District of San Diego from local business owners, religious groups and residents.

Later that evening, they dined with several refugee families, playing games and creating connections.

In the following days, the students enriched these relationships and were able to reconnect with the refugee families and hear their stories of fleeing Syria and making San Diego home. When not working with the refugee population, students were up at 5 a.m. to serve breakfast to more than 1,200 homeless people at Father Joe’s Village or to work at the Feed San Diego Food Bank.

“Two years ago, Madison Kaczur suggested the idea of a service trip and these students served tirelessly and represented the best of humanity. It was an honour to work with such a remarkable group of students and staff,” said trip adviser and co-ordinator, Scott Thompson.

A great take away many of the students had from this experience was the impact of small gestures such as serving breakfast and how grateful the staff and people they served were. For most students, their favourite part of the trip was working with the students of City Heights Prep Charter School (CHPC). CHPC is a unique school comprised of 90 per cent immigrants and refugees speaking 30 different languages. Bow Valley Students were able to share their school and country culture with City Heights Students in contrast to CHPC and their country of origin.

While working with the diverse school group, Madison Kaczur, a Grade 12 student, recognized what an honour it was for the Bow Valley teams to “work with such a diverse group of amazing people who changed our perspective on the world, travel and the refugee experience.”

Bow Valley students really had fun interacting with the students and even had the opportunity to tutor and work one on one with students during their after school study group.

While the high school group did travel to San Diego to serve, they also enjoyed a morning exploring downtown San Diego, caught a Major league baseball game and enjoyed a relaxing beach afternoon to unwind after a jam-packed experience.

“It feels surreal to be able to be a part of something so unique, not many public school students have such a rich service experience,” said Grade 10 student, Matthew Kelly.

The trip has really motivated students to continue serve in the greater Cochrane community and intentionally serve those in need.

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Cochrane Eagle