Posted by: cherylyoung | May 26, 2012

Making an impact on more than the farm

stellyswoodwynnvolunteersv.jpg

                Clockwise from top left: Alex Mitchell, Gillian Bryson, Addie
Côté, Charlotte Lauener, Lexy Young, Nareka Narendrabalan and
 Julia Bolster, all Grade 11 students in Stelly’s global perspectives class,
 prepare for their volunteer work at Woodwynn Farms.
Erin Cardone/News staff

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         .   Peninsula farm seeks balance

  By Erin Cardone – Peninsula News Review

 Published: May 10, 2012 6:00 AM

Sunlight streamed through the windows of the 1940s barn as seven

students listened to tales of how lives can so easily fall apart.

Seven Grade 11 students from Stelly’s secondary school’s global perspectives

class heard about how, in an instant, a woman’s life deteriorated to drug use

and homelessness when she lost her entire family in a car crash.

The students came to Woodwynn Farms on Tuesday, May 8 to experience

farming and learn more about homelessness. It was the first day of a

volunteering program that will last until the end of this school year and

likely into the next.

“Most of us took the global perspectives class because we wanted

to make a difference,” said Lexy Young.

The students will work with the several tonnes of hay the farm sells,

as well as helping repair the 70-year-old barns on the property so

Woodwynn can convert them into other uses, such as a market.

On the farm, they’ll work with Ed, a formerly homeless man who ha

s been at Woodwynn since the winter. (Ed is a pseudonym to protect the

man’s identity.)

And with plans to to house more people from the streets, the student

s might hear more stories about homelessness first hand.

“Woodwynn is such a good fit for our program,” said global perspectives

teacher Elena Beristain.

“The students who come through our program are very motivated and more

in tune with the world.”

Recently, the global perspectives class bought land in Nepal and

Grade 12 students went there to build a shelter for women who were

victims of abuse or other violations.

The Grade 11 students will likely visit the shelter next year.

“It’s so great that right in our community we have a great project that is

so similar [to the one in Nepal],” Beristain said.

In addition to volunteering, the global perspectives program awarded

Woodwynn’s Creating Homefulness Society with a $1,000 grant.

The Grade 12 students applied for a Vital Youth grant through the Victoria

Foundation, which gave the class $2,500 to put back into the community.

They also gave $1,000 the Victoria Riding Association for the Disabled,

located in Central Saanich, and $500 to the Peninsula Streams Society.

“It gives [the students] some empowerment to choose where changes

happen in their community,” Beristain said.

The Grade 11 students will likely return to the farm every Tuesday to help

out and learn about farming and homelessness in the same setting.

CHERYL HOLMES YOUNG

SAANICH PENINSULA REALTY

SIDNEY BC

www.cherylyoung.ca

www.sidneymeetup.com

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