From me to we

By Nathaniel Crossleyemilie

In this edition of Aurora Kid, I interviewed 17 year old Emilie Maine from Holy Trinity high school who is raising money to help lower the cost of flying to Ghana, a developing  country on the coast of North West Africa. Here is the interview.

When did you first get involved with the Me to We?

I got involved with Me to We and Free the Children 2 years ago, when I started school at Holy Trinity Catholic High School.

 When you went to Kenya, did any of your friends go with you?

No, it was just me. I had no idea who I was going to meet. Luckily, the people I did meet were so nice and amazing that I now call them my family.

 What are you planning to do in Ghana?

I’m doing mostly the same thing in Ghana as I did in Kenya. I’ll be travelling and volunteering with Free the Children, either building a school or a health clinic. Free the Children does a really cool thing where they ask the community what they’d like to see happen, and Free the Children then makes the decision, with the help of community members, to build whatever they want or need. So I’ll find out when I arrive in Ghana what exactly I’ll be building. I’ll also be attending leadership-training seminars, learning about the Ghanaian culture, touring around some of Ghana’s landmarks, and meeting more incredible youth who want to make a difference in the world.

Did you get inspired by any person to start doing the things that you do?

A few people inspired me, but the main person would probably have to be my mom. She is such a kind, loving, selfless person, and I strive every day to be half as great as person as she is. When I was younger she would take me volunteering in Fort McMurray with her, whether it was the soup kitchen or Santa’s Anonymous. Because of that, I became interested in social justice.

 What is “Me to We”?

Me to We is a social enterprise. Me to We is actually a business. They sell socially conscious and environmentally friendly clothing and accessories, they organize the volunteer trips that I, and many other youth have been on. They also provide leadership training and have inspirational speakers that travel to schools to inspire youth. Me to We was created to support Free the Children, and it gives 50% of its annual profits to Free the Children. Me to We is also the name of Holy Trinity’s middle school social justice group.

 What is “Free the Children”?

Free the Children are one of the biggest international charities of children helping children. Free the Children aims to educate, engage and empower youth to be the change they wish to see in the world. Free the Children works overseas in various countries, including Ghana and Kenya, doing countless programs. It gets down to the root of social problems in order to make a massive difference. My favourite part about Free the Children’s programming is that they are all about a hand-up, not a handout. Everything they do has a long-term effect that allows for each community they help to succeed. They are most known for their ‘Adopt a Village’ model, where schools, youth groups and businesses can adopt a village, meaning that they are committing to raise money to provide health care, education, alternative income projects, food and agriculture security and clean water and sanitation to the village they adopted. Teens for Change, the social justice group at my school, adopted a village named Mokena, in Sierra Leone.

 What is the “Social Group” in Holy Trinity and what do you do there?

The social justice group, Teens for Change (TFC), is a group of globally aware students who want to make a difference in the world. Our mission is to provide positive change and social justice locally, nationally and internationally. We teach students global citizenship through different activities, and awesome events. Some big events we’ve hosted are the annual Fair Trade market, where we focus on Fair Trade policies and certification, and the effect Fair Trade has globally. We’ve also hosted annual Cake Auction and Water Walk, volunteered in community cleanups, collected cans for the local food bank, and much more. We also went on our first trip together in October this year to “We Day” in Vancouver, a huge inspirational event for youth, put on by Free the Children and Me to We, where inspirational speakers and performers encourage and empower youth to be the change.

If you would like to donate to Emilie’s cause, you can do so by going to Free the Children’s website, or they can donate to Teens For Change by dropping off donations to Holy Trinity’s office. Also, if you have any amazing kids, or organizations you think I should interview or write an article on, please contact me on my email thelegofly@gmail.com or on my twitter @thelegofly.