Teen heading to Africa
By CATHY DOBSON
OIL SPRINGS -- A 17-year-old with a passion for travel and helping others is preparing to volunteer in Africa for eight months.
Josephine Ethier, a Grade 12 student at LCCVI in Petrolia, says she wants to work with homeless children in South Africa and Kenya and help them improve their quality of life.
She leaves in September for Capetown, South Africa to work with a group known as International Volunteer HQ based out of New Zealand.
"I'm always on the lookout for unique volunteer opportunities," Ethier said. "It's all about character building for me."
Last summer, she went to Costa Rica for a week with an organization called Globe Aware. While there, she painted schools and learned about the culture.
"I was testing it out before planning something a lot bigger," she said. "I learned that I'm interested in other cultures and I want to live in their shoes.
"I've volunteered in Oil Springs with a youth group and now I want the opportunity to go other places."
In Capetown for four months, she'll assist with sports programs that engage street kids and try to cut down on crime.
In Kenya, the outreach work will involve some house building as well as teaching.
"We're told we'll work with kids in the orphanages too," Ethier said.
"I get an amazing feeling when I know I've done something good."
To participate in the program, Ethier is raising $4,000 for transportation and accommodations. She'll be billeted while in Africa.
"I'm working 30 hours a week right now and I'll take another job when I'm finished school," she said. "But I'm hoping I can get some financial help with this.