Teen raises funds for Thai students

Danette Dooley
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Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn Hynes of Dunville, Placentia Bay, has been saving recyclables for quite some time, knowing she'd hear about a good cause one day and want to cash in the cans and bottles and use the money to help someone else.

When Jaclyn - a Level 2 student at Laval High School in Placentia - heard that her uncle, Craig Greene, was heading to Thailand to help build a Habitat for Humanity house, she knew she'd found her cause.

"My family has been involved in Third World projects since I can remember, and when it hit close to home I wanted to do something that would make a little difference," she said.

She set out to raise $750 - the amount of money needed for a scholarship for one student.

She cashed in her family's recyclables and, with the help of her sisters, 21-year-old Maggie Hynes and 19-year-old Victoria Hynes, Jaclyn began counting the family's spare change.

"We always throw our change in a container and think nothing about it, but when we started to roll it, we couldn't believe that what looked like pennies, nickels and dimes allows someone to finish school," Jaclyn said.

When the money from the recyclables and the change came up a little short of $750, Jaclyn contributed some of her tip money from her waitressing job at a local restaurant.

"It was worth it," she said.

Jaclyn says her parents, Barb and Garry Hynes, have always encouraged their daughters to help out in their own backyard and in other parts of the world.

The family has been sponsoring children in underdeveloped countries for many years and has helped build a home in Uganda. Jaclyn volunteers at the local food bank and is involved in numerous other community projects.

She said her uncle was "happy and proud" when he heard that she wanted to donate her money for a scholarship.

"Uncle Craig has been to Thailand before and told me how bad things are there," she said.

"It is nice to give a donation to someone who will bring the money to someone who really needs it. I am excited."

Building house

Greene volunteers with Cabot Habitat for Humanity. That organization is working with Habitat for Humanity Canada's Global Village Program.

He and 12 other volunteers from this province will travel to Thailand Jan. 20, and for two weeks they'll work side-by-side with a local family, helping them build a home.

"We raise the money to pay our own airfare and accommodation and we raise (about $5,000) for the materials to build the home," Greene said.

The Newfoundlanders decided they also wanted to offer a scholarship to two students in Thailand.

Greene teaches at the College of the North Atlantic in St. John's and was delighted when he heard Jaclyn had raised money for one of the scholarships.

The scholarships will be awarded to Grade 12 students for a year of post-secondary education.

"For a kid in Thailand, $750 is not only a year of education, it's also a stepping-stone to a better life," Greene said.

Cabot Habitat for Humanity executive director John Scoville is leading the team heading to Thailand.

Scoville taught English at Phontong school in Chonburi City, Thailand, for a year before returning to Newfoundland in 2010.

The scholarships will be presented to two students at that school, just outside Bangkok.

The students who receive the awards were among Scoville's Grade 10 students.

"A lot of the students come from families that are still struggling just to survive," he said.

"And although these are your brightest children ... getting the money for them to go to a post-secondary school is a real challenge."

Scoville said the entire student body of 1,200 students from Grades 7-12 will be on hand for the scholarship presentation.

"It will be a great experience for all of them," he said.

telegram@thetelegram.com danette@nl.rogers.com

 

Organizations: College of the North Atlantic, Laval High School, Habitat for Humanity house Cabot Habitat for Humanity Habitat for Humanity Canada Phontong school

Geographic location: Thailand, Placentia Bay, Uganda St. John's Chonburi Newfoundland Bangkok

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  • Politically incorrect
    January 14, 2012 - 09:06

    Well done, but just for the record, Thailand is hardly a so-called 'third world" country, although, as you point out, poverty is rampant.