Eight days away from Canada served to open Chase Hornby’s eyes.
The 15-year-old Headingley resident, who attends Winnipeg’s Westwood Collegiate, joined three other students, six teachers from St. James-Assiniboia School Division and two parents in travelling to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico from Jan. 25 to Feb. 1. Their purpose was to distribute games and school supplies to daycare centres and schools in the city, including the School of Champions, located just outside the city in El Magisterio.
"It was very eye-opening to see the schools," Hornby said, adding that the classrooms are mainly very small, with no electricity.
"The teachers have to make do with what they have to teach the kids."
The School of Champions provides local children with an education in math, English and computer skills. These children typically drop out of school at a young age due to poverty.
Hornby said he got involved in raising money for the schools through his friendship with St. James resident Jeremy Liscum who, along with his brother Devon and their parents, travel to Puerto Vallarta each January to distribute the funds they raise in Winnipeg. The Liscums began their efforts to help Mexican children after Devon was touched by seeing children foraging in a large dump in the Mexican resort area when his family was vacationing in 2008.
Hornby began helping Jeremy with school fundraisers when they both attended Lincoln Middle School. He said he was happy to be able to join in the family’s annual trip this year.
"I wanted to get more involved," he said.
Hornby plans to keep working to raise money for the Liscums’ project, and possibly return to Mexico for another charitable visit.