Local Brianne Bartel going on Hero Holiday, hoping to raise funds to purchase gifts for family

Bartel will be hosting an information session on her Hero Holiday trip on June 13, in the CHSS multipurpose room.

18-year-old Brianne Bartel.

18-year-old Brianne Bartel.

While most 18-year-olds will be spending the summer celebrating their graduation, one Prince Rupert local will be traveling overseas to assist a family living in poverty.

Brianne Bartel will be part of Hero Holiday this summer, when she will be assisting a family in building a proper home to live in. Bartel will be holding an information evening on her trip next week, where she is hoping to collect donations.

“I can see myself getting addicted to humanitarian work. I love helping people, it’s something I need to do,” said a passionate Bartel.

Absolute Leadership Development hosts Hero Holiday, where Canadians are given the opportunity to go on global humanitarian trips to either Mexico, Thailand, Haiti or the Dominican Republic. On these trips, people work in a community to either help build homes, distribute supplies, provide food, provide mobile medical clinics or work with children who are at risk.

Bartel will leave on June 3, first heading to Toronto for an orientation and to prepare for the trip before heading to Sosua in the Dominican Republic.

“I am very excited to go. I can’t wait to help,” commented Bartel.

Over the 10 days Bartel will be spending in Sosua, she and others will be helping a family in need build a home for themselves. On the last day, the family will be handed the keys to their new home.

“It will be giving them so much opportunity,” said an emotional Bartel, who was holding back  tears.

Bartel learned about Hero Holiday after going on the Rotary Adventures in Citizenship trip to Ottawa last summer where she met Jenna, who she became friends with. Jenna told her all about her annual humanitarian trips, one of which was a trip to the Dominican Republic.

Jenna shared stories with Bartel about how she connected with Gizella, a 14-year-old girl who is living in poverty (the two are pictured on below). Jenna and Gizella grew close as the two were at the dump, collecting bottles from the trash for money.Jenna, who inspired Bartel to go on the Hero Holiday, helps Gizella collect bottles from the dump. Although a full huge bag of bottles would only earn about .30 cents Canadian, Gizella and her family and friends would go to the dump often, and dig through rotting food, bathroom tissues, maggots and various other rubbish to find recyclables. While doing this, Gizella would pick up thrown-out food to eat and dirty clothing to take back home with her. The culture shock left Jenna in disbelief.

“How is it possible in 2012 that we can have people sent to the moon, we can text message across the country in seconds and can have vehicles that can parallel park themselves by the touch of a button, but at the same time 25,000 die from hunger everyday,” wrote Jenna in a speech she presented to her school that Bartel shared with the Prince Rupert Northern View.

Although Bartel already has the cost of the trip covered she is hoping to raise an additional $700 so she will be able to contribute towards household items for the new home she will help build and to purchase small gifts for the children of the community such as colouring books, crayons, toothbrushes, Frisbees and sporting equipment.

“I’m extremely athletic, I absolutely love sports. So for me to bring a soccer ball down there and to share something I love with them is going to be amazing,” she said.

On June 13, Bartel will be holding a Hero Holiday information session on her trip and is hoping to collect as many donations as possible. The event will be taking place in the Multipurpose room at Charles Hays Secondary School, and will start at 7 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.

Anyone who won’t be able to make the information session can drop off donations to Brianne, whose phone number is 250 627-7374, or at Rupert Cleaners. Donations of $20 or more can receive a tax receipt.