Two high school students from ASD-W have been chosen as EF (Education First) Canadian Youth Ambassadors for 2019.
Dhanishta Ambwani from Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton and Kenzie MacDonald-Auger from Woodstock High School are among 30 Canadian youth who will be travelling to the Dominican Republic in April to participate in an EF service learning tour. The selected ambassadors will be working alongside community members on a sustainable development project to support local needs. Once back from their trip, they will reconvene in Ottawa to meet with Members of Parliament and Senators to talk about their experience and present their action plans.
Ambwani, a Grade 11 student, enjoys biology, English, science and history and is heavily involved in school activities and leadership. After graduation, she plans to attend university to pursue a degree in medicine, science or engineering.
"I think I will learn so many things from my trip to the Dominican Republic," Ambwani said. "I will definitely learn how to communicate, interact and create meaningful relationships with the local children there, even if we do not speak the same language. I will learn about the way of life and the different or similar challenges that youth my age face in a completely different country. From the program in general, I think I will learn how to action plan effectively so that I can turn my ideas into reality."
Ambwani feels EF service learning tours are foundational to creating leadership qualities in youth because they promote responsibility, opportunity and the power to create real change, while also showing that adults trust, believe and support youth to do important things.
"I believe my generation is so passionate about creating change, helping to create a better world, but more often than not we are not given enough support or encouragement," Ambwani explained. "This program changes that reality."
Kenzie MacDonald-Auger, a Grade 11 student at Woodstock High, enjoys drama, art, English and music. Her future plan is to attend university to study psychology or criminology. She hopes her experience with EF will help her to generate new ideas for the betterment of her own community and helping others.
"I'm hoping to expand my school project 'Free and Fresh' and start the idea of a community garden in Woodstock and prompt community involvement," MacDonald-Auger said. "Programs like this (EF) empower youth involved on how to create great change when there is access to opportunities. It can make an impact on the next generation when they learn what they are capable of and hopefully it builds toward a better nation in the future."
The EF Canadian Youth Ambassador program is a five-year initiative launched in 2016 to provide mentorship and travel opportunities to a total of 150 Canadian youth representing every province and territory. The objectives of the program are developing global citizenship, creating social change, and fostering passion.
EF is an international education company focused on language, academics, educational travel, and culture experience. It currently operates more than 600 schools and offices in over 50 countries to fulfill one global mission: opening the world through education. In Canada, EF has helped educators foster global citizenship through experiential learning since 1984.
Shown in the photos below are (1) Dhanishta Ambwani from Leo Hayes High School and (2) Kenzie MacDonald-Auger from Woodstock High School, who have both been selected as EF Canadian Youth Ambassadors for 2019.