April 4, 2011                                                                                         

 DSBNi Team Takes Shape 

The term “global citizenship” will soon take on new meaning for nine secondary students at the District School Board of Niagara. In late July, the group of adventurous high school students will be travelling thousands of miles to take part in the annual DSBN international (DSBNi) home build. The build, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity – Global Village, will take place in Vietnam. This is the second build to take place in Vietnam.

Students who have been a part of previous international builds have called the experience “life changing.” Carrie Thwaites, DSBNi Team Leader and a Coordinator in the DSBN’s Technology and Experiential Learning Department, agrees. “While overseas, students have witnessed the effects that poverty and substandard housing have on people in the developing world. It is truly an eye-opening experience to witness these conditions first-hand,” says Thwaites.

By participating in the home build and working to support others, students learn a great deal about leadership and responsibility. “It is a very powerful feeling to know that you have made a meaningful difference in someone’s life. Students also get the added benefit of immersing themselves in a different culture and experiencing the unique customs, cuisines and lifestyles of another community,” adds Thwaites.

In addition to gaining tremendous life experience, students will earn one cooperative education credit for participating in the build. Before leaving for Vietnam, students will have spent several evenings and weekends learning more about the host country, the basics of masonry, brick laying, mortar mixing and some basic Vietnamese. Students will also participate in general safety training and receive First-Aid certification.

Students and leaders are responsible for covering the costs of their participation in the international home build and will be participating in many fundraising activities leading up to their trip. To keep up with the team and support their participation in this endeavour, members of the public can visit the DSBNi blog by clicking here.  

As evidence of the trip’s lasting effect on students, many of those who have participated in the DSBNi program have gone on to pursue postsecondary goals in areas such as global development, teaching, medicine, political science and construction contracting.


Team DSBNi 2011:

Lauren Beaudoin         Welland Centennial

Joshua Durling            Eden High School

Evan Elliott                  E.L. Crossley

Elizabeth Frechette      Grimsby Secondary

Simone Hummel          Sir Winston Churchill

Kevin Koudys              South Lincoln High School

Anysa McShane           Governor Simcoe

Joelle Schonberg         Stamford Collegiate

Karen Ngo                   Westlane Secondary