An intrepid student at The Sixth Form College, Solihull is planning an 8-month volunteer project in Latin America, and has just been granted funds to support this exciting venture.
Elle Deakin (aged 18, from Shirley) is linking up with Christian Gap year charity Latin Link and has been granted a bursary from the College to help fund the trip. This College fund is called the Terry Kitson Award for Service to the Community. Students are invited to apply for financial aid to help fund volunteer projects in the UK or abroad. Approximately £2,000 worth of bursaries are granted to the students each year.
The fund was established to remember the late Terry Kitson, a governor at the College from October 1992 to September 1999. Students work with the wider community was an issue close to his heart, hence this bursary was set up as a fitting memorial to a friend and colleague and a way of supporting students looking to undertake voluntary projects during Gap years.
Elle explains why she chose Latin Link. “I wanted to do a Gap year and I heard about Latin Link at a Christian festival called Soul Survivor. They seemed like a really friendly and welcoming organisation and the way they work appealed to me more than other organisations, as it works with projects that are already set up which need help in Latin America. This is also an area of the world I want to visit, so it’s perfect for me really.
“I’ve done similar things before in Romania and in Tanzania, but this is for longer and I’ll be going on my own, so it’s a bit scary, but also very exciting. I’m not exactly sure where I’m going yet, but it looks likely to be either Guatemala or Argentina as they have churches in those countries that need help.
“Both projects involve working with young girls and women, by helping them to get out of dangerous situations such as trafficking, prostitution and other abuse. In Guatemala I would be working with young girls and if I go to Argentina it is likely to be women in their 20s and 30s, many of whom suffer addictions. The work would be supportive in nature, helping to build their confidence and self esteem and offering counselling.”
The trip will provide excellent experience for Elle, who hopes to become a social worker. She already has a university place at Leeds planned to study Social Work and has deferred that place until September 2013 to allow for this Gap year project.
Elle is still fund-raising for her trip. Anyone wanted to contribute to this worthwhile project can do so by calling Bev Bishop at the College on 0121 704 2581 and she will put them in touch with Elle. Alternatively, the following web page has been set up where donations can be made: