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Local business steps up for students

Boots donated to Patrick Fogarty students, who will help build school in Ecuador
2018-04-25 PF Boot Donation
Students and teachers from Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School picked up a donation of 32 pairs of Caterpillar boots Wednesday from Art's Clothing and Shoes. The boots will be used during the students' trip to Ecuador in May. Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters

There will be plenty of boots on the ground when local students head to Ecuador in May, thanks to a donation from Caterpillar.

Twenty-eight students and four teachers from Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School will head to the South American country next week, where they will help build a school in a rural area outside of Quito, Ecuador’s capital city.

The crew was at Art’s Clothing and Shoes earlier this to pick up 32 pairs of boots.

“This is awesome,” Edan McFadden said of the donation of about $6,000 worth of footwear.

The students will leave the boots in Ecuador so others there can use them.

Mario Tulipano, owner of Art’s Clothing and Shoes, was “glad to help.”

“Being in business, we like to give back to the community,” he said. “It’s gratifying to be able to help out.”

Tulipano’s Caterpillar representative learned of the opportunity, proposed the donation to his marketing department and got the OK.

The donation is a meaningful one for the students, who have been preparing and fundraising since last summer.

McFadden, 17, has “mixed emotions” about the May 3-12 trip, but she is looking forward to the learning experience and helping those in need.

“I’m a bit nervous about the culture shock,” she said. “I’m hoping to have a greater appreciation of what I do have.”

She caught a glimpse of desperate poverty when she was on a cruise ship that docked in Haiti when she was 12, but this is the first time she will be on the ground, helping out.

“This is their life. It is how they live. We have to go there and accept that,” she said. “We’re not going there to change the way they live. We’re going there to give them more opportunities.”

Makayla Joseph, 16, is also both “nervous and excited.”

“I just have to mentally prepare and be ready not to judge them but to accept that some people aren’t as lucky as we are,” she said. “It’s going to be a life-changing trip. I want to get as much out of it as I put in. I want to grow as a person and know that I’ve impacted other people.”

That is one of the objectives of the trip, said teacher Brett Carron, who will be joining the students.

“It’s about the transformation of the students and creating young leaders. It instils passion in them,” he said. “It gives them a global perspective on issues of poverty, equality, Indigenous communities.”

The cultural experience will be equally as fulfilling as the work they’ll be doing, Carron added.

“Realizing you’re a guest in someone else’s country is as important as the deed of helping. These students will gain more from the people they visit than the people they visit will gain from them.”

Patrick Fogarty offers this type of opportunity to students every two years. Art’s Clothing and Shoes got involved in 2012, too, when students went to Kenya. Through the store’s Timberland representative, a donation of boots was made. It’s one way the business can support the “honourable” work the students are doing, Tulipano said.


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Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the desk editor for Village Media's central Ontario news desk in Simcoe County and Newmarket.
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