We all hear the message that we should “think outside the box.”
Ryan Scott has been hearing it for a few years at Const. Neil Bruce Middle School, where the 14-year-old is in Grade 9.
It started in Grade 6 when his teacher was Mrs. Craig, who makes a point of discussing with her students what some of the differences between living in Canada compared to living in a Third World country.
Ryan’s been developing his own thoughts on the issue and this year presented a challenge to his schoolmates. He wants to see a community in need get a new well to provide clean water. But that’s not all. He wants the village to get “a truck load of animals” as well.
Ryan is spearheading a Christmas fundraiser he calls Gift of Hope: Think Outside the Gift Box. His goal is to raise $365 by Dec. 17 with the hope it will start to make a difference in someone’s life by Christmas.
The project will be achieved through Plan Canada. Working in 69 countries, Plan Canada’s goal is to give children, families and communities the tools they need to break out of the cycle of poverty.
The well would provide the community with fresh, sanitary drinking water. The farm animals would help them make their own income to raise themselves out of poverty.
Adam Graham, a senior program manager at Toronto-based Plan Canada, said wells are being being built in the Sudan and South Sudan—where the need is currently the greatest. The wells, he said, “get constructed pretty quickly,” once funds come in.
Helping Ryan with the project is his certified educational assistant, Kathy Calvert. Ryan has autism so needs some individual attention at school.
Catherine Scott, Ryan’s mom, is not surprised at his commitment. “He always says: ‘I don’t need help, let me help you.’ He’s a very, very caring person.”
Ryan’s energy is legendary. Swimming with the Liquid Lightning club in West Kelowna helps burn off some of that energy. Catherine said the regular physical workouts have let them reduce some of his medications.
Ryan was certain Plan Canada was the perfect organization to help realize his goal. He cited his favourite TV personality, Rick Mercer, as a spokesman and that was enough for Ryan to jump on board.