Thanks to a passion for education, a firm belief in humanitarian aid and a growing network of like-minded people, Carol Garceau has helped spread access to early education to students nearly 3,000 km away.
Garceau, a client services representative at Algonquin’s registrar’s office, is the centre of a growing community within the college with a passion for humanitarian aid. She calls her group Students 4 Humanity.
Through her initiative, the community, with help from the college, has been responsible for the donation and transportation of school supplies, surplus laptops and unclaimed lost-and-found items to schools in rural Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Garceau focuses on two schools, one in northern Haiti and one in northern Dominican Republic. Both are rural schools, and they have a combined student body of over 600 children.
“Students there, as well as the faculty, really appreciate just knowing that people care about their school and want to know more,” said Garceau. “They’re extremely grateful for whatever we offer.”
Garceau wants to expand her network and organize a group of students who want to become engaged in fostering relationships with the schools.
Her goal is not only to provide support for the students in other countries, but also to build relationships between those students and students from Algonquin.
“Starting to form relationships with Algonquin and students from Algonquin would be very empowering, as well as very exciting for them,” Garceau said. “I believe we have a lot to learn from each other.”
Long term, Garceau is hoping that she will be able to organize trips for students to visit the schools in Dominican Republic and Haiti to provide support as well as role models for children in lower socio-economic conditions.
Garceau has compiled a “wish list” of items for donation that would help the schools operate. These items include lightly-used shoes, school supplies, children’s clothing and baby supplies.
For those interested in learning more about this Dominican Republic initiative or who want to donate can contact Carol Garceau directly.