If you have read my previous blog posts, then you probably know what my platform revolves around and you might have a general idea of why I chose it. For those who don’t know, my platform is based on the organization called Live Different, which focuses on bringing poverty closer to home by sending people from Canada and the United States into the poor parts of countries like Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Thailand and Haiti. The time span of these trips can vary – I, personally, have only been on a short, ten-day trip to Mexico in which we helped out only one family, but my sister spent half of a year in Mexico building numerous houses and schools, and touched many people’s lives along the way.

Because of my sister and her inspiring journey, I chose to focus on Mexico when formulating my platform. While I would have throughly enjoyed a trip to another destination, I loved Mexico and the experiences that I had when I went.

Of over 100 million people living in Mexico, almost half (45.5 percent) are living in poverty. In 2012, 11.5 million people, or 9.5 percent, live in extreme poverty. Extreme poverty is stated as “a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information.” Live Different aims to aid this 9.5 percent. They do this with two different programs: the “Hero Holiday” program, and the “Academy” program.

This is the kind of shelter many of the families would be living in before they were helped.

The Academy program is a 14 week experience spent in Mexico. The website has this overview posted about the academy program:

“Our semester is made up of 14 weeks and starts in September. During the 14 weeks, our Academy students will be living, studying, and working in the community of Vicente Guerrero, Baja California, Mexico, where they will be part of a team that is making a visible difference in the lives of those who need it most. The students will also have substantial class and personal development time as they begin to understand the bigger picture of our global community and how their lives can help to change and shape the future.

While in Mexico, our students will be working with and training under our Live Different Mexico Staff. It will be an exciting opportunity to focus on social justice issues and opportunities to effect change.”

On the other hand, the Hero Holiday programs are short, ten day trips to any of the four destinations listed above. Each trip focuses on building a house for one family. They can be just as rewarding as the academy program, but they are much less of a time commitment.

My hero holiday experience changed my life and the way that I look at all that I have. When I heard that I had to come up with a platform, I knew without a doubt that this was the organization I wanted to represent, and this was the kind of change that I wanted to make in the world. Providing a home for a family is an incredibly rewarding thing.

I hope that through this pageant experience, I can bring more awareness to this organization, and spur people to try to make a change.

This was the family that we built for last summer.

To read my post that goes more in depth about my Hero Holiday experience, click here. To find more information about Live Different by visiting their website, click here.

Written by: Gillian Tagged with:, , , ,
Posted On: Categories:Miss Teenage West Calgary

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