Have you ever wondered if what you’re doing is making a difference? I've wondered that myself, until I started talking with friends and colleagues about how they are making an impact with their actions.
Welcome to our new series. It's all about real people making small changes that result in real differences. Is it changing the world? Short answer: yes. When we all work together and make changes, it can definitely change the world.
Meet Alysia Carpenter. Aly was only 20 years old when she decided to accompany her mother and 5 other local community mentors on a Global Literacy Program in Ek Balam, Mexico.
Assisting with the chaperoning of approximately 20 grade 11 students, Aly was directly responsible for a group of 3 girls and the Mayan student they were matched with for the week. They went to school together, did chores together, and they participated in activities to better understand the culture and their surroundings.
Everyday they began with a Historical Global Timeline where they learned about events that had a significant impact on the Global Economy. World Bank, IMF and Structural Adjustment Programs were all terms that would soon leave a lasting impression on Aly and her students. Every night ended with a film about the day’s theme.
“Watching documentaries at night was both alarming and educational. I was learning things I had never been taught in high school and it was a little overwhelming”
One of the documentaries shown was about the fashion industry and how workers in Bangladesh often made as little as 11 cents/hour, even though corporations like Disney and Wal-Mart could afford to pay more.
On one of the evenings the group of students and their Mayan friends put on a fashion show using clothing that was Fair Trade, used, or up cycled.
“The kids had so much fun they were hamming it up on the runway but I realized then that Fashion shouldn’t hurt people, and I wanted to make a difference”
After returning to Canada, Aly helped to organize the same fashion show for her community. Over 200 people turned out to watch the models and learn through video clips about Fair Trade, Organic Cotton, and Recycled Clothing.
Aly made a personal decision to wear used clothing or fairly made items and she loves it! Her favourite stores to shop in are Plato’s Closet, Talize and Salvation Army.
She admits her favourite outfits are her workout gear but this summer Aly, now 24, is planning her wedding, and will be donning a wedding dress made in the US.
She incorporated the same philosophy into her wedding planning. She borrowed certain decorations, up cycled many items, and purchased local honey as wedding favours. She worked hard to reduce her environmental footprint.
In lieu of Bridal Shower gifts, Aly asked her guests to instead donate to a cause near and dear to her heart. As an animal lover she was devastated to see the misfortune of the dogs in Mexico, and was able to raise over $700 for the rescue and care of the dogs of Ek Balam.
That one decision alone changed the world for the dogs she is able to rescue. Aly has also been a mentor to 10 local high school students through the DREAM program. She started with them when they entered grade 9 they are now entering grade 11 and will be preparing for their own trip this spring.
Still wondering if one small act can change the world? Follow along our series to learn more about how real Role Models are leading by example!
Do you have a small act that you would like to share? Comment below to inspire others, or connect on social media!