A recent graduate of Fort Frances High School is opening doors for future students to do some good abroad.
Dexter Fichuk, 18, is the brains behind a new Humanitarian Trip scholarship at his old school, after he was inspired by a trip he made last summer to build a school in Equador.
He said it was an amazing experience, even though he struggled to raise the money to go.
"I realized how life-changing these trips can be, but it can be hard for anyone to go on it," he said.
"So I wanted to make this scholarship to cover two-thirds of the cost of the trip for a student."
Dexter went on a trip to Equador last year with the humanitarian organization "Me to We" — a partner group with Free the Children
Fichuk said his trip to Equador opened his eyes to the importance of education — and how much of a difference he could make in the world.
'Seemed almost impossible'
The base trip costs about $5,000. Students in Fort Frances have the additional costs of flying to Toronto, as well as travelling to Thunder Bay or Winnipeg to get their vaccinations, bringing the total cost of the trip nearer to $7,000.
"I worked the full year, I had fundraising [but] I still didn't have enough money to pay for it," he said.
He noted scholarship is being supported by the Rainy River District School Board, as well as local businesses.
So far, Fichuk has collected the full funding amount already — and it's only been in the works for 6 weeks.
"At first it seemed almost impossible, and then once you start talking to people it becomes a lot more possible," he said. And I'd love to see other people want to bring things like this to their community"
The scholarship will cover two-thirds of the cost, and the student will be responsible for raising the remaining third.
The school board and businesses will pitch in to help cover the costs of sending one student on a trip next summer.
Applications will go out this fall, and the scholarship winner will be chosen on the basis of leadership qualities and community involvement.
When the chosen student returns she or he will speak about the experience to other students at the high school and elementary schools in the district.
Fichuk is embarking on another trip to Kenya. His long term plans are to earn a business degree and to go to law school.