The Change Within

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Yesterday, 50 WestJetters came together, from across our network, to embark on an adventure to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. The plane from Toronto was abuzz with WestJetters in blue Hero Holiday t-shirts, nervous with excitement and anticipation about what the next 10 days would bring.

As a member of the Community Investment team, I have had the privilege of participating in each of WestJet’s three Hero Holiday trips. I’ve been able to see first-hand the remarkable change that takes place in Nuevo Renacer, the community my fellow WestJetters will visit today, many for the first time. I have seen 10 new homes built in 2012 by WestJetters – meaning that 10 more families are now safe, dry and able to move forward with the next chapter of their lives.

I’ve seen a beach where you couldn’t see the sand for all the garbage turn into a place where children in the community are able to play. I’ve seen children grow, go to school and start to pursue their dreams. I’ve seen new babies born into new homes, so they will never know what it is like to live with pools of dirty, contaminated water on the floor. I’ve seen roads paved to this community and a steady, safe electricity supply be connected.

All of this change couldn’t have been imagined five years ago, but is now a reality due to the compassion of groups like WestJet and other organizations that partner with LiveDifferent. After this Hero Holiday 2013 is completed, another five families will have received new homes and can continue the momentum of change.

Many WestJetters on this trip don’t know what lies before them, but I do. I know that the participants, like this community, will go through an exceptional amount of change on this trip. They will see things that shock and disappoint them, and make them question why things have to be the way they are. But they will also see moments of true happiness. Gratitude and love will flow from the families receiving homes and the community as a whole. These relationships will help them see their world in a different way and those WestJetters will continue to bring the movement of change to their communities when they return to Canada.

Many people sign up to take part in Hero Holiday so they can change the lives of the people of Nuevo Renacer. My hope is that WestJetters who take part in Hero Holiday will realize they also have changed.

Sarah Speedie, Community Investment Coordinator


Author: LiveDifferent

Date: November 4th, 2013