Ashli Lewis will be packing her bags this weekend and heading to the Dominican Republic.
However, she won’t be spending much time on the beach.
The Principal from ecole secondaire Odyssee has been chosen to take part in a humanitarian school building initiative coordinated through the LifeTouch Foundation. LifeTouch is a company that does school photography across North America.
“They go into different communities and build schools so this particular trip is a trip to Constanza in the mountains in the Dominican Republic, just a small village and they have been working on it so the first floor was already built one year, the second floor was built one year, so the school is already inhabited,” said Lewis who will be flying out of Toronto on Monday.
“What we will be building is the cafeteria which will also be used as a community centre. So there was no school there, there was not a place to focus on education.”
So instead of a bikini, Lewis is packing work boots, gloves and will be involved in heavy construction work. Heavy work for the mother of three but she’s not complaining one bit.
“It’s been a dream of mine, I have been involved in education for 20 years, I know it is key and I know it changes lives and to have this opportunity to work with like-minded people, work as a team, to be able to provide education and a place for safe education for people in another country was just a dream come true,” she said.
Lewis applied for the opportunity and is one of 45 administrators/photographers that were chosen through the program. In fact, Lewis is one of only two school administrators from Canada that are taking part in the week-long adventure.
“I don’t even know what to expect, it is going to be a life-changing experience, I know it is. I look forward to working with the people in the community, getting to know them, especially the kids,” she said.
Lewis also looks forward to sharing the stories of her experience once she returns home in late January.
“Just being a principal, being a parent, and just being a human being I am so excited to show the students and my own kids how to give back,” she stated.
“Live what we try to teach them every day.”