MANITOULIN—Fourteen-year-old Cassie Kuntsi will be travelling to Kenya this summer for community outreach as part of the Me to We program.

“When I was seven I was given a Craig Kielburger book, the co-founder of Me to We, about child labour,” Cassie told The Expositor. “I wanted to go to Africa with Free the Children (a sister organization of Me to We).”

Cassie learned more about the Me to We program when a speaker came to her school, Manitoulin Secondary School, and she decided to join the cause.

This July, Cassie will join 45 other youths from across Canada and the US, travelling to the Maasai Mara region of southwest Kenya where she will live and work for 20 days with the organization building schools, homes, digging wells and transporting water.

“This has been a dream of mine for a long time,” said Cassie of the volunteer trip. “I want to make a difference in a community, in the lives of others—I want to change the world, even if it’s just a little.”

Making the trip even more exciting for the Islander is that she recently learned that Craig Kielburger himself will be on her excursion.

“He’s my hero,” shared Cassie. “He has done so much to make the world a better place. He has really changed lives.”

In addition to donating the majority of her summer vacation to the cause, Cassie also has to raise $5,500 towards her trip to cover her flight, accommodation and building supplies.

“I’ve raised $5,000 already through babysitting, odd jobs, bottle drives and sponsorship though Island businesses and municipalities,” Cassie explained.

This past weekend she was hoping to raise further funds though a ‘Massage for a Good Cause’ event at the Manitowaning Family Health Team.

“I’m nervous about travelling to Africa by myself with people I’ve never met,” she revealed, “but I’ve been talking to the other youth on Facebook and have already made some friends—I’m excited.”

“Me to We is an innovative social enterprise that provides people with better choices for a better world,” explains the organization’s website. “We offer socially conscious and environmentally friendly products as well as life-changing experiences. Me to We measures the bottom line, not by dollars earned,but by the number of lives changed and the positive social and environmental impact made. Half of Me to We’s net profit is donated to Free The Children. The other half is reinvested to grow the enterprise and its social mission.”

To donate to Cassie and her mission, email her at cassiekuntsi@gmail.com or call 705-859-2340.

To learn more about Me to We visit, www.metowe.com