Taylor Weixl is fundraising to buy baseball equipment for children in Nicaragua

Taylor Weixl is fundraising to buy baseball equipment for children in Nicaragua

A home run for Nicaragua

Taylor Weixl has made a name for herself as an all-star softball player, and she’s hoping to share her passion for the game when she heads to Nicaragua next month.

The 16-year-old Fulton student is in the Global Education program and will travel with her classmates to the second poorest country in the western hemisphere for 19 days.

But before she boards the flight south, she hopes to have raised a substantial sum of money in order to purchase baseball equipment for the kids there.

“Global Ed appealed to me as a way of getting out of the classroom and doing hands-on activities and making a positive contribution to the community,” said Weixl. “And I really wanted to go to Nicaragua.”

Global Education is a full-semester Grade 11 program focused on active citizenship. A significant portion of the program is spent outside of the classroom. Students participate in hands-on activities aimed at making a positive contribution to both local and international communities.

These activities focus on contributing to the local community and on building the capacity to participate in a field study in Nicaragua.

“I’m just so excited to go, and I’m looking forward to hiking the volcano,” she said.  “The one thing that will take some getting used to is the humidity.”

Since the Global Ed program began, about 200 students have travelled to Nicaragua to volunteer at Casa Hogar Orphanage, established by Felix and Angelica Almendarez, who continue to run the orphanage and care for the 30 kids there.

On a visit to Vernon last fall, the couple praised  this community and in particular the Global Ed students.

“In this work, God has offered us the privilege of meeting people from around the world, and the Global Ed students are the best ambassadors Canada has ever sent to our country,” they said. “No one could have predicted the positive impact this program would have on Nicaragua and on the students to see life from a global perspective.”

Students are expected to complete all requirements for English 11, Civics 11, Independent Directed Studies 12, and Global Education 12.

Weixl works as a ski instructor at the Star Kids school at Silver Star during the winter months, and indulges her passion for all sports all year round, but especially fastball, where she is a member of the Kelowna Heat Midget A team.

She came up with the idea of fundraising to buy bats, gloves and balls after learning that last year, three Global Ed students had built a ball field during their trip to Nicaragua.

“Baseball is the national sport in Nicaragua and when I saw the pictures of the kids playing using a stick and just a couple of gloves, I knew this is what I wanted to do for them,” she said. “I’ve always had access to all of the equipment I needed and I would like other kids to have the same opportunities.”

Built by students Danica Currie, Aynsley Orobko and Bailey McAreavy, the ball park was named Field of Dreams, for Felix’ favourite film.

“I just thought this would be a good project and I’m hoping to purchase most of the equipment when I get there, because it will also be a way of supporting their economy,” said Weixl, who is hoping to be able to buy three bats, 15 to 20 gloves, a dozen balls and some bases. “I’m really looking forward to playing with the kids when I get there.”

And so, paying homage to the field named for the film, Weixl has organized the Field of Dreams Garage Sale.

“Softball has made me a happy and healthy person and I want the kids to have that experience as well.”

The Field of Dreams Garage Sale takes place March 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Fulton secondary school, 2301 Fulton Rd., Vernon. All donations are gratefully accepted — call 250-938-2139 to arrange for pick-up. Items can also be dropped off the morning of the sale.