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Ottawa-area based SchoolBOX recognizes Ottawa Councillor Diane Deans as its 500th international volunteer in Nicaragua

_ (via SchoolBox) _ On International Women’s Day, SchoolBOX is proud to announce that its 500th international volunteer in Nicaragua is Ottawa Councillor Diane Deans. She was part of an all-women volunteer team in February 2016 in Nicaragua. This team helped construct the 76th classroom for the Almonte-based charity with funds raised in Ottawa.

Today, Diane Deans is hosting her long-running International Women’s Day Breakfast in Ottawa. The event is in its 21st year and brings together local women from the community to celebrate the achievements of women and to network.

Ottawa Media Group’s Kimothy Walker, who was on her second school build, will be the keynote speaker and outline stories from the all-women volunteer team that included Councillor Deans. These women were able to raise awareness and funds for the promotion of a basic education in an impoverished community in Nicaragua. Other women who participated in the volunteer group that will also be present at today’s event include Susan Jones, Tammy Laverty, Dr. Lindsay Clement, Ann Rickenbacker and Peggy Taillon.

Councillor Deans was especially impressed with how empowered the women were on the construction site. “While on the build, I met many local women who are raising families in less than ideal conditions, most on only a few dollars a day. Despite this, they exemplify the best of the human spirit: caring, kind, and trying to provide a better life for their children.”

The women in the beneficiary community were strong and demonstrated an active voice in the promotion of education. Deans outlined, “These women are incredibly grateful for what they have and for the help they’re receiving. They’re strong women with different challenges from ours in Canada, but in the end, we’re not so different. We all want accessible education for the next generation and beyond. "

SchoolBOX works hard to provide all children with a basic education in Nicaragua. By empowering girls with a basic education, SchoolBOX looks to even the playing field for all children, while providing them the opportunity and choice to realize their dreams. We will only achieve gender parity through education.

The money from this school build came from Ottawa’s “Amazing People”, a charity group that raises money to help students in Nicaragua, while providing scholarships to Ottawa young people to learn leadership skills by helping on school builds. During March Break, a group of young people from West Ottawa’s Accora Village neighborhood will be helping to finish the school that Counsellor Deans and her group started. That group is sponsored by Dan Greenberg and Barbara Crook.

Deans highly recommends the SchoolBOX volunteer experience. She outlined that her build in Nicaragua was truly an amazing experience and indicated that education is the key to lifting communities out of poverty. “When children get a quality education, it creates hope and opportunity for them to break from the cycle of poverty. SchoolBOX is a great example of a group of people coming together to change the world for the better. As an organization, they’re well-organized not only for their important school-building projects, but ensuring that their volunteers have a meaningful and memorable experience through fostering a connection with the community.”

About Diane Deans

Diane Deans was first elected to Ottawa City Council in November 1994, and in October 2014 Diane was re-elected to her seventh consecutive term. She proudly represents over 48,000 south-end residents who live in Gloucester-Southgate Ward. She regularly volunteers her time to help out charities in Ottawa and around the world.

For more information on Diane Deans: www.dianedeans.ca

About SchoolBOX

SchoolBOX is a small Canadian non-profit that was founded in Almonte. It provides simple, cost-effective programs to help remove the barriers that prevent children from getting a basic education in Nicaragua. All of our programs have been developed in conjunction with teachers, community leaders, and representatives of the Ministry of Education in Nicaragua.

To date, SchoolBOX has constructed 75+ classrooms, handed out 96,000+ educational packages, implemented 38+ mini libraries, and organized 25+ soccer tournaments in Nicaragua. SchoolBOX recently welcomed Diane Deans as their 500th international volunteer in Nicaragua.

For more information on SchoolBOX: www.schoolbox.ca

To volunteer with SchoolBOX, please email: volunteer@schoolbox.ca