Youth on an empowering mission

By Jennifer Smith – Vernon Morning Star
Published: January 18, 2011 7:00 PM

Two of Vernon’s own are ready to explore, expand and empower.

And they’re hoping the community can help.                                    NewS.35.20110118154633.js_empower_1_14_11_20110119.jpg

Paralympic gold medallist Sonja Gaudet helps plan out event details with Alysha Gaudet and Sara Lockhart for a fundraiser Jan. 30 to send the young women on a mission of youth empowering youth.

Jennifer Smith/Morning Star

Alysha Gaudet, 19, and Sara Lockhart, 22, are on a mission to get to Indonesia to take part in a project of youth empowering youth.

If afforded the opportunity, the young women will journey to 21 orphanages in Batam, Indonesia, to expand their horizons, explore the realities of life of orphans and empower the children, along with themselves. They will work one on one, aiding and assisting in the health and wellbeing of the children.

“It’s going to be life-changing,” said Alysha, looking forward to taking part in the opportunity while she is young.

But before they can go, each of them needs to raise $5,000 to cover flights, accommodation and meals.

So the duo are putting on a fundraiser called Explore, Expand and Empower Jan. 30 at the Vernon Curling Club at 6 p.m. Admission is $5 or by donation, which includes a piece of cake from Sweet Carolines and a raffle draw ticket.

The event will include a fashion show featuring local clothing businesses, a silent auction (which additional items are being sought for), a raffle draw, a project presentation, as well as some curling entertainment.

Alysha’s mom happens to be two-time paralympic gold medallist Sonja Gaudet. The wheelchair curling icon will make an inspirational Paralympic presentation and put on a draw to the button challenge on ice.

“I’m really excited that they’re doing this,” said Sonja of her daughter and her friend’s ambition.

In fact, Sonja is also hoping to take part in the mission for a few days, if her curling schedule permits.

“Long-term for me is to take my message globally so this will be the start of this.”

The family tie to the mission also includes Sonja’s sister, Loesje Jacob – who organizes the global adventures.

Loesje takes the youth on the mission and teaches them a method of self-healing called BodyTalk.

“She takes her BodyTalk system to animals and people all over the world,” said Sonja, adding that near the end of the trip the girls will get the opportunity to work with elephants.

The technique uses modern science and traditional healing methods as a powerful way to communicate directly with one’s body to find out what lies at the core of physical or emotional symptoms.

“It’s a way of healing past trauma without bringing up trauma,” said Sara.

Alysha adds: “We’re learning this as we’re down there and we’re teaching them how to keep themselves healthy because they don’t have the doctors down there that we have here.

“But they’re also going to be teaching us a lot too.”

The journey starts in Batam Feb. 7, touching the lives of more than 1,000 children, youth and staff, before wrapping up March 4.

The two local women are hopeful they can take part in the opportunity to help others, as well as themselves.

“There’s nothing holding us back, we’re young, so why not,” said Sarah.

“From here we can go anywhere. I want to do this all over the world,” said Sara, who recently finished her care-aid course. “I want to learn about different situations and different places and see what people are living through.”

To help with the fundraiser, donations of gift certificates and other items are being sought for the silent auction.

Also watch for the girls around town on weekends leading up to their trip as they sell cotton candy to help raise money.